We get four or five things in the mail everyday.
Most of our mail is junk.
Almost all of the rest is bills.
Of course, we get letters from my mom who still writes on paper and uses stamps but the rest of our friends and family communicate electronically.
But once in a blue moon we receive an invitation. Just a handful of envelopes arrive during the course of a year to invite us to baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, etc. Many of those are migrating to electronic media as well, but even so, the number of invitations that we receive is relatively small. I say this because in a mailbox, physical or electronic, that is filled with junk every single day, invitations are not only not junk, they are welcome, valuable, and often become the thing that gets opened first.
We like to be invited to things.
Even if we can’t attend, the invitation makes us feel valuable. Someone thought of us, appreciated us, and took the time, effort, and expense to ask us to share a moment of time with them. An invitation is a sign that tells the world that we are wanted.
Our church is no different.
Many of the people at Trinity came to church, sometimes decades ago, because someone invited them to come. So why is it that we seem reluctant to invite others?
We shouldn’t be.
Thom Rainer spent four years researching unchurched people. One of the things that surprised him as they compiled the results was that ninety six percent of unchurched people in the United States are at least “somewhat likely” to attend church if they are invited. Think about that. More than nine out of ten people would be interested in attending church, of only someone would take the time to ask them and make them feel wanted.
[Note: Thom Rainer’s entire article on www.ChurchCentral.com, “Survey finds many unchurched would come to church if invited” is worth reading.]
What’s more, the people of Trinity Church are proving this to themselves and the results are increasingly obvious. In the last few weeks, I’ve heard from several people (some of whom have recently become members) that they are here because they were invited. I have been hearing this more and more often and I want to make sure that others notice.
Recently, one family said that they came because of an invitation, from me, that I don’t even remember. Another came a couple winters ago when I gave them one of those little business card invitations and invited them to our Christmas Eve service. Another family was invited by Ruth and Gary Sturgill, another by Brett and Beth Huntsman, several by Ronnie and Cheryl Wendell, and another after our Easter invitation postcards were delivered to the surrounding neighborhoods were combined with personal invitations to many of our friends from Perry Helping Perry. Just this week, Chris Jukich greeted someone at the door that she met, and invited, at our community breakfast on Saturday. There are more examples that I know about, and even more that I am forgetting.
So here’s my point:
People tell me that they want Trinity Church to grow. It can, and it is. We are growing because the people at Trinity are reaching out and inviting their neighbors, friends, and family to join us. Some, like Marla Armstrong and Jan Gash, are inviting people all the time. In fact, many of you are doing it. I apologize if I didn’t mention you by name.
Trinity Church is a special place. The people here aren’t perfect, but we are generous and friendly and have made this into a place where people can experience community, mercy, grace, and love.
We have something to offer. You are probably here because someone invited you and you found something that you liked. I hope that you have been blessed because you belong here. I believe that you have, because many of you have told me so.
I encourage you to do the same for someone else.
We are already growing because the people of Trinity Church understand the value and the importance of a simple invitation.
You can make a difference.
Help someone else to feel wanted and valued.
Help others to find a home where they can experience community, mercy, grace, and love.
Join us in being “invitational.” Tell your neighbors, family, and friends about Trinity Church.
People need a place to belong.
There’s more than a 9 out of 10 chance that they’ll consider it.