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Invest and Invite...and Invest
by Tom Goodman
November 14, 2013

In a recent post, Tony Morgan reminds us that pouring into people is what discipleship is all about.  At our church we teach that simply inviting people to consider the gospel message is hardly effective without first investing time and interest in them.  (Learn more about our I.N.V.I.T.E. Strategy.)  As important as that is, though, Morgan reminds us that after we've invested and invited, well, we should keep on investing.

Church used to be all about the invite.  Everyone went to church whether they wanted to or not.  It was a cultural expectation.  All you had to do was invite someone, and there was a very good chance if your church had the right denominational sign on the building that whoever you invited would show up and get connected to the church.  The invite worked -- and then it didn't.

Church used to be all about invest and invite.  Going to church was no longer a cultural expectation.  But we still had relationships from our workplace, neighborhood, social circles, and families.  We learned that outreach was highly relational.  We were challenged to invest and invite.  If we invested in a relationship, eventually there would be enough trust established to invite our friend to church.  At that point, the church would take over.  All we had to do was get them to church where our friends would hear the Gospel message, get plugged into a small group, and start serving.  The invest and invite strategy worked -- and then it didn't.

The problem with the invest and invite strategy is that we expect "the church" to be responsible for discipleship.  We, of course, forget that we are the church.  And, I think we forget that when Jesus said "go and make disciples of all the nations," this wasn't direction for an institution -- this was intended to be the mission for every Christ-follower.  That's you and me....

I think we need new language.  Maybe we can start with this.  We can encourage people to invest and invite -- and invest.  We need to help disciples make disciples.  It can't be programmed.  Think about your own experiences.  You studied the Bible.  You engaged personal disciplines.  You probably had someone in your life to encourage and challenge you in your faith journey.  I did.  There were different guys along the way -- Charlie, Larry, Lee, Chris, Matt, and Tim to name several.  These guys didn't assume it was the church's responsibility to help me take my next steps toward Christ.  They invested in me.

Read the rest.  And think of someone in your Sunday School class or Common Ground group you could invest in.  Maybe they're new.  Maybe there's someone who's become sporadic in attendance.  Maybe there's someone going through a troubled time in marriage, health, or career.  Call them up, take them to lunch, drop them a note.  Discipleship, like evangelism, requires we invest in each other's lives.


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