If you attend Friendship United Methodist there may come a time when you’re tired of hearing me say “invite someone to church this week!”
I got it! Let me explain…
Sometimes hearing the backstory helps make sense out of a person’s passion for “whatever.” From the time the original disciples heard that Jesus would make them “fishers of people”, they couldn’t get it out of their system. They became EXTREMELY passionate to fish for people.
As Andy Stanley notes…. Jesus didn’t say I’ll make you holy, or great spiritual leaders, or “fill in the blank”… What he did say was I’ll make you “fishers of men (people).” That was the original call they followed. That’s what they left everything behind for. And they became passionate about it! I know it sounds crazy but that’s what the story says!
In Acts 4:5, we find Peter and John telling as many as would listen, about the resurrection. This gets them thrown in jail. But, because they shared the story of what they’d seen and heard, the number of believers grew to about 5,000!
What would cause men and women to continue sharing the story of Christ even though they knew it would cause trouble? Jail, beatings, hardships! They were passionate about the things they had seen and heard of what Jesus was doing and what He was about. He was the Messiah after all.
After being jailed, Peter and John were called into the higher ups presence and asked to stop sharing the stories of Jesus. Their reply – 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
All they were doing was telling the things they had seen and heard. That’s it, and they were passionate about it! They had become “fishers of men (people).” As they shared the stories the number of believers multiplied.
Stanley notes that “good people don’t go to heaven, forgiven people do. Because our faith is grounded in history, and people won’t know that history unless we tell them.”
Now let me tell you a story – my story, the one I know best… I haven’t always been a minister. But even before I accepted God’s call into the ordained ministry, I had accepted God’s call to be “fisher’s on men (people)”. But before that call I had not known the history. The history all started when my Grandmother called my mother and encouraged us to be in church at St. Marks UMC in Montgomery, AL. I would begin to understand Christian history through my Sunday School class. Later in life it would be through John Ed Mathison, at Frazer United Methodist. Then one day I would answer God’s call and accept Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized (short version of my story).
From that point, I loved, with a passion, inviting people to church so they could hear the story of Christ. Church was just flat out fun to me and continues to be. It’s part of my DNA, I just love telling people about Christ and inviting them to church! I literally don’t think I can help it. There’s just no feeling like it. Then if they actually come, WOW! It doesn’t get much better than that. The bonus is, I know the more I ask, the higher the possibility someone will come.
What you must understand is that inviting people to church and sharing Christ isn’t about numbers. It’s about souls. Each person has a name and they’re important to God. Each individual has something to offer to the Kingdom. Each person matters to God. Each person can be forgiven! How will they know if we don’t share Christ and the church with them?
And all we’re asked to do is to share what we’ve seen and heard, just as was asked of the original disciples. When we don’t, I think we become somewhat selfish. Why selfish? Because at some point someone shared the story with us. It was a gift, not to be kept but passed on. When we’ve seen and heard the things Christ has done and keep it to ourselves I think it is selfish. There said it. 🙂
So over the next few posts, I’ll tell you what I’ve seen and heard Christ doing and what he has done.
I encourage you to do the same as Christ makes you “fishers of men (people)!” What I think you’ll find in doing what we were originally called to do, is a deeper relationship with Christ. Few things will revive your passion for Christ, grow you spiritually, than telling someone a simple story of what you have seen and heard.
So why invite? Now I think you know.