Encouragement From The Word

September: Time for a fresh start

September is a time for returning to routines, and for starting new routines.  Nowhere is this more noticeable than in church!  This Sunday, people will see friends they’ve missed over the past few months, with vacations and family visits having kept them from their usual worship routine.  There will be a sense of comfort for many people this weekend as they nestle back into their comfortable pews and renew old habits.

September is a time for returning to routines, and for starting new routines.  This is one of those times of the year when God’s people have an open door to the community.  People move to new communities, or long to start new routines in their lives, and one of the things that makes it into people’s minds is the idea of going (or going back) to church.

Where these two intersect is at the place of the comfortable pew!

That is, we who are renewing our routine have an opportunity to reach out and invite our neighbours and our friends to worship.  The idea of raising any topic with people that is even remotely religious can really scare some church people, but in general, it doesn’t need to do so.  In fact, many of your neighbours and friends are probably secretly hoping you’ll invite them to church with you sometime.  So why not take that first scary step and issue the invitation?

True, there will be some who will reject the idea outright.  But not all of them will.  Most of the growth that happens in churches today happens this way!  More than 80 percent of people who come to church with a friend stay in that church.  That’s a very good “retention rate” if you ask me!

We can’t rely on immigration, or on merely flinging wide the doors of the church building, for growth to happen.  The church must be proactive and take the first steps, making the invitations that so many are waiting for.  And September is a good time to make one of those invitations.  (If you’re curious, other opportune occasions are Christmas, Easter, and times of personal or global crisis.)

At St. Paul’s, Nobleton, we want to make that step of inviting a friend as easy as possible, so we’ve designed invitation cards that people can give to friends and neighbours to invite them to a special “bring a friend” day we’re having on September 26.  Our theme for September is “A Fresh Start” – something many people are looking for.  And we want to roll out the proverbial red carpet for folks on the 26th, in the hope that we can let them experience what the church is really like, thus taking away (we trust!) their fears about the unknown.

If you’re part of St. Paul’s, you’ll see an invitation in your bulletin this Sunday, with more available at the Connection Desk.  If you’re not part of St. Paul’s, why not consider inviting a friend to church this September?  You don’t need a special day, just a willing spirit.  While you’re issuing the invitation, offer to pick up your friend, and maybe take him or her for lunch after worship.  It can be a time to connect more deeply with each other, and with God!