Stay in a church long enough and you will find out that one of the most common way people evangelise to their friends or family is through invitation to their church. So how can one utilise this and help the church grow?
Laurene Beth Bowers has written a very helpful book to help pastors and ministry leaders think through about their own invitational ministry, and how they can continue to help this ministry grow. First Bowers tackles the idea that is pervasive in church all around, that the church needs to “take care” of themselves before they can reach out to others.
Bowers then moves to show what she means by invitational ministry, first she shows the differences between evangelism and invitational ministry, she shows how invitational ministry involves not only the people you intent to reach out to, it also involves the person who is doing the reaching out. The benefit of invitational ministry is that it takes into consideration both groups of people.
Bowers is honest to point out that some churches may only intend to work on the invitational ministry just so to increase their number of attendees or just so that the offering may increase. This is a real issue and Bowers do give some good insights into how to handle with this issue. Bowers talks about practical issues like defeatist mindset that members might have, or about churches that invests low energy into invitational ministries but unrealistically expects big results from them.
She also gives good ideas on how to help church generate ideas, and gives excellent suggestions on how to deal with this issue. She also suggests a new method of selecting and managing teams planning for events. Though I’ve yet to tried it, I do have my suspicion on whether it might actually help in the planning process.
This book is also not without its’ weakness. First, it seems as though that Bowers is more concern about how to phrase and train church members on how to answers potential questions that people may ask (i.e. their intentions to invite them, etc..) rather than addressing the heart issue of why the members are not evangelising. Bowers also suggests that churches may take a sabbatical from formal worship service.
This book will help readers think about invitational ministry in churches. Bowers offers many tips and good suggestions to think and use, but is lacking in doctrinal depth.
Rating: 4.25 / 5
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.