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Personal Invitations
and Witnessing

Abstract: Invitations to meetings have historically played a key role in witnessing, and continue to play a key role in witnessing.

It was the reading of Hebrews 13:13, “Let us go forth, therefore unto Him without the camp…” that brought about the personal conversion of William Carey. Carey had often heard the Bible read in his home and had no difficulty believing it, but he had an intellectual experience more than a heart one, and he also lacked a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

At his first cobbler apprenticeship in Piddington, he often debated the Bible and differing church views with Thomas Warr, a fellow apprentice, particularly arguing over church views since Thomas’ family were dissenters—had left the main church to worship as their consciences dictated. William recognized that Warr had something he didn’t have and began longing for something more.

One day Warr invited him to join him at a dissenters meeting. They went together, Carey heard the reading of Hebrews 13:13, and personally yielded his life to God.

Several things strike me relative to witnessing.

First the power of the invitation. Starting way back with Andrew bringing his brother to Jesus in New Testament times (John 1:40-42), invitations have played a key role in witnessing and bringing about conversions.

Here are some other invitations which have brought untold blessings to this world.

I think of Peter Boehler who invited John Wesley to attend the meeting at the Aldersgate Chapel where Wesley heard the reading of the preface to the book of Romans by Martin Luther, and his heart was strangely warmed. Wesley had been a Christian before, but a methodical one—that’s where we get the name “Methodist” from--and was bent on making his way, and helping others make their way, into heaven through a series of carefully prescribed daily activities that started early in the day and continued late, and required so much exertion that one of his group actually died trying to maintain the rigorous schedule. John Wesley would later found the Methodist Church.

George Müller was another person impacted by an invitation, for he was invited by a friend to a small group meeting in one of the school buildings of August Franck in Halle Germany, and there saw a Christian kneel in prayer for the first time. Müller was so struck by what he saw, that he returned, and gave his heart in a saving way to Jesus. Oh, he had been studying for the ministry, and made many an effort to come to a closer walk with God—not always with the best motives, but sin seemed to have such a hold on him that nothing worked--nothing that is until this small group meeting. I am thankful his friend extended such an invitation. Müller went on to found orphanages and do a marvelous work for God in the 1800s

I also think of the invitation given to C. T. Studd’s father to attend a meeting. The father who had made his fortune in India and had returned to enjoy the hounds and theater and the other pursuits of the wealthy, had no interest in religion, and perhaps thought he would be going to a play, but instead found himself in revival meetings where he gave his heart to Jesus. As a result of his conversion, his sons were later converted, including C.T.. C. T. would go on to do a great work for God in China, India and Africa.

Thinking of more modern examples, I also think of my friend Sam who attended meetings in a church I once attended, and was so enamored by truth, that he went and invited all of his friends to attend. Perhaps you say “big deal!” It was a big deal, for Sam was the drummer of a rock band and he lived to drum—literally spending hours every day drumming and becoming highly skilled, and the friends he invited were members of the rock band--not the group one would expect to respond to such an invitation. Well, one of them agreed to also attend, and eventually became a member of our church. Sam continues to be an avid soul winner today!

It may not seem like such a big thing to invite people to meetings, but marvelous results have come as a result.

But I need to make one other point. In all these cases, more than an invitation was extended. In all cases, the people were invited AND accompanied to the meetings—there was what I would call a personal touch. In seeking to reach the many, we sometimes overlook trying to reach the one, or don't take time for the one, and therefore miss them all. There is nothing like inviting AND accompanying the invitees to the meeting.

Now I wonder, are there meetings you can invite your friends to? If not, you may want to make such meetings a matter of prayer and a matter of discussion with your pastor and other leaders in your church. If nothing else, at the very least, start a small group in your home or other location.

Written by Dan Augsburger, 12/9/2007