How did you first get connected with a group where you felt welcomed and safe?
Summary: God made us for community. We’re all looking for sincere friends and a group where we feel wanted and where we belong. Many of those outside the body of Christ will need to know they belong before they believe. The art of inviting and welcoming outsiders into our groups is a critically important skill. Becoming people who are good at welcoming and inviting others will take practice and dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Authentic and loving communities that draw people to Christ rely on God’s power to change lives. Those in these communities don’t put on masks or pretend. Whether your community goes out of the way to be around those who don’t yet know God, or outsiders come into your community, you can be a community that effectively demonstrates the love of Christ.
Read Philippians 2:1-5
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”
Be honest about what you’re inviting others to.
Put the responsibility of communication and follow up on yourself.
Communicate your desires and experience authentically.
Brainstorm: If you were someone who wasn’t connected to a Christian ministry or church, how would you want to be invited? Brainstorm a list of ways you’d like to be invited.
Role Play: Pair up and have each person take a turn inviting their partner to church.
Ask good questions that help others feel cared for, included, and known.
Listen well. After someone answers your question, ask a follow up question instead of talking about yourself. Say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more about that.”
Get them connected.
Role Play: Take some time to role play welcoming each other to your Christian group.
Discuss: In light of what we’ve discussed, how can we pray for each other right now?
Pray: In light of what we’ve discussed, how can we pray for each other right now?
Since we last met, what happened as a result of expressing Christ’s love to others?
How can you, or we, express Christ’s love to others this week by inviting them to do something fun or meaningful?
Seek to welcome at least one stranger to any event you happen to attend this week.
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