Roadblocks to Invitation
Invitation is one of the bedrock principles in our world. Everywhere you turn you are being invited into something. We are invited to sign up for newsletters when we visit websites. We are invited to participate in surveys or to join the cheese of the month club. We are invited to weddings, gym memberships, to be a person’s friend on facebook, or to simply go to coffee with a coworker. Everywhere you turn is another invitation to participate in some kind of experience. And yet, in a culture that is saturated with invitation, we tend to be people who struggle with inviting people into the important spaces of our stories.
This is especially true in churches where we are regularly asked to invite people to church with us. We find ourselves almost incapacitated to invite people to experience Jesus, to have an encounter with him. And we are often left with the frustration of asking ourselves, “why is it so hard to invite?”
Recently we posted a blog on “Reimagining Invitation.” Where we talked about Invitation starting with God, being motivated by our love for people, and not assuming we know how people will answer. And while starting with these in mind gets us a long way in helping reimagine invitation, there are often roadblocks that remain steadfast in our way that stop us from stepping into the unknown space of invitation.
So how do we move beyond the roadblocks to begin setting a culture of invitation? There are three steps in the process of moving beyond the roadblocks in our way.
Identify: The first step always involves gaining clarity in what the roadblocks are. It’s nearly impossible to move beyond something we do not understand.
Assess: Once we have identified what the roadblocks are we can begin to assess why they exist to begin with and which ones affect us most.
Act: The final step is to make a plan of action to move beyond the roadblock and into the place you desire to be.
This process is applicable to almost any area in your life. Do you struggle with relationships, finances, spirituality, fitness? There are numerous ways you can use this process in moving past the roadblocks you run into in your life. This week I want to identify the roadblocks we typically face when inviting people into an encounter with Jesus and next week we will begin to make a plan to act on.
So what are the roadblocks to creating a cultural of invitation in your life?
Fear of Rejection: This is often the biggest roadblock to inviting people to encounter Jesus with you. And more often than not it is more than just simply a fear of people telling you no. It is a deeper fear that if I put myself out there and invite someone to experience Jesus, they will reject you.
“I don’t know enough to invite people to Jesus.” This is often rooted in a lack of confidence in what we do know about church or Jesus. We feel like people will ask us questions that we don’t know the answers to and as a result people will not want to participate.
People don’t like church: People have a variety of feelings about church. Some feel it is out of touch or outdated. Others feel like it is unloving and fear based. We are unsure what people think about church and so avoid asking altogether.
It is uncomfortable: We are conditioned to desire to be comfortable. Inviting people is often uncomfortable because it puts us out on a limb. Our own desire to be comfortable then become a roadblock to invitation.
I am still figuring this church thing out myself: This is a valid place for a lot of people. And often times we feel like we need more time to figure it out on our own before we start inviting people to be a part of it with us.
These are not all the roadblocks to invitation but ones I have either heard on a regular basis, or, that I have felt and experienced on my own journey. Your job becomes identifying which roadblocks you most experience. And then spend some time assessing why these are the ones you most regularly experience. Once you do this then you can begin making a plan to move beyond the roadblocks.
Next week we will begin working to create a plan of action to move past the roadblocks and into a culture of invitation.
I love going on this journey with all of you.