The Great Commission is clear. We are to go and make disciples of all nations. But how can we do so if they do not come to church? In fact, as many as 40% of individuals in our communities cannot attend Bible study or church on Sunday morning. And besides that number, many others don’t come.
One of the many reasons they don’t come is that we are not inviting them. Thom Rainer and other researchers before him have shown that many will come to church if they are invited. A small percentage don’t come to church because they had bad experience. Some don’t come because they felt they were not making spiritual progress. Others don’t come because they felt church was irrelevant. Some dropped out because needs were not met in time of crisis.
Many no longer came to church because attendance became inconvenient. They had to care for a family member who was ill. Work hours changed to include Sunday. They began working six days a week and needed a day to sleep in. They moved farther away from the church.
Why aren’t we making Bible study convenient? Where does it say that group Bible study should only be offered on Sunday morning? Nowhere! Why not offer a Bible study at an off-campus site? Find a convenient location and time and invite people. For some, 6:30 AM is a great time. For others 7:00 PM is preferred. For many a weeknight is preferred over any time during the weekend. What about lunch time? How about in your home, office, or community center? How about in the nursing home, jail, or apartments?
I want to challenge every church to pray about starting one or more off-campus Bible studies in the next 12 months! Pastor, Sunday School director, I want to challenge you to challenge your adult and youth classes to start a group. Let’s take God’s Word to the streets! Let’s invite friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. Let each one start one this year. Be revolutionary!