Dear Christ the Redeemer family,
Our special plans for “Summer on the Green” provide a great opportunity to invite a friend, neighbor, relative, or colleague to explore the person of Jesus Christ. So much changed so very quickly in people’s lives a few months ago, and there is much uncertainty still swirling about. In the love, finished work, and resurrection of Jesus we have credible hope and true connection, so I wanted to write to offer some ideas regarding inviting people to “Summer on the Green.”
Person of Peace or Vulnerability
I like to sit with our Lord Jesus and ask him to bring to mind anyone who seems to be a person of peace, or a person who has been open with me in letting me into their life, even in small ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve had big discussions or talked about deeply personal things, though perhaps they have allowed a peak behind the curtain regarding difficult things that have happened in their life. But the main thing here is simply that we’ve had a connection beyond whatever function is the root of our relationship. For me this will likely be the proprietors of a few businesses in my town who I have been getting to know over the past few years.
Pray and Listen
Then I pray for this person, and then wait and listen for our Lord Jesus, giving him time to speak. If going forward seems a good idea, then I ask the Lord to give me both a good opportunity and the eyes to notice that opportunity as it comes.
Relax and Enjoy
It is really impossible to overstate the importance of this. Inviting someone to join us is not about us going into religious or spiritual “mode” with them. It is about our being the same person we always are, and simply being a little bit vulnerable. Inviting them is a privilege and a joy; you hold the pearl beyond all price and have the opportunity to invite someone else to come along and discover it (Him) as well. Should they not react well, well, you still have the pearl.
It’s not about memorizing something to get it all in and then blurting it out. It’s not about going deep right away. It’s about sowing a seed, being yourself, and enjoy inviting someone to this edition, if you will, of the most meaningful gathering that exists in all of history and doing it with a winsome mix of humility and sangfroid.
A few starter ideas…
I find that in these moments it’s literally the first five-or-so words that are the toughest for me. So here’s a few possibilities that maybe will help give you a starter:
- “Being isolated has been really tough. I’m counting down the days because my church has come up with a creative, safe way to get us back together in person…”
- “I’m so excited I can’t keep it in! I’m counting down the days because my church has come up with a creative, safe way to get us back together in person…”
- “Hey, I realize this is a personal thing and I don’t want to presume upon our friendship, but I just wanted to share that my sense of God’s presence in my life has kept me stable. If you would like to explore this…”
You get the sense. The idea is not that we have to be perfect, or able to answer every question, or anything like that. We simply are being a little vulnerable and open. Jesus sometimes said to people simply, “Go and share what the Lord has done for you.”
A handful of helpful things, should they express interest…
Should your friend express interest, two key things:
– Offer to meet them there and sit near them, if that feels right.
– Share the CTR website with them, where the practical details are.
– The setting is lovely.
– We are abiding with or exceeding the official guidance for keeping people safe.
Simply being outdoors is key to this. The ethos will be relaxed – we will, of course, be worshiping according to our liturgy, but people need not feel they must get all dressed up.
Our sermon topics will be poignant moments with Jesus, when we see what it meant for God to walk among the pain and brokenness, the hopes and beauty of this world.
Bishop Andrew will preach for us a couple of Sundays, and possibly a few other special voices will be with us as well.
Dear friends, please join me in praying daily for our “Summer on the Green”, and may Jesus Christ be praised,