It’s not always easy to invite a friend to church. You don’t want to nag your friend, nor do you want to invite them to a church activity they won’t enjoy.
So what’s the best way to send an invite?
The best opportunity comes naturally, in conversation or at the request of your friend. However, we don’t always have time to wait for the perfect opportunity.
Consider the church event and consider the message of the sermon. Maybe your church is having a casual social activity, or maybe they are providing a lecture with free childcare (everyone appreciates help with their children).
It’s easier if you have mutual friends who also attend your church.
You can be direct with your invitation or offer it in passing. Below, you’ll find 16 ways to invite your friends to church. Choose one and see how it goes (read my best church outreach ideas)
After all, there is nothing wrong with asking!
16 Best Ways To Invite Your Friends To Church
#1 Start With A Casual Event (Church BBQ or Social Gathering)
A casual church activity is a great opportunity to invite friends to church and it will be more casual than a Sunday sermon. Your friends can relax, enjoy good food, and converse with other people who attend your church.
Ideally, they will see other people they know or they will meet others with similar interests. Church functions provide attendees a chance to talk about things outside of church.
If your friends connect with other people at your church they will be more willing to attend a Sunday service in the future.
#2 Wait For A Special Occasion (Christmas, Easter)
Churches across the globe experience an increase of attendance during holidays. Notably, Christmas and Easter offer casual Christians the opportunity to return to Church and celebrate the Lord.
If you’re unsure if your friends will accept an invite to church, consider waiting for the holidays. Families are more inspired to attend during Christian holidays and the message of the church usually revolves around the holiday (also read Chruch Anniversary Ideas).
It’s a chance for your friends to learn more about the holiday and its historical significance.
If you want to invite your friends for a Christmas service or Easter service, it’s also important to know that many families travel during these times of year (scheduling might be difficult).
#3 Know Who Is Preaching and the Message (specific message might interest them)
Do your research. Don’t invite your friends on a day where the message might surprise them. Church leadership usually plans their services and activities weeks (or months) in advance.
Know what the message will be and know who will be preaching. Do you have a favorite pastor? Most medium and large churches have several pastors, so make sure it’s one you enjoy hearing.
An upcoming sermon might have similarities with the interests of your friend (e.g. a sermon about physical and emotional health, or a sermon about leadership). Before you offer an invite, know the church message and know your friend!
#4 Keep It Low Pressure
Let’s face it, nobody likes to be caught off guard when they are in a new situation. Still, there are many churches who ask new attendees to stand and introduce themselves – it’s never a comfortable experience.
If your church has this practice, don’t be discouraged, just let your friends know what to expect.
A low-pressure environment will allow your friend to relax and enjoy the sermon or event. This is one reason I suggest inviting a friend to a more casual event prior to a Sunday sermon.
Most churches are active in the community, so consider inviting your friend to an environment where they can be outside, walking, chatting, and getting to know others.
>> For Catholics read the Divine Mercy Chaplet
#5 Mention Your Church In Passing
Are you a smooth operator? Some people have a way with words and can be convincing. If you want to play it cool, mention your church in passing. You don’t have to be direct about your invite.
Don’t mention it every day or every week, just mention it here and there when appropriate. Share the good things your church is doing and over time your friend might invite themselves.
#6 Hint At How You’ve Developed As A Person
Similar to the invite mentioned above, hints of your church and its positive impact in your life can go a long way to build interest in your friends.
How has your involvement in your church helped your life. Has it positively impacted your marriage and children?
You may not know what your friends is going through at a given time. Your friend may need help with marital issues or with behavior problems with a child.
Sharing your experience at church might open the eyes and heart of your friend.
#7 Discuss Mutual Friends Who Attend
It’s a wonderful thing when your social circle can team up on a non-believing friend (or a friend that goes to another church). Mutual friends give you more credibility and makes it much easier to invite them to your church (read my Pastor Appreciation Ideas).
If your invitation doesn’t materialize, ask your friend to back you up with another invite. Sooner or later, your friend will accept. If your friend knows many people at your church, they will feel more comfortable when they attend.
#8 Make Sure Your Friend Doesn’t Have Other Plans
If your friend has other plans, they certainly won’t accept your invitation to church. Don’t jump the gun. Prior to asking your friend to join you at church, know what their plans are.
