The five Marks of Mission in the Anglican church include proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and nurturing new believers. Yet eight out of 10 Anglican parishioners may be ignoring one of the easiest ways to do both of these: inviting someone to church.
Fear of failure lies at the root of this lapse, says Michael Harvey, the Manchester-based linchpin of the Back to Church Sunday movement, launched in 2004.
“Anglicans are afraid people will say no, and that negative answer will reflect on them personally,” says Harvey.
The possibility of rejection should not be an issue, he insists. “The results are God’s problem. We just need to invite and let God do the rest.” It is documented that people sometimes need a few invitations to get up the courage and momentum to get to church, he points out.
Many Christians feel they have no friends outside their church to invite. They can draw on people they encounter in their daily routines, says Harvey. “Do you frequent a coffee shop, gas station, grocery store, insurance company or bank?” he asks. “Have you recently dealt with a real estate agent, lawyer, floor installer, teacher, police officer, badminton or tennis partner? How have you tried to connect? Just think, if we all invited one person, we could potentially double our congregations in one week!”
His book, Unlocking the Growth: You’ll Be Amazed at Your Church’s Potential (Monarch Books, 2012), is available through Augsburg Fortress. $19.99, ISBN 978-0857211989 -D.S.