Growing up, inviting someone to church and sharing Jesus seemed like two separate things. Sure, once a year when revival was scheduled you’d invite a friend to church to hear about Jesus, but other than that it seemed like evangelism was something done outside of and almost separate from church. Church was where you did your evangelism training, but not much real evangelism. Church was for church people, the already saved people.
But along the ways some churches began to do things differently. They began to utilize the Sunday worship service itself, undeniably the biggest event the church puts on each week, as a primary tool for evangelism. More than just giving a public invitation at the end, churches began to update the aesthetics of the church buildings, to put more emphasis on children’s ministries, to adapt preaching styles to a new generation and a new style of learning, and yes, they even updated the style of music to be a little more ‘contemporary.’
And off and on throughout the years, there has been a debate raging. Some would argue that these new-fangled churches have somehow compromised the purity of the gospel by changing things. These newer churches would argue back that while the core of the gospel never changes, how we celebrate it continually does. Anyone who chooses to worship in an air conditioned building is worshipping in a new day different than their forefathers. And these newer styled churches would go on to argue that they’re not changing simply to change, but changing for a purpose: to better reach people for Jesus. Their strategy is quite simple: to create an environment that is so appealing to non-believers that non-believers actually want to come and get involved, hearing the gospel along the way. So in newer styled churches, evangelism isn’t the older one-on-one personal evangelism approach
so much as inviting a friend to church, and allowing the church (stage personalities) to do the bulk of the evangelistic work.
So the question I’m posing today is simply this: is inviting someone to church a legitimate form of evangelism or just a cop out? I’ll share my personal opinion in the days to come, but I wanted to hear yours first. Looking forward to reading the comments!
Here are a few other posts I’ve written about the church and evangelism:
5 Really Awkward Ways to Do Evangelism
The Missing Piece of Evangelism in Most of Our Churches
Is It Sacrilegious to Preach in a Sports Jersey?