Don’t invite them to church. That’s the new evangelism strategy of a church in Salt Lake City, Utah. And the idea is gaining momentum within the community.
Mountain Springs Community Christian Reformed Church is using Karen Wilk’s book Don’t Invite Them to Church as a guide for a small-group discussions.
Wilk’s book, published by Faith Alive Christian Resources, is described as a tool to help congregations move from being a “come and see” church to being a “go and be” one. It is helping to shape the lives of those who study it.
“The thing that has struck us is that, of the 15 people in the class, every one of them has a story of what God is doing with them in their community,” said Rev. Peter DeVries, senior pastor of Mountain Springs.
Jim Gutzwiller, a member of the church’s council, sees the book as a way of taking church to his neighbors instead of bringing them to church. He’s a part of the small group that meets every Sunday. Recently he and his wife invited their neighbors over for dinner.
“We weren’t doing it to evangelize them. We [did] it to establish a relationship with them,” he said. “We’d like to know more about what makes them tick, and hopefully they’ll find out similar things about us. It’s a start, and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Another member of the group, Pat VanHeyst, has been liberated by the study. “It takes the pressure off of having to always think of something new and exciting to do; rather, [it’s about] walking alongside people,” she said. “It changed me from thinking that churches need to be the latest and the coolest, to being a group of people who love each other and care for each other.”
“That is evident in how we live with those we come in contact with—other than just our church.”