By Jenny Andison
Posted on September 25, 2012
Many of my friends are not Christians, but most of them are interested in what I believe and are certainly curious about why I do what I do.
As we get ready for “Back to Church Sunday" on September 30th, I am reminded of one friend in particular. I have known him for almost 20 years and while he grew up going to church, he had stopped as an adult.
This friend would always be cordial and ask me how my work was going, but we would never touch on issues of faith.
Then one rainy day in London, England as we were walking together, he turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, “What exactly do you believe about God Jenny?”. You might think since this is my job (for which I received training at university I might add!) I would have been able to readily answer this question. You would be wrong.
I totally dropped the ball. I mumbled something about “Jesus, love, cross blah blah blah….” and that was about it. He listened and then we both changed the topic. I only tell this story because this friend of mine has now (almost a decade later) come to faith as a Christian and is regularly part of a church community.
Many of our friends, family members and work colleagues have deep longings in their hearts, longings that they struggle to name and understand – but longings that we know can only be met through a life-giving relationship with God.
“Back to Church Sunday” is an intentional opportunity to invite a friend or colleague to join you at St. Paul’s on September 30th. We would encourage you to think about someone you could extend a warm and gentle invitation to – just as you might invite them to see a movie or grab a drink.
As you think about making such an invitation, it's important to be clear about what counts as “success”. Success is not whether your friend accepts the invitation, because that is the work of God in their life. But God asks us to partner with him and extend the invitation. Success is extending the invitation.
Success will be the nearly 800 people who attend St. Paul’s having 800 conversations this week with their friends. Success will be 800 personal invitations being given out. I totally bailed with my friend all those years ago. But a seed was planted in his heart, a seed I had no idea was there – I just had to be patient.
See if you can partner with God in the next few days and plant a seed on “Back to Church Sunday”. We guarantee your friend will receive a warm welcome, won't feel judged and can come with their coffee and any questions that they might have.