What does invitation mean? Invitation means we leave the comfort of our parish home-court advantage. The main activity doesn’t happen in our worship space when people drop in, or when people show up at a gathering. It isn’t so much welcoming them into our place, but going out into their place and meeting them there. We make the first move. We are also called to leave our comfort zones to share the gospel. Sharing our faith means simply opening doors, to let others know that our faith has made a positive difference in our lives. Statistics show that a simple invitation is the most effective way that people feel welcomed to return to the Church.
Why is it important?
Because we want them to connect with a faith community, to worship with others, to give, serve, and other various connecting-type things. We know that there are so many things that the Church can do, and the faith community is one that it does best. Church is a hub for spiritual growth and we want people to engage, know and experience that.
Because we truly believe that what we have, a relationship with Jesus, will impact their life in profound ways.
Because it is our baptismal responsibility to bring others to the faith and walk with them on their spiritual journey. Encouraging them to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through the sacraments is a gift beyond measure.
Some practical ideas:
Invite and accompany someone to a parish event. There are many events that anyone would feel welcomed at. Things like Pasta Fridays, Lenten Mission, Pancake Breakfasts, Presentations.
Pray for others who are struggling.
Invite someone who has struggled or has a question about the church, faith, or anything else to visit with the pastor at one of his scheduled times in the Multi-purpose room.
Invite and encourage someone to get connected. There are many ministries and committees that by participating in them provides a way to meet people and feel a sense of belonging.
Sign up to be a greeter at one of the masses. By doing this you play an integral role in welcoming people your faith home.
Commit to develop relationships with the unchurched. Before inviting the unchurched to church, it is important to develop a relationship with them. Get to know your unchurched friends and neighbors over a meal or dessert. Find interests you share and can enjoy together.
Extend hospitality everywhere.
Listen. Don’t defend or try to make amends for the reason they left the Church. Remember, it is their journey and there is nothing for us to fix. However, you can share your own faith journey and see if it adds value to their discernment process.
Share your faith. This could be as simple as asking if someone goes to church. If not, start a conversation about community, belonging, and having a faith home and what it has meant to you.
Invite someone to join you at mass. Remember that finding your way back to the faith is a process. As Catholics we can plant seeds and hope that they will grow. Try not to get discouraged. Be sure to share the joy you receive from your faith as a witness to the love of Jesus.