Ask what they are up to on the weekend. If they have plans, wait until another opportunity presents itself in the future.
Be patient and don’t try to compete with other plans your friend may have. When you hear your friend say “I’m not doing much this weekend” you’ll know it’s time to invite them!
#9 Brief Church Services Are Good For Newbies
Brevity is often better for 1st timers. You don’t want to keep your friends in a new environment at church all day. Keep it short and keep it simple.
Allow your friend to experience your church community without being overwhelmed. After all, they have busy lives too and probably wouldn’t commit to an all-day activity until they are certain they enjoy your church.
Some church sermons are around an hour long while others are several hours. Your friend may have trouble staying focused for several hours if it’s their first time.
This is another reason why casual church activities are perfect for visitors. A visitor can leave early if needed and doesn’t feel obligated to stay for a long amount of time.
#10 Mention Free Child Care
Did someone say “free child care”. Many churches (not all) offer child care during sermons and church activities. This is a perk for parents who need the occasional break from their children.
Of course, when churches offer child care it is for parents who are attending a service or function – make sure to explain to your friends that they shouldn’t use the church for their personal date night.
>> Also read my Example Prayers for Missionaries
You’ll be surprised that an hour break from watching the kids is enough for many couples to accept an invitation to church!
#11 Give A Gift And Follow Up With An Invite (Bible, Journal)
Everyone appreciates a gift. It is a thoughtful gesture that can put a smile on a face, especially if it’s something the recipient likes.
If there’s a reason to celebrate (e.g. birthday, child, promotion) a gift is an opportunity to invite your friend to church. The invitation can be written on a card, or be part of the gift (Bible or a journal).
Or don’t mention an invitation to church and just give the gift. A week later ask your friend if they’d like to put their new Bible to use – and invite them to church.
After receiving a thoughtful gift, your friend might feel obligated to accept your request (even though they shouldn’t feel that way).
#12 Be Persistent, But Don’t Nag
Persistence usually pays off, however, there is a way to invite others to church and a way not to. It’s a delicate balance between persistence and nagging and it’s important to be self-aware.
If you have a great relationship with your friend, then nagging might actually be something to laugh at. On the other hand, if you have a loose friendship asking too many times could stress your relationship.
If several direct invitations are turned down, try a different approach or simply take a break for a while. As the saying goes, “timing is everything” and it may be an inopportune time.
#13 Get The Kids Involved
Another good approach when inviting friends to church is through their kids. If you and your friends have children, suggest that the kids can get together for an activity at church.
If their child’s day at church is a success, it could inspire the parents to attend. Believe it or not, kids have a lot of influence over they parents (even though parents have more influence).
It will reflect well on the church if children are happy.
#14 Introduce and Establish Church Friends
You’re never too old to make new friends. Prior to inviting friends to church you could invite your friend to your home for a barbeque.
Consider inviting couples from various backgrounds (work, sports, church). Your friends might hit-it-off with church friends and decide to visit on their own.
Even if your friends don’t decide to attend your church, they may have met others who are a good Christian influence.
#15 Start with a Christian Movie
Everyone likes a good movie. Some churches host movie night and that is a great time to invite a friend to church. It’s a low pressure environment where people spend less time talking and more time snacking on popcorn.
If your church doesn’t show Christian movies, consider a Christian movie at the theater (I know, there aren’t a lot of Christian movies in the theaters these days). Every once in a while there are Christian movies that make their way to an independent theater – when it happens, seize the opportunity!
#16 Just Ask
The last way to invite a friend to church is to ask! Yes, it’s the most straightforward approach and it might work on the first try.
Sometimes there is no need to be creative with an invitation. It will depend on your friend and their demeanor, openness, and situation.
There isn’t a formula to ask a friend to church. How you ask is up to you. You can be as creative as you want or you can be direct.
You can slow-play an invitation and mention your church in passing. You can provide incentives (food, fun and childcare), or you can use a casual church activity to peak the interest of your friend (sports or a barbecue).
As Christians it’s important to share our faith and to serve others. Whether your friend is a Christian or not, support them in their walk with God and offer them an opportunity to join you in worship.
If you’re leading a fulfilled life, your friends will notice and want the same contentment that you radiate. Be a friend in Christ and ask them to be your guest.