82% of unchurched people would probably accept an invitation to church.
Isn’t that incredible? And they would be much more likely to go if they were asked by a friend, family member, or colleague. This information is from a book I have been reading called The Unchurched Next Door. This book, by Thom Rainer, is based on research gathered from interviews with unchurched people across the US and Canada. Rainer defines an unchurched person as one who attends church fewer than five times a year.
Sadly, Rainer also reports that only 21% of church-goers invite anyone to church in the course of a year, and only 2% invite an unchurched person. Yet, there are 160 million unchurched people in America. If we all started asking, and even if only half (instead of 82%) accepted our invitations…well that would be incredible.
There are many other wonderful insights I’d like to share from this book, and I am only in chapter two. But, for now, there is one more important bit of information Rainer and his team gathered from their research:
Most of the unchurched would rather talk to a layperson than a minister about religious matters
You see, people, even unchurched people, have this understanding that it is the minister’s job to talk to others about Christ. So, an unchurched person getting a call or visit from a minister may be appreciated, but is not likely to be nearly as effective as the average Christian making the same call or visit. They believe the minister only calls because it is his job; but if a “regular” Christian calls then it is because he truly cares. At least that’s the way it is perceived. But, perceptions are very important.
The sad reality we discovered in our study was that very few of the unchurched population have heard about Christ from a layperson. Yet the unchurched as a rule would like to talk to someone other than clergy about religious matters. The silence of Christians may be one of the greatest tragedies in the church today
So, what does this all mean? That you have an incredible opportunity that you probably are not taking advantage of. You have friends, family, and co-workers who are waiting for you to ask them to go to church. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to have the Bible memorized. You don’t have to be able to explain the eschatological implications of the atoning aspect of soteriology.
You just have to ask.
Who will you invite to church this week?