Many years ago, I was a candidate for the position of Pastor of another church. I met with the search team for an interview. They grilled me with a large assortment of questions and I can’t say I remember many of them. But one that has stayed with me for many years was this: “What is your thing? Every pastor has a thing. What is your thing?” I had to think about that a minute. But the questioner was right. I did have a “thing”. My thing then and now was encouraging every member to use their God-given gifts in ministry.
You have probably noticed that I currently have another “thing”, and that has to do with inviting others. Out of an authentic love for Jesus and for others, we take the initiative to invite, welcome, include, and support those who are new to our fellowship, and help them grow in faith as they become a part of our church. I remind us all, that at some stage in our lives, we too were strangers to the faith. We belong here most likely because someone invited us, encouraged us, or made us feel welcome. Jesus once said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Imagine what would happen if we lived and served as if we really believe that.
I notice, and I hope you will too, two upcoming events in October that members and friends can invite others to attend. Movie Night is on October 19, and we will be offering the highly acclaimed film “I Can Only Imagine.” Come and bring a friend! And, once again this year, we will be providing “Trunk or Treat”, our version of “Trick-Or-Treat” on October 28th. Decorate your trunk and come and help the boys and girls in our church and community to have a safe and fun evening. Invite the boys and girls you may know to attend!
I also invite us to encourage a friend, relative, acquaintance, or neighbor to worship with us in October. Some are just waiting to be invited. What a wonderful privilege it is to offer the hospitality of an invitation to someone we know. Maybe they will respond, maybe they won’t, but at least we have tried. At least we have been faithful. And one never knows. The invitation we make may be the beginning of a turn-around in someone’s life, just the movement toward blessing and fulfillment that some man or woman, boy or girl may have been longing for.
You have no doubt heard it before. Most new church members, when asked, reveal that they came to church for the first time because someone invited them. Herein is one of our most powerful possibilities for church growth. We are here to make disciples. Our purpose, as Bill Easum once put it, “is to invite people into the story of God’s love; we invite people to find new life by giving life away to others.”
Please pray for your church. Tell others about Montgomery Hills! Invite them to worship. Better yet, bring them to worship with you. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. As we continue on into the fall season, I encourage us all to put Jesus Christ first in our lives.
In Christ, Pastor Joel
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell