You probably are aware that high school seniors today don’t just take the year book photo alone. Oh, no. That’s not nearly enough. They have to go out to exotic locations with their own commissioned photographer and half a dozen changes of clothes and take a hundred different portraits to capture the singular beauty and unique personality of each candidate for graduation.
Hannah McNeill is our family photographer. And she has done a remarkable job with our “Little Middle.” Of course, it would be tough to mess up pictures of Valerie. But Hannah is just the best at what she does with our kids. You can check out a bunch of Hannah’s work by clicking here. But her most important work lately can be seen in these thumbnails.
“Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat.” ~Matthew 9:2
“A man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.” ~Matthew 9:32
“They brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute.” ~Matthew 12:22
“Then little children were brought to Jesus…” ~Matthew 19:13
These people Jesus healed and saved, these people who felt the compassionate touch of the Father through the Holy Son were brought to Jesus. They were brought to him by somebody else.
It’s not “build it and they will come.” Praise the Lord, sometimes that actually works. But that’s not the deal. It’s really “if you bring them they will see.”
We go get them and bring them to Jesus. As his followers, as his loyal subjects, that’s our mission. It’s our charge as his disciples. We don’t sit around and wait for people to come to Jesus. We go out and get them and bring them into his presence.
You know, you can do that just by inviting people to church.
Now, let me be clear. I’m not talking about bringing people to church just so we can count them. Inviting people to church is not about filling up your worship center. It’s about inviting people to a place where they can encounter Jesus. Our Christian assemblies are still the widest on-ramp into your community of faith. A worship service is still the main entry point, the biggest front door, to someone encountering a group of people who represent and embody our Lord and Savior. What better place to see Jesus? What better venue for experiencing his love and acceptance, his mercy and grace, his peace and joy?
I’ve seen and heard in three different places this year that if you invite anywhere from five to seven people to your church, one of them will say “yes” and come. One out of every six (or so) people you invite to worship with your church on Sunday will say “yes” and do it. The question is: Is anybody inviting anybody?!?
There are so many people in our community — countless numbers; you’ll interact with several of them over the next 24 hours — who have never experienced anything like the merciful love and saving grace of Jesus. And it’s because nobody’s ever brought them into the presence of Jesus. You can do that, you know, just by inviting them to your worship assembly this Sunday.