Inviting Sundays

Sometimes it’s a little bit scary to invite people to church, especially for those of us who have had a negative experience of overzealous Christians whose whole aim in life is to save everyone around them.

I remember my disdain for the guy with the megaphone who shouted condemnation from the speaker’s circle on my college campus.  I remember cringing when my sister shared about the teenager who went on a mission trip and was so excited that he had saved 10 people on the streets of Nicaragua (she was the interpreter for him and her recollection of those conversations was slightly different!)  I remember rolling my eyes when I was handed a salvation tract that had a huge chasm between humanity and God that was conveniently bridged by a perfectly fitting cross.

You probably can add your own stories to these—perhaps stories that are even more dramatic or that left a wound within your own soul, whether you were the perpetrator or the victim of such well-intentioned but mis-guided evangelism efforts.

Because of these experiences, we become so reluctant to invite someone to church or to share about the good things that God is doing in our lives.

This is too bad.  Well, actually, it is more than too bad. 

It means that we shrink from the opportunity to give thanks and praise to God by sharing the life-giving message of Jesus Christ.  It also means that we miss an opportunity to tell a different story of Christianity—that we are tolerant, loving, and care deeply about peace and justice for all humanity and all creation, just as Jesus modeled for us in his life and in his courageous death.

Here at UUMC, we have identified several Sundays as Inviting Sundays.  These are special Sundays when we are making an extra effort to invite people to worship.  We’re giving you some tools and encouraging you to give inviting people to church a try!

We hope you will invite someone to attend worship with you this upcoming Sunday, December 15 at 10:30 am.  We are hoping, planning, and praying for 200 people to come and hear the story of Christmas through music and drama.  Though it’s not a Sunday, I also challenge you to invite someone to come to worship on Christmas Eve.  This is a season when many are searching for meaning and belonging—a community of faith where they can be authentically themselves and I think many will find that home at UUMC.

You can pick up fliers about these services in the church office or on Sunday mornings.  If you’re on facebook, invite your St. Louis friends to the Sights and Sounds of Christmas event.  You can also email an invitation to others by using link to the page on our website that gives all the details. http://www.universityumc.com/christmas

Think about your networks and connections.  Do you know people who love music?  Tell them we’ll have four fantastic choirs performing on Sunday, December 15.  Do you know people who have a passion for children?  Invite them to watch the Children’s Christmas Pageant this Sunday!  Do you know people who care about social issues?  Share that our Christmas Eve offering will be dedicated to Imagine No Malaria.

We need your help to spread the good news!!

Peace,
Rev. Jill