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JMLB - Intentional Inviting

Posted by Josh Mahler on

I’ll admit it.

I’ve always been guilty of just wanting to drive home, open my garage door to get the car in, and then close the garage quickly as to avoid any potential contact with any possible human that might be passing by the house.

My house has always been my safe place. My sanctuary.

But after months and months of sermons at EHills about being more intentional to interact with those that are close to us but far from God, I started to feel uncomfortable. My first thought was, “well, it doesn’t seem like these messages are going away anytime soon, so what can I do about it?”

This summer we started inviting the neighbors to hang out in the cul-de-sac every Sunday night. That was fun and great, but the mentality started becoming more of a way of life for us than just an occasional outing.

Late in the summer, I took our kids to a neighborhood parade for the local high school. I happened to be talking to one of my neighbors about my favorite football team playing on Thursday night that week when a stranger, Mark, popped his head into the conversation. Turns out my favorite team is also his favorite team so we got to talking.

Mark’s family was brand new to the neighborhood and were looking for ways to connect to the people around them.

Without thinking, I invited him over to watch our team play that Thursday night and he accepted. My old selfishness immediately crept back in, “Oh no!” I thought. “I don’t want to be social to a new person while watching football!”

But I think that that’s the beauty of little things like neighborhood parades and football games. They serve as opportunities to fellowship if we are looking for them. It doesn’t have to be anything special and we don’t have to be on our “best behavior.” I think everyone is ultimately looking for authentic relationships in which to engage.

He came over for the game and we had a blast (our team won!). Some other guys were there and we all got to talking. Mark and his family had been checking out other churches in the area but decided to check out EHills that weekend. And they’ve been coming every since.

Made me realize that you don’t have to do anything formal or official to get to know people and invite them to church. It’s so much easier (and probably better) when it’s in the middle of something fun, that people would be enjoying already.

The whole experience has also made me think, “How many other people are lonely and longing for friendships around us? This was just one guy that I happened to start chatting with about football. How many more are there just on our very own street?”

It has caused me to be a lot slower to close the garage door when I get home at night.

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