One of the things that has been fun about living in a new community is being able to operate under the radar for a little while. I had not started my job yet when my oldest child began her first week in her new school. That meant I was able to go to the bus stop in plain clothes – where my collar did not cue in the other parents as to what my occupation is. It was a wonderful experiment because I was able to quickly see how or whether people talk about their faith in this new community.
By the second day, one of the moms introduced herself to me. She was incredibly friendly and helpful, trying to ascertain how much we had begun to integrate ourselves into the neighborhood. Within five minutes, she mentioned how I might enjoy bringing the kids to vacation bible school at her church this summer. She followed up that invitation by asking if I had started looking for a church home. At that point in the conversation, the cat was out of the bag. Not only did I have a church home, I was that church’s new pastor. As I walked home that day I was impressed by her natural and quick ability to do the simple and powerful: invite me to church.
There is a duo that I have come to love called the Skit Guys. They do funny skits that poke fun at us church-going people while also exposing, challenging, and encouraging us in our weaknesses. Some of my favorite skits, like this one, challenge why people do not ever think to invite others to church. They make the invitation part seem so simple. At the new bus stop, I realized how right they are.
So, this week, I invite you to do the same. Maybe your child has been at the bus stop all year, but you never broached the “religion” topic with another parent. Maybe you had a casual chat with someone at the hair salon or barber shop, but you did not think to mention your church. Maybe you were at a bar or a restaurant and were talking politics and religion, but never asked if they have a good church home. This week, I invite you to go for it. Perhaps the person already has a church home and you will hear about some cool ministries they are doing. Perhaps the person was scorned by the church and you can be a pastoral ear, sharing the times when church has been both hard to be a part of and times when church has been a blessing for you. Or perhaps the person has been waiting to be asked. I’m sure you will have a great story to tell if that is the case! Good luck!