How to be a fantastic inviter
Think of all the invitations you’ve received to social events.
Which ones did you say “yes” to and why? What made the difference for the ones you accepted?
We want to share our faith, maybe by inviting someone to read the bible one on one with us, or to attend an online or face to face event where Jesus will come up. Maybe we just want to invite our friend to hang out with us socially. This parable reminds that inviting is part of God's biblical mandate.
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' 5 "But they paid no attention and went off-- one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
There are three important things we can take from this parable, firstly that God is in the inviter and not us. Secondly, God is powerful enough to draw people to Himself and thirdly, we are inviting people to something good. Who doesn't love a party where they are treated to a great banquet?
Here are some practical tips that you can keep in mind when you are plucking up the courage to invite your friend or colleague to something:
- Pray. It is God who is working. Don’t limit yourself in inviting, God works in the hearts of those around us – irrespective of our relationships with people
- The more personal the invitation, the better (the more difficult it is for us to invite someone, the more likely they will say yes – compare a text message to a phone call, a personalised invitation to a bulk email.)
- Once you’ve invited, wait for a response – don’t answer for them, certainly don’t start providing excuses for them not to come! (we’ve all done that)
- Be enthusiastic, you think this will be a good thing for them don’t you?
- Depending on your relationship, you might be able to push back a bit on a tentative “no” (e.g. “Come on, it’ll be great” etc). But if the “no” is firm, there’s always next time.
- Think about a contingency plan. “Well how about we have coffee next week instead?”
- Think about how to make it easy for them to get there. Can you pick them up? Or meet them for dinner beforehand? If the event is online, invite them to a watch-party or other communal tool to engage with them.
If your friend has said “yes”, it’s not the end. How will you help them to apply what they’ve heard to their lives afterward? Think hard during the talk, where do you think this hits home for them? Where does it hit home for you? What will you suggest they do if they’re still interested – can you begin to read the Bible with them (like using Word 1-to-1)? Keep praying!
If your friend says “no”, that’s it wait for the next opportunity right? Not really. You can continue to work on the relationship by catching up informally. You can build trust and show that you are still their friend even though they did say no. Or you can pray for other people's non-Christian friends a specific event.