Jesus wanted to make certain His followers understood to follow means to fish. Unfortunately, according to research on the subject, we’ve forgotten how important it is to fish.
For instance, 95% of all Christians never lead a single PERSON into a personal relationship with JESUS during the course of their entire life… 95%!
And, according to the research, 82% of unchurched people are at least somewhat LIKELY to attend church if someone just INVITED them!
Unfortunately, only 2% of people who attend church ever invite someone to church in a given year!
Do you realize that 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their entire life?
WE’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!
Another report (CT) indicated that 96% of unchurched people are somewhat LIKELY to attend church if someone just INVITED them!
Do you get that? More than 9 out of 10 of the unchurched said they would come to church if someone would just INVITE them!
Think of it like this… one organization estimated that there are more than 160 million people in the US who are unchurched if we define unchurched as attending church two or less times in a year. If this research is close to accurate, the implications are staggering. Over 153 million people would start attending church if they were invited!
According to reports like this: when it comes reaching people, the problem is not the ATTITUDE of the UNCHURCHED. It’s the FAILURE of church people to simply invite someone to attend.
WE’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!
I know, we have all kinds of excuses. Here’s what I have to say about some of them:
“I just don’t think about it.”
A lot of us come into contact with unchurched people every day — we go to school with them. We work with them. We live beside them. Sometimes we even live with them, but we fail to see people the same way Jesus saw them.
“…he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. What a huge harvest…” (Matt 9:36-37).
“I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.”
Fear keeps a lot of us out of the game and on the bench! We’re afraid we’ll be turned down. But what’s amazing is that most of us may be able to remember somebody at some point saying, “No.” But very few can remember somebody being rude or unkind when they said it.
Take a risk!
“The preaching isn’t that good.”
I haven’t heard this one, but If it’s true, could someone please share it with me gently?
“Our church is already too crowded.”
Really? When we say something like this we’re actually saying my personal comfort is more important than someone potentially going to hell or living in hell.
“The music isn’t that good.”
“It’s boring. It’s too soft. It’s not exciting. It’s not good.”
That excuse just won’t fly at a2! Sunday, we’re going to melt your face off with the mash-up the team has planned for the kick-off of a2 Radio. It’s going to be insane!
“No one ever challenged me to invite someone.”
I’m doing that right now! Mark that excuse off your list. We are all without excuse.
“It’s too far for people to come.”
We live in a mobile culture. Give them an invite. With the invention of the automobile people are willing to drive distances when they are able to connect.
“I don’t know how to start the conversation.”
Here’s an idea, just start with, “Hi. Hello. Howdy.” Any of these will work. If you can’t do any of those, just sort of nod your head in the general direction of the other person. It works!
Here’s a2’s “Fishing Strategy”: INVEST in people relationally and INVITE people to experience Jesus.
INVEST IN PEOPLE RELATIONALLY
Invest in lost people relationally. Love them. Practice acts of kindness that help to demonstrate the love of God.
Investing in people relationally boils down to two simple things:
• Genuinely care.
• Authentically communicate.
Conversation is the open door to relationship. The start of a new friendship may be a simple, “Hello. Hi. How are you doing? Ready for football season?”
People matter to God and have got to matter to us!
Every number has a name.
Every name has a story.
Every story matters to God.
Relationship and friendship can open the door to sharing your story — to sharing your faith. But it starts with love that is genuine and communication that is authentic.
Jesus was a master at this. He talked with children. He talked with tax collectors. He talked with a Samaritan woman at the well. And it usually started very casually with something like, “Would you give me a drink of water?”
A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (John 4:7 MSG)
INVITE PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE JESUS
Invite someone to a weekend service so they can experience the presence of Jesus.
We fully believe that more can happen in ONE MOMENT when people connect with and EXPERIENCE GOD than can happen with an hour of awesome oratory or four minutes of a “incredible performance.”
Every week when I drive onto a2’s campus, I drive in and I fully expect people to EXPERIENCE GOD when they show up. Jesus gave us this promise:
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20 NIV)
Four years ago we moved into the building that is currently home to a2 Church.
• 14+ acres of property in the heart of the BHM Metro area.
• More than 12,700 sqaure feet of buildings.
• Property once for sale for $3.5 million dollars.
• Property 2 miles from I-459 on Highway 280, one of the busiest highways in Birmingham.
• A location, where according to the Alabama Department of Transportation’s latest figures, nearly 84,000 cars drive by the entrance to our church on a daily basis.
• We are within a 30-minute drive of more than 1 million people — 662,000+ in Jefferson Countyand another 195,000+ in Shelby County.
• According to research and statistician, David Olson, only 24.6% of the population of Jefferson County attends an evangelical church, and only 14% of the population in Shelby County attends an evangelical church, making Shelby County the most unchurched county in the state of Alabama! This piece of property is in Shelby County.
• That means more than 646,000 in Jefferson and Shelby County are not involved in a local church!
We have one of the most strategic locations for a church in this city!
From Day One, when Jesus called people to FOLLOW, He also called people to FISH…
Because TO FOLLOW MEANS TO FISH.
So, what are we going to do?