Today’s blog post, like all those on Mondays, is a short excerpt from a book you’ll want to place in your personal leadership library. Leader: Creating Commissioned Community is a book that is 100 percent about evangelism and Bible study – and how the two are designed to work together. It is a book about creating a Bible study group that has a sense of commission – The Great Commission. Here is what the authors have to say about the importance of an invitation (probably not the kind of invitation you’re thinking of, though!).
Outreach can be as simple as an invitation. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar; you just need to be friendly. In John 1:39 we find Jesus inviting two of His future disciples with a simple invitation: “Come and see.” In turn, Philip told Nathanael about Jesus. Nathanael had doubts, saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip then offered the simple invitation: “Come and see” (v.46).
The members of outwardly-focused groups have recaptured the simple act of an invitation. They want to give even skeptical people the opportunity to “come check it out.”
An invitation is more likely to be accepted when it is extended by people with something in common. For example, no one can connect with a high school student like another high school student. No one can connect with a young mother like another young mother. Outreach is greatly enhanced when people “in the same boat” extend a friendly invitation.
How is your Bible study group doing in this arena? Do you find the group members eager to extend invitations to people, inviting them to connect with your group for study and fellowship? Or do you sense that your group members are content to simply sit and wait for others to show up to the Bible study?
Evangelistic groups have a culture of inviting others to connect for the purpose of sharing the gospel. Sometimes, before the gospel is shared, the invitation is to connect for Bible study. Or a night of fellowship. Or a ministry project. Or coffee. But evangelistic groups are aware of the need to proactively invite others to become a part of the group so that the gospel can be shared at some point.
How can you lead the members of your Bible study group to be more regular in their attempts to invite people to attend a Bible study session? A fellowship event?