Last night we sat around a table and discussed inviting others to church. How do we do it? What does it look like? Why isn’t anyone doing it? Do we need better tools? And as the conversation progressed a conclusion was reached. Our neighbors, or our friends, our co-workers…it’s about relationship. This Sunday I could invite 50 people to church and all of them could come. They could have a great time, enjoy the service and even walk away having experienced God. I thank them for coming and they head out the door to find lunch. I load my own family in the car and head the opposite direction.
Was my invitation successful? Many would say yes. I invited, them came, God was evident; but what happens on Monday morning or Friday night when the world they are still living in becomes too strong? What happens the following Sunday, do they step through those doors again? The answer is, probably not.
But what happened? All the boxes were checked.
That’s what happened. Or in this case is what didn’t happen. There was no connection.
So what do we do? We determined the answer comes in the vision. Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” And what is the law? “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
Here’s the hard truth: We will not make disciples by inviting someone to church. It just won’t happen. Discipling requires time and energy. Discipling requires an investment. Discipling requires a relationship. Discipling means that after church I invite people into my home. It means sending a text on Tuesday afternoon just to check in. It means giving of myself until I’m outside of my comfort zone. It means following through EVERY SINGLE TIME God places that person on your heart.
Do you know what happens if we don’t make disciples? Our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, maybe even our kids miss out on eternity with Jesus. Would my life look different if I took my eyes off what pleases myself and instead put my eyes on what pleases Jesus? Pleasing Jesus means obeying his commands and obeying his commands means I am making disciples.
Life is hard and full of stress. Sometimes I break and Jesus does not come flowing out. Sometimes I stand in my driveway and yell at my kids because my own emotions have gotten the better of me. Is this showing my neighbors Jesus? It could. It could if I have taken the time to build a relationship and through my own mistakes can demonstrate how God forgives us for our mistakes. Even my failures show Jesus when I can call my neighbor the next day and say “Hey, yesterday was really hard for me and I apologize because I did not look like Jesus. But I want you to know I’ve spoken to Him about it and he’s forgiven me, just like he forgives you every time you mess up.”
Suddenly I’ve gone from the imperfect neighbor that gives Jesus a bad name to the imperfect neighbor that demonstrates God’s love…that while we were still sinners he died for us.
It is time we look at our lives and the lives of those around us in light of eternity. Jesus is coming back and when he does, those that are not living for him will be forever cast into the lake of fire. It’s the truth and we have to stop avoiding it. This life we live, it is not for our pleasure or our comfort or our glory, it is for Him and we better start getting it right.