The latest report from the Barna Group is out. I receive those reports in my email and always read them to see what is happening in the churches of America. There are always lots of statistics, followed by some researched information, and sometimes suggestions that are worth our consideration.
This most recent report is in the form of a question and answer session with the President of a group called Q Place (Question Place.) This organization recognizes there are people all over the world that would be open to an interactive session where questions about the Bible, God and the church are discussed.
In this particular report, the topic leans toward effectively entering into a spiritual conversation with others. Further, when spiritual conversation is exchanged there is a better chance of sharing the message of the gospel.
Barna gave some interesting statistics in one of the questions they posed, statistics which shook me into thinking how miserably we Christians are failing in our attempt to be obedient to the Great Commission. Here is the quoted question, "Only 4% of unchurched adults were invited to church by a friend and actually went, 23% were invited but declined, and 73% were never invited at all. Why do you think this invitational model isn’t working?"
In this question, the term "invitational model" is the spiritual conversation method under consideration. There may be a lot to say about the ineffectiveness of a conversation in which we invite someone to church, but the 4% that actually came to church when invited, and the 23% that didn't, only adds up to 27% that received verbal invitations. That large 73% of people which said they were never invited at all, is the shocking part to me.
I hope you are bearing in mind the Great Commission is still a valid and vital command for the followers of Jesus. The command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), is our Lord's instruction to his followers which will result in bringing the unsaved, the unchurched, the untaught, into the body of Christ.
I realize not all Christians have the knack for striking up a spiritual conversation with someone. The scenario of feeling free to say, "Let me tell you about Jesus," or "Come see the exciting things God is doing in our church," isn't a scenario that is happening. I'm just thinking of all those Christian friends of mine who have no difficulty inviting someone to dinner, or a movie, or a football game. Shouldn't we, with the same zeal, be willing and able to invite them to church?
I've only covered one point of the interesting and informative report, but it has opened my eyes to my shortcoming of neglecting that 73%. It tells me again, God knows what is best. Can you imagine the effect on our churches when we get serious about conversing with that 73% who have never been invited to "come see a man?"