I had a small degree of success in inviting someone to an event that our new church is having tomorrow night. I have to share the story.
Tomorrow night—Wednesday, March 25—our new church is hosting a “Meet the Pastor” event at the Hampton Inn in Lino Lakes. For those of you who are interested, the Hampton Inn is located at 579 Apollo Drive just west of Highway 23 off of exist #36 from 35W.
This is our first outreach event as a new church. We’ve had a group of about ten people who have been meeting on Wednesday evenings. We didn’t do much advertising for this event tomorrow night; the strategy is to encourage our group of ten to invite a friend or family member and to give our group of ten the resources to invite someone.
Research has shown that over 90 percent of people first come to a church because they receive an invitation from a friend or family member.
As the pastor of our group I am a model for inviting. I have only been a pastor here for five weeks, so I hardly know anyone to invite. When I don’t know what to do I pray. So I’ve prayed the last week about who I could invite to this “Meet the Pastor” event. In particular I wanted to challenge myself to invite somebody I didn’t know real well.
For the past four weeks I’ve been buying my morning paper at a local convenience store. I’ve gotten to know the convenience store clerk a little bit. He seems like a classic Minnesotan—a nice guy—in his late 20’s. When I buy the paper we sometimes talk for about 10 seconds about the weather.
Recently in my morning prayers the idea of inviting this man to the “Meet the Pastor” event came to mind. I thought—“what do I have to lose—I’m just extending an invitation.”
So this morning I printed out a flyer for the event and went to buy my newspaper. I will admit my heart was pumping a little faster than it usually does when I buy my morning newspaper.
I came into the store, bought my newspaper and said to the clerk, “I don’t know if you’re looking for a church, but I’m starting a new church. We’re having an event tomorrow night, and if you’re interested you’re very welcome to come.” I then gave him the flyer for our event.
He then floored me by saying, “in fact my wife and I are looking for a church.”
I wasn’t expecting that response.
I went on to let him know where the event is. I told him about our office sign—which says Presbyterian Church and is quite visible from the highway. I told him “no pressure” but we would love to have him come tomorrow night
I have no idea of this man will come to our event tomorrow night—but our encounter was a success. The two of us took a step in our relationship—maybe even a friendship. We’ll have more to talk about the next time I buy a morning newspaper.
I think there are many lessons to draw from this encounter. The one lesson that I draw is the importance of prayer in doing ministry. I had no idea that this man was looking for a church. I believe that God led me to invite this man. If I hadn’t been praying, I wouldn’t have extended an invitation to this man.
I can’t imagine doing the work of the church without the support of God through prayer.
Which leads me to a request to everyone who reads this blog. Would you take a moment to pray for the mission and ministry of the Chain of Lakes Church? In particular would you pray that God would touch the hearts of the unchurched in Blaine/Lino Lakes? While you are praying, would you pray for a successful “Meet the Pastor” event on Wednesday, March 25?
Unexpected success feels wonderful!