22 Aug How did you get to church? by Stephen Mizell
How did you get to church? The first thing that came to your mind is probably “I drove” or “my car”. That is not exactly what I mean. What I want to know is what brought you to church at the beginning. What got you to church for the very first time? More specifically, what brought you to Open Door? There are a multitude of reasons why people attend church for the first time or they go back to church after a long absence, but the overwhelming majority of people, maybe as much as 95%, come for one of three reasons.
About 20 years ago a study was released that said the second most common reason people attended a church for the first time was a church sign. I have no doubt that there was a time when the first thing someone noticed about a church was the sign, but that is rarely the case now as other communication methods have overtaken it. The number one reason then is still the number one reason today…
Someone Invited You
The number one reason people attend church for the first time is because someone personally invited them. This is the runaway winner because people respond in relationships. Usually family relationships are the most impactful, but close friendships are almost as effective. As a matter of fact, the reason why most relatives do not come with us to church is because we never ask. Over 75% of close friends and family respond positively when asked to give church a try one week. The struggle is that we are afraid of rejection so we fail to ask. When was the last time you invited a family member or close friend to join you at church? They may be waiting on your invitation.
Someone Brought You
Maybe the first time you went to church or even came to Open Door is because you had no choice in the matter. Children and teens are often introduced to the church in this manner. Parents or grandparents require them to attend or start bringing them at a very early age and it continues their entire life. Being introduced to the church as a child can make an impact on a lifetime. Though I don’t advise holding your friends hostage to get them to church, I encourage you to make sure church is a part of your immediate family’s routine. It is obviously a place they will learn about Christ, but there are so many other things they will glean in a local church environment. They will build relationships while learning to serve. They will have the opportunity to put into practice many life skills that will help them in other places. From an early age the church allows practiced music in a public forum, the opportunity to learn technology while serving in certain roles as well as leading in some environments. The church adds tremendous value to lives that will help for a lifetime. Making church a priority for your family is extremely valuable.
Something Drew You
There are many things that draw people to a church. I mentioned earlier that years ago the second most common reason people attended church for the first time was a sign. Today that is usually more digital. People check our church’s websites and social media long before they ever attend. They will watch the services online before attending in person. Often people feel a part of the church before they ever step in the door because there is so much available to them in a digital format that they can examine in privacy. People are also listening. They are listening to what people who attend a church say both online and in conversation. It is not uncommon for someone to say they chose to attend Open Door because they had heard so many good things about the church. It is one of the reasons why we need to make faith and church (whatever church you attend) a part of our conversations on social media. People are being drawn to our interests. Our social life, both with people and online, has an affect on how people think about faith and the local church. Use your social life for good.
There is common thread that is working in all of these and that is the Holy Spirit. Before your invitation, your post or a conversation, the Holy Spirit is at work in your life and the people you are impacting. He is preparing them to be receptive to an invitation. If we do our part, the Holy Spirit will always do the work necessary for us to be effective. As the summer winds down, people are more open to trying church for the first time. As a matter of fact, the middle of September is one of the highest visited times of the year. I hope you will allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and use you to be a part of inviting someone to join you at church. It may change their life, both on this earth and for eternity.