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Liverpool: learning about the art of invitation

Back to Church Sunday founder and church growth consultant Michael Harvey inspired parishes across the Liverpool diocese recently ...

Back to Church Sunday founder and church growth consultant Michael Harvey inspired parishes across the Liverpool diocese when he came to St Lukes, Crosby recently, writes Stuart Haynes ...

Is your church welcoming or inviting?

These were the challenging words that Michael Harvey put to those gathered in St Luke’s Crosby to find out more about how the Seasons of Initiation initiative can help their church grow.

Michael's session helped those present tackle head on the reasons why people don't invite their friends and neighbours to church. The fear of failure. The fear of rejection.

Michael explored some of the biblical and theological perspectives around these feelings. He reminded us of the great biblical figures – Moses, Gideon and even the disciples who had to confront their own fears about what God was calling them to. And, as he says, we all know someone who faced the rejection of His own people.

The session also saw Michael challenge us to thinking about what is important "success is not a number or a line on a graph" Michael contended "success is one person inviting another". Warming to this idea he talked about a need for persistence.

Citing the example of Australian all-rounder Shane Warne, widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest wicket takers. Shane however bowled a massive amount of unsuccessful deliveries for each wicket he took. He wouldn't see each of those as failure but part of the road to success. So Michael argued we need to hear 'No' more often. For if we are hearing 'No' more often, that means we are inviting again and again.

That's where the Season of Invitation comes in. By having a number of opportunities to invite people to church we have more chances to hear the word 'Yes'. The Season starts with Back to Church Sunday and brings in Harvest, Remembrance, Advent and our Christmas services – plenty of occasions to feel comfortable about inviting friends, families and neighbours to church.

You don't have to have been on the training to take part. You don't need any special skills to ask someone. You simply need to do the invitation – you can leave the yes to God.

You simply need to do the invitation – you can leave the yes to God.

A ‘Season of Invitation’ began as Back to Church Sunday in 2004, an annual opportunity for churches across the Uk (and abroad) to personally invite people to come with them to church.

Find out more here www.seasonofinvitation.co.uk

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