Lutherans are not known for their evangelism. It’s true. In general, Lutherans struggle to share their faith. Historically, we have counted on immigration and growing families. Today, this strategy for church growth does not work. In fact, it does not even work for church maintenance. People are not immigrating to the USA from countries that are predominantly Lutheran and fewer young families are attending church. Our intentional efforts at being the most welcoming church we can possibly be are, quite simply, not enough. It is time that we stop putting all of our energy into being welcoming and rethink what it means to be a follower of Christ. There is not one passage in the Bible in which Jesus says, “Sit comfortably where you are and welcome people who come to you and invite them to conform to your way.” Marketing agencies know this to be true. No matter how strong the brand loyalty is or how popular a product is, companies still invest in marketing. You have to continuously invite people or they will move on to the next thing. Jesus commands us to “Go and tell.” The great commandment instructs us to go out into the world to tell people about Jesus! That sounds simple but is also a daunting task to many. What do you say to someone you do not know? How do you even start the conversation? What about people you do know? That can be even more intimidating. If we are going to follow Jesus, we need to go and tell people about Jesus. Over the next five months I will give you bite sized challenges that will prepare you to invite people to church for Christmas Eve services. You may remember these challenges from several years ago. They were created by Rob Moss, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master in Lakewood, CO.
Try using the phrase “my church” in a conversation with one person each week. It’s as simple as talking with just one person one time each week during the month. You might say: “My church is two blocks from Fred Meyer.” “The pastor at my church has three boys.” “There is a food bank at my church on Friday mornings.” That’s it. Use the phrase “my church” in a conversation with one person each week throughout August. There are no rules on who you talk to. Will you accept this challenge with me and use the phrase “my church” in conversations throughout August?
By Pastor Jennifer Beil