I’ve recently been getting a lot of emails and seeing a lot of articles about how “Invite a Friend” Sunday can help your church grow. Let me be honest, my initial response is to scoff, call it a lame idea that will never work and rant about it being out-dated and old-fashioned thinking.
Quick disclaimer – if your church does “Invite a Friend” Sundays and they are producing Kingdom results, stick with me. I’m not saying my reaction is right. And in fact, this post isn’t even really about bringing a friend on Sunday mornings. It’s just my jumping off point.
Full disclosure – I never suggested an “Invite a Friend” Sunday when I was pastoring a church so I have no first-hand knowledge about how effective they are. Much of my reaction is based on the idea – which apparently I don’t like for some reason.
And it was while processing this full disclosure bit that a thought hit me, “So if you aren’t doing that, what are you doing?” Hmm, that’s actually pretty convicting.
In the church world, we are very quick to dismiss ideas, programs and tools – often with much disdain. And sometimes (even often) we dismiss without first-hand knowledge or experience. We dismiss solely based on preference, bias or something else just like I did with “Invite a Friend” Sunday.
And just as often I find that we don’t have anything to replace the stuff we are being so critical of. Don’t like “Invite a Friend” Sunday? Fine, but what are you doing to reach out to people who are not yet part of your church? Don’t like Alpha? Cool, but what are you doing in terms of a new believer or non-believer small group? How are you providing serious answers to serious questions? Don’t like FMCIC curriculum? Ok, what are you using to intentionally disciple people?
If you have stuff that works (key phrase here: that works) then by all means keep using or doing it. But if you don’t have something that is working, don’t be so quick to criticize what others are trying or suggesting we try because at least they are giving something a go.
By the way, my future may or may not include an “Invite a Friend” Sunday. But I hope if it doesn’t that I will have thought out and implemented what I will be doing instead. And then I will be too busy to be critical of other people’s ideas and stuff.
Director of Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada