Back to Church – an Article by Micael Harvey
The power of perspective in invitation
An article by Back to Church founder, Michael Harvey ,
Author of Unlocking the Growth
Perspective comes originally from the Latin perspicere, “to see through”. We need to see people in our congregation, better than they presently are. Very often I hear church leader’s say to me. I can see invitation work well over in that church over there
“but you should see my congregation!”
I can almost hear Jesus saying
“you should see my disciples!”
Jesus ‘saw’ Simon differently than he saw himself. In fact he renamed him “Cephas” the rock. It’s just that Simon didn’t act like a rock. He was all over the place. But Simon Peter became very influential for Christ
Never underestimate the power of perspective. Indeed, the perspective influence of those around us is so powerful! Many times we don’t even realize we’re being strongly affected because influences generally develop over an extended period of time.
I have been concerned for a while that we have a tendency to write off our congregations that have a majority of senior citizens. In a recent study of churches the Back to Church Sunday Team in the UK we discovered that even if a congregation is senior it can still have powerful influence over younger people. In fact the survey found that 60% of those invited by our senior congregations were under the age of 50. Why is this so? I think we have for far too long called our congregations elderly, rather than elders. There is a difference between the two. Elders have respect, and have over a long time done a lot for their kith and kin. Therefore their adult children and grandchildren will often be open to an invite from Grandma and Grandpa. It may well be by using phrases like aging, and elderly that we have spoken death to the church and many of our best people have become ”Road” Christians (Retired on active duty). We need to re-recruit the senior members of the congregations and envision them of their position of elders and of their powerful influence on those around them.
Everyone ought to have a dream which leads to a perspective that lasts beyond a lifetime, to leave a legacy behind. A legacy is something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they die. Many of us are someone else’s legacy. We were probably invited by someone, to enable us to cross the threshold of a church building, and many of us would not be here if someone had not come alongside us, at key points in our spiritual life.
Jesus of course left a massive legacy behind but I want to finish on his final vision Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This legacy has led down the years to you and me.
Now we have a chance to leave our own legacy behind by offering an invitation that may very well last beyond your own lifetime and remember Jesus ends his final words of legacy by saying (and as you go)
‘lo I am with you always’ Matt 28:20 KJV
Borrow my eyes and gain a new perspective to see beyond your fear and offer an invitation which might also change the perspective of your friend or relative.