As we enter into June, Pastor Tim and I begin our fourth year of ministry with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. Can you believe how fast the time flies? Each year we have marked the movement into another year of ministry by naming a focus for the new year. Hopefully, you remember that this past year we focused on strengthening our biblical call to hospitality. This focus was to prepare us for this year’s focus on being invitational.
Being invitational is an important part of being a missional church who sees itself as a part of God’s greater mission in the world. While focusing on hospitality prepares us to receive people within our own walls, being invitational as a missional church takes us beyond our own walls because we realize that we cannot just wait for people to come to us before we show them what God has to offer. We must go to them and invite them to explore their part in God’s great mission. And exploring God’s will is best done in a faith community, so why not join this adventure with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.
We will have the opportunity to focus on invitation in a variety of ways over the next year through worship, Bible Study, and activities of the church. But before we jump into all of that, I have a homework assignment for everyone. One of the keys to being effectively invitational is being excited and enthusiastic about the thing to which you are inviting people to participate. Being able to express your faith and how that faith is being developed in this particular community goes a long way. Before we can be invitational, we have to spend time thinking about what excites us the most about being a part of the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. What brings you the most joy? What brings you back week after week? What in the church gives you hope? How is Christ communicated through life together as a church? Thinking about these things gives you conversation starters when introducing someone to the uniqueness of this particular part of Christ’s body.
The year of invitation is beginning. Start risking the invitation and don’t give up when you receive your first refusal. Remember the parable of the great banquet ends with the servant going out to compel anyone and everyone to come to the feast. So, let’s get started.