One of the many fantastic events for which our wonderful community of Oskaloosa is known is the lighted Christmas parade and it is an amazing parade. I am grateful for the many people of our congregation and community who worked to make the 2017 parade a great success. It was also a blessing to have the ministry of providing hot soup before the parade.
The group planning our parade entry this year came up with another interesting idea decorating our church bus and extending an invitation to ride our bus to worship. The bus looked festive with lights, signs, and the nativity scene that gave a little challenge for our driver to see. The candy also gave an invitation.
Did you know that many people are likely to accept an invitation to church during this lovely season? You might precede this invitation with an invitation to share in a fun holiday activity. Some frequently tell me that everyone they know goes to church somewhere. Do you really think that is true for most of us?
Studies have shown that 52% of unchurched people say that they would come if someone invited them. That means that over half of the unchurched folks you invited might be likely to come if you invited them. Some studies indicate that the percentage would be much higher than that. I have heard that the average American Methodist invites one person to worship every 38 years. We have a great congregation of people that could be far above average if we make the effort to do so. This could be the year many of us extend a warm friendly invitation.
Will you ask people with whom you have contact to come to worship with you during this Christmas season? Think about and pray about friends, neighbors, coworkers and relatives to come. Speak positively about what being involved in a church family does for you and how they could be blessed too. If you do not want to do so face to face you might send a personal invitation, email or text and follow up with a phone call. Remember, during this season people may be even more interested in accepting your invitation. Think about the variety of opportunities we have with special children’s programs and music. Remember that with Christmas Eve falling on Sunday we plan to have one morning service at 10:00 and then have our Christmas eve services at 4:30, 6:30, and 11:00.
Extending gracious invitations may be among the best gifts you give this Christmas season. It could dramatically improve the lives of those we invite for now and for eternity. I would be absolutely delighted to have scores of people you invite come to worship with us during the season of Advent and Christmas. If we share the love of Christ with them some of them might become members of our church family.
Sue and I extend our wishes to each of you for a Christ filled Christmas.