Invitations Poll Results

October 14, 2009 by

2009_10_13_invitationspollresults.jpgThe question is a little bit awkward, and it can feel like you’re about to get in trouble. “Have you invited anyone to church recently?” For me, memories of youth group surface, where your Christian street cred was based totally on the number of popular kids you were bringing to church.

But the painful reality is, many of us don’t actually invite friends and family to church. We decided to do some investigating. Keep in mind that our audience is a group of church marketers–people fundamentally concerned with getting the word out about churches.

23% of you haven’t invited anyone to church in the past year. That’s not to belittle you or anything of the sort. Maybe you’re trying to help your own church get to an “invitable” place. Or maybe you’re working on discipleship on a more personal level.

The biggest chunk of you have invited someone a small handful of times. That’s nearly half of you who are inviting at a clip of one person every few months.

Next, we’re headed to the super-inviters. A quarter of you are inviting four to ten people a year, and 12% of you are going over ten a year. That’s pretty impressive–sounds like you’re either the pastor of your church or have a church you’re really excited to bring guests to.

So let’s hear it in the comments–what is it that keeps you from inviting people to church?

I’ll start: I don’t slow down enough during the day to talk to people and build relationships that get to a point where I could invite someone.

Your turn.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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16 Responses to “Invitations Poll Results”

  • Karen
    October 14, 2009

    I take Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of all men seriously. Besides, we have a totally awesome church with great sermons and compassionate fellowship. Therefore, I have invited at least 10-15 people to church this year.

  • Geoff in CT
    October 14, 2009

    I’m in that top 12% of inviters, but I made the grade because I’ve invited a whole lot of people to activities at church that have a religious component but aren’t necessarily a whole conventional church service.
    You know what? Inviting kids (and their parents) to play volleyball or soccer AT a church is MUCH easier than inviting them to a formal church service.
    Even in New England, a few of the folks who dip their toe in (example: our summer sports program for kids) actually do come back for the “real thing”!

  • Alissa in RI
    October 14, 2009

    I am also in the 12% as well (also from New England- REPRESENT!) but its mostly because I am a leader involved in a college ministry and there are tons of students every year that we try to get involved in a local church. By default I end up inviting a bunch of students to my church. So it works out.
    But I feel one hundred percent comfortable inviting people to my church because we are a small and welcoming community that presents the gospel above all else. I feel like people can relate to our church because of how down to earth we are, and we dont try to put on a mask of perfection. I hope people can come and see “Wow these people love Jesus, and they love each other, and they love me, I should look into this.” Another awesome thing about my church is that since it meets in a hotel conference room, we have alot of our other weekly events in peoples homes. This is a draw for our student population because after living in a very liberal city residence hall, sometimes it gets lonely and they embrace the opportunity to be in a loving house among a hospitable church family. It creates more personal relationships with members of the body and brings people to fellowship in a great way.
    I love my church.

  • Andy Wittwer
    October 14, 2009

    I journaled about this topic this morning. I’m unfortunately in the “Zilch” category. I belong to a great church geared for moving people toward discipleship, pre-christian on. Ultimately what it comes down to for me is zero meaningful interaction with non-believers. I’m trying to figure out how to change this; it’s not easy!

  • the one at church
    October 14, 2009

    I’m in the Zilch category as well, outside of the basic marketing I do at church inviting people in. This mostly has to do with not knowing anyone or going out socially to meet anyone. I consider this more of a design flaw than laziness.

  • Jessica T
    October 14, 2009

    I am also in the zilch cat.. I find myself wanting to invite people but pride stands in my way. My church makes it easy with invite cards that I stow in my car waiting for the one who God tells me to invite.. He does and I not reply. This poll makes me want to jump out and invite those I haven’t before.

  • Sean Salter
    October 15, 2009

    Zilch. I’m embarassed to be a believer. Not because of God, but because of what I am associated with when I tell people I go to church. I don’t tell people I go to church. But I am open about my deep belief in God and my deep thanks for to him for His blessings.

  • cafedave
    October 15, 2009

    Zilch. It’s a combination of geography – the people I work with live a long way from my church – and a lack of comfort with what they might expect when they visited.
    This despite my own efforts making the church service the kind of one that I think would be welcoming. I guess I should try and invite some people to try it?

  • mjfrombuffalo
    October 15, 2009

    My church is in a bedroom community outside NYC, and I am not a native of the area. During the day I work in the city and the people I work with live in the city – they’re not taking a 45-minute train ride to church. The people I know close to home are from my Eastern Star chapter… and they all attend churches already. I wouldn’t mind inviting folks, I just don’t have any non-attendees in my local social circle. It would probably be different if I grew up around here and had more connections to the community, but alas no.

  • Vito
    October 15, 2009

    Too many of us drive by church on the way to a building. I understand and agree with making the church relevant and inviting. And absolutely nothing wrong with inviting someone to church, However, too great an emphasis on inviting people to church is doing a disservice to the discipleship process of our congregants.
    Just being an antagonist.

  • Dan
    October 15, 2009

    I’m probably in the four to ten category. It’s easiest to invite families with young children because we have Sunday School, Awana and VBS and a pretty cool youth pastor. Where I have trouble is inviting people who are struggling with real difficult issues like mental illness, marital problems, unemployment, health issues involving their children. That’s because our church is friendly and all but it doesn’t really offer tangible help in the way of counseling or support. We pray for people and I offer that to them, but our church isn’t very good helping people outside the four walls of our building.

  • Dennis Cheatham
    October 15, 2009

    I’d challenge not how many we’re inviting to church but who and how many we’re inviting to serve with us outside of the building. Are we inviting others to get together for a cigar (gasp!) or camping outing or lunch and starting the conversation there? Genuine relationships have more impact.

    I’m not saying we should mothball inviting others to worship with us, but inviting others to church is the sad litmus test of modern evangelism.

  • Greg on the Run
    October 15, 2009

    I work in a church and for years, the only people I knew were church members. Even my neighbors either went to my church or the Luthern church around the corner. And I knew that things weren’t to be this way.
    The church is the only institution that exists for the sake of non-members. How could I, as a staff member, ask others to be involved in bringing others to Christ if I had no interaction with non-members? So I took it to the Lord in prayer and asked Him to show me.
    The answer took time and blows me away when I look back it at it. Long story short – I ended up at a health club because of health problems. I now have acquaintance of probably 200 people there and know about 30 of them well enough to invite to church. I’ve worked at developing relationships, not as a project, but because I really like hanging with these people. Inviting them to come to church ended up being a very natural thing to do.
    Look outside the walls of your church and ask the Lord to show you who he wants you to hang out with.

  • Jason
    October 16, 2009

    I’m in the 12% group, and I’ll give you another percentile I’m in: the 20% that do 80% of the work around my church. Yes, our Lay Leadership Team recognizes this is a problem, and probably needs professional help to overcome organizational culture that perpetuates the 80-20 rule, but I have very little time to invite people one-on-one. Now, someone will probably say its a cop out, but I have been directly responsible for several new people attending our church in the last few years, simply because I am the website admin and we have a better site than several local churches. Not bragging, I promise, there are 100 ways it could be better.

  • Kristen
    October 19, 2009

    Oh man, this is so convicting! Where is our sense of urgency? This just lit a fire in me. Hopefully I’ll do something with it.

  • wcombs
    October 24, 2009

    Great poll, im in the zilch cat, I have only lived here for 2 years. I am the youth director at our church. Being new to the area I really dont know anyone outside of the church, and my job is roughly an hour away. I try to make up for it through youth ministry…. cop out

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Poll Results