A recent study by the North American Mission Board and LifeWay Research found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit church. A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be effective for 63 percent. In other words, nearly two-thirds of Americans are willing to return an inivitation to church from a family member or friend with a favorable response.
This is great news for Believers because this goes hand in hand with what I believe is the most Biblical method of evangelism - simply inviting family and friends to hear the claims of Jesus and to be touched by Him.
While advertising campaigns and evangelistic events do have their place, these are not the most effective methods for reaching people. Yet far too many churches are relying too much on these non-personal forms of evangelism and neglecting the most of effective method of soul-winning - the personal invitation.
Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, famous evangelist, said that the New Testament records tell of forty people, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of this number, thirty-four were either brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to them. In only six cases out of forty did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance. Of the vast number of people who find their way to Jesus today, most of them reach Him because the friends of Jesus are concerned about the welfare of their souls.
Since personal invitation is shown to be effective in the Bible and even today, why are we not about the business of inviting people to church? I believe it is because we have become apathetic to the plight of lost people. We have either forgotten or don't care that those who die without Christ are condemned to eternity in hell. What should be our response to the plight of the lost? Charles Spurgeon said it best:
“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that…. The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, wil be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others….. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
Just a Thought!