Have you ever been invited to church? I have been and it happened again recently. I I met very nice gentleman while waiting in line at the  grocery store and we were having a friendly conversation about the weather. We laughed about not minding the wait as it was cool in the store. Others were visibly upset about the wait and the employees were rushing about to make things move more quickly. I guess we struck up a conversation because we realized that neither of us was in a hurry. As we progressed in line and chit chatted, he asked how long I had lived in Nolensville. I told him I had been here four years. Then he asked if I would like to visit his church!

I chuckled a little and told him it would be difficult as I would probably be preaching at another church while he was worshipping at his church. That of course led to church talk and a few laughs. I asked him about his church and that opened a door for me to ask him about his experience of God. He shared his story with me and I shared mine. We were long done with the line when we wished each other well and left the grocery. Right there in the hubbub of people, rushing to do the things we rank as important in life, we were talking about God. Several things struck me about that short time together. First, why didn’t I invite him first? Was I even thinking about that before he brought it up? Aren’t I supposed to be an evangelist?! Then I started to wonder why he invited me. Perhaps he just saw an opportunity or perhaps he is blessed with a gift for evangelism. Maybe it was a reminder from God through a fellow Christian that our duty is to welcome others into a relationship with the God who still transforms lives. 

This past month in worship, instead of sharing our God sightings as announcements, I have asked us to share our God sightings with others around you. I have done this because I wanted us to practice talking about God with other people. I also wanted us to hear how God is moving in the lives of other people. Inviting people to church is a great start, but feeling comfortable and ready to listen and share about God is a deeper and more meaningful follow up. I think that is what all people are really hungering after. Today we are all in such a stressful hurry that it might only be when we are alone that we think about the deeper things of life, but that has never been God’s intent. When I invite people to church they ask all kinds of questions. The most popular question is what do people at your church wear? Then there are questions about music, things for kids, times of worship, and how accepting the congregation is to new people. All of these questions matter because in our harried lives they seem practical, but here is what people really want to know: Does it matter?

People want to know if getting involved with church will help me, my neighborhood, or the world. The only way to answer this question is to share what God is doing and has done in your life. How have you been transformed? How have you served? In short, people really still want to know about the living God. Sometimes, we are in such a hurry that it feels uncomfortable to hear about such deep matters, but — make no mistake — this is what really matters in our lives. Let us not wait until the lonely hours to think on deeper things, but let us create the space wherever we are, so that all people can see and experience the hope of the Lord. My grocery store evangelist inspired me and filled me with hope because he was willing and able to slow down and offer a simple invitation. I want to invite you to offer that invitation and to be willing to both listen and share why it still matters. 

So this month I invite you to create the time and space to both listen and share about God with others. Be invitational. Be welcoming. In short, let’s be disciples. 

Praying for opportunity and being more intentional about evangelism, 

pastorjimmy@nolensvilleumc.org