It seems the past few years it has been nothing but weddings for me. Friends are getting married off left and right. Both my brothers have gotten married in the past two years. I don’t mind it in the bit. I love hearing about weddings. I love hearing about a new couple getting engaged and I love the creativity of the invite.
I love getting those invitations to weddings and to all the little things. I may not always be able to go but I feel included and in the know. I feel like I get to join in the celebration with the happy couple, or the friend’s barbecue or a friend’s kids birthday party.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my student ministry and the idea of invitation. Invitation is central to growth in ministry. Instilling the need in not just students, by adults, to invite others to something. We send and receive invites for everything, yet when it comes to inviting people into the story of King Jesus, we hesitate. Fear creeps in, the fear of being rejected, or feeling isolated and of simply looking awkward in it.
This year is the year of invitation with my students. Encouraging them to invite other friends, celebrating the invitations they give and honoring them with the friends that come through their courageous invite.
One girl at a home group the other week said she invited six other girls, but none came. She felt defeated. I roared with excitement for her. That is huge. I gave her kudos for simply asking six other girls to come. We talked as a group that this upcoming week she should ask the same girls again. I even chimed in that some of the other girls in group should ask the same people. That this breeds an attitude of momentum, fun, engagement and living a life to multiply disciples. Let them know that if they invite someone and they say no, that’s ok. Tell them to keep asking. Their job is to invite, God’s job is to get them to come. Teach your students to pray for their friends and for the courage to invite someone.
Look at Luke 1:35-52. Jesus invites Andrew to stay with him. That must’ve been a life-changing encounter (most are with Jesus.) Andrew then finds Peter, proclaims He has met the Messiah Jesus, and invites Peter into the story. What would our faith, our churches look like without that invitation.
The courage for the invitation is critical. I loved this quote from the movie ‘We Bought a Zoo.’ Matt Damon says this to his son, “Sometimes you just need 20 seconds of insane courage, of just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.” I hope to inspire our students and leaders alike to that kind of courage. This insane, embarrassing, bravery that will change the world.