I heard an interesting fact recently shared by Bishop Beard.
The average United Methodist (in the United States) asks someone to come to church with them once every 48 months. You read that figure correctly. Once every 4 years.
We can say that it’s because of the music... or we just don’t like the preacher... or because of the changes... or because of how long the services are... or because there’s not enough of this program or that program... or because it’s not the same as it was 40 years ago... or because of how society is more interested in soccer games and social activities on Sunday morning... but when was the last time we looked at ourselves as one of the reasons our church attendance is falling?
The average United Methodist invites someone to attend church with them once every 4 years. And that’s the average! I know a few people who often invites others to church – which means that some of you may not have invited someone for 20, 30, or even 50 years to come to church with you.
The season of Advent is a season of invitation. We are invited to walk the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the holy family... we are invited to be in an attitude of expectation that something new is happening, something profound, something more... and we are invited to visit the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
I’ve already invited someone to join us during Advent and Christmas – which puts me ahead of the ‘once every 4 years’ bell curve I guess. But who are you inviting to join you this Advent season? Who are you inviting to join you an the journey to the Bethlehem manger, and then further on the road toward Jerusalem?
If you won’t invite people to come and be a part of this journey, who will? Let’s create a culture of inviting people to the manger this Christmas.
May you have a blessed and safe Christmas, and a happy new year.