Reaching Out: A Practical Guide

We thought you might want a few more details. We’re here to help.

This whole inviting people back to church thing can feel so uncomfortable, can’t it? Our culture has strayed so far from meaningful conversation that getting down to that “invite moment” requires some pre-work that can be out of our comfort zone. We hope you got off to a good start with those 5 easy steps, but let’s get down a little deeper.

1. Pray! Always number one on the list, pray that Jesus would show you that one person He wants you to talk to.

Prayer is such an important part of this whole invite thing going well. God has been working on and moving in people who are ready to engage in this kind of a conversation. When we look to the Lord to show us who we need to have a conversation with, He will guide us well. There is a person in your life right now who He wants you to actively engage. Pray something like, “Lord keep my heart open; show me that person who you need me to connect with.” Sometimes, it may be the most obvious person in your life.

HOW TO: Scroll through your Facebook friends, look around in your classroom, keep your eyes up during your meetings. And pray! Pray that Jesus might show you who that “one person” might be as you go through your everyday routine.

2. Look for direction. God won’t leave you hanging! Ask Jesus to show you open doors in conversation.

The cool thing about this one is that it directly spins off one of our church themes—abiding. When we’re abiding with Jesus—spending intentional time with Him and trying to live constantly in His presence—He shows us things! He tells us things! When you’re having your abide time, ask the Lord to show you the HOW of engaging your one person. Pray something like, “Jesus, give me your vision. Show me how to best meet this person where they’re at in life. Let me see the moments you have carved out for these conversations.”

HOW TO: Pray with your eyes open. In those moments when you’re side-by-side with that “one person,” keep that above prayer in your heart. The Holy Spirit will nudge you. Promise.

3. Go for it! It may feel weird, but jump in. Most people want to talk about Jesus and their story if you want to listen.

Listening is the key. We don’t need to do all the talking; we also need to listen. People have a past; they have a story that they simply need someone to hear. This links directly to our abide time as well. Be praying for patience and perspective. You may need it as you reach out to someone who may have been hurt by a church or who has turned away from church in his or her present season. Ask open-ended questions, don’t be afraid of real answers, and again—pray. It’s the best tool we have in this process. The Holy Spirit knows how to handle all hearts and situations.

4. Don’t forget the practical. We’re about being the Church, not just inviting others to it! Love well…that’s what Jesus did.

This whole thing is so much deeper than one conversation or a simple church invite. This is about engaging people in relationship. We aren’t inviting them to a church building or a service time; we are inviting them to come back to the body of Christ. And we know that the body of Christ doesn’t only exist inside the four walls of a building. So, think of a few simple things to help rebuild the bridge of community to your “one person.” This person is more likely to be open to experience Jesus in the large format of “church” after they first experience Him through you. Jesus didn’t preach and teach all the time; He knew how to abide with others.

HOW TO: Invite them over for dinner. Schedule a women’s or men’s night out. Have an intentional play date with the kids. Remember how important it is not only to abide with Jesus but to abide with others as well.

5. Begin again with step number one! Remember, this is a lifestyle, not a checklist.

This is the heart check of this whole thing. If we’re doing this simply to earn the “evangelism badge” of our Christian faith, we’ve missed it. This process is about abiding in Jesus. When we abide with Him, He will continually call us to go share Him with others, ultimately bringing them back to the Father’s heart and to true, authentic community to make them disciples of Jesus.

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