THE BRIDE’S INVITATION
BY JIM JOHNSON
Have you ever received a wedding invitation that was nothing more than a piece of a brown paper sack with scribbled words? No! Well, I am not surprised, for there is no bride who would invite anyone to the most important social event of her life in such a manner. If you did receive such an invitation, would you go to the wedding? Probably not. These reflections underscore two aspects of wedding preparation: first of all, the invitation is a bride’s concern and secondly, the invitation is an indication of the wedding.
In relationship to the spiritual, are we, the bride of Christ, concerning ourselves with the invitation? If so, what kind of invitation are we sending out?
In Revelation 22 the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” God’s Spirit is calling and wooing souls to partake of eternal life. God’ church is to assist God in this important task. We are to concern ourselves with inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. God has so ordained the church.
As we concern ourselves with the invitation, we must tee into consideration that an invitation indicates the celebration that follows. What kind of an invitation are we giving? Is it indicative of a glorious salvation, an awesome Rapture, and eternal bliss with Christ in glory?
Everything about the church is an invitation for everyone to come to the Lord and is indicative of the Lord, salvation, Christian life, and eternity in glory. Therefore we should be very conscientious about the way we present ourselves to the world, aware that the invitation of the bride, the church, is multifaceted, involving our sanctuaries, our services, and our saints.
As an experiment, drive to a church in town and look at its landscaping, sign, and structure. How is its appeal? Does it say, “Come in” or “Go somewhere else”? Now try to envision what a person might think as he drives by your church, and make the necessary adjustments to your church property. Every evangelistic church should have a well-manicured landscape, an appealing and identifying sign, and a well-maintained and attractive facility. In my early ministry, I spent some time with the late J. H. Yohe. The first thing he did when we arrived at a church was to check the restroom. He said many people will never come back to a church with an unkempt, unstacked rest room. He was concerned about the bride’s invitation.
Our services should be positively compelling to the world. Parking lot attendants should greet and direct guests. Well-groomed greeters should greet everyone with a smile. When the service starts, we should consider that in a “sound bite” world we should be conscientious of time. There should be a sense of order orchestrated by the Holy Ghost, and we should eliminate dead time. Songs should be sung by those who have prepared and prayed. Sermons should be well studied and delivered with anointing. And when the invitation to prayer is given, the church family should prayerfully assist the preacher in his task of pulling souls from the pit, a job description someone once gave the pulpit. One simple way to do so, is for a church member to gently ask a guest if he or she would like to go forward to pray together.
Each Christian should present himself in a well groomed and godly manner at all times and should be friendly. And finally, every Christian should invite others to the house of God, where they will be exposed to the Word of God and the Spirit of the Lord. Many people would come to church if they were only invited.
Simply put, should Anheuser Busch package and market its product better than the church does? Salvation is much better than a bottle of beer, and the Christian life is much greater than the life of an alcoholic. Beer companies send out brightly colored beer trucks displaying six-packs glistening on ice–to parade their product of despair. Should not the church send out a glorious, beautiful, and elegant invitation to the souls of people to entice them to drink the water of life?
Brother Johnson is assistant pastor at United Pentecostal Church in Durham, North Carolina, where Johnny Godair is pastor.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY FORWARD, WINTER 1999, PAGE 5. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.