Pray for God’s help. Ok, so this doesn’t seem like the most creative way to invite your neighbors. But it’s definitely the place to start. Creativity flows from God. So does the power to incline your neighbors toward Christ and his church. So take some time with your family or CG or roommates, and ask the Father to help you with the idea and the energy to do it—along with lots of fun and expectation. This is how Jesus told his followers to roll out the red carpet to his kingdom (Luke 10:2-3). First, pray. Then invite.
Make a plan. Friends, Easter is good times, and so are these ideas. But the enemy does not want you to share them. So he’ll pull out the best in his bag of tricks: busyness. Easter will come and go and you’ll be buying discounted chocolate bunnies before you know it. So once you land on an idea, put your plans on the calendar.
Ask if they’re planning to go to church this year. One of the easiest places to start is by having a conversation. Even in a passing chat about the weather, ask if they’re planning on going to an Easter service this year. Many people are entertaining the thought already. And even if they’re not, going to church on Easter is still cultural enough to be an unoffensive topic. One of the most common hesitations potential visitors have is not knowing anyone at the church. Resolve some of it by offering to attend with them.
Make cookies and deliver them. Come on, who doesn’t like cookies?! Making Easter eggs is fun too, but they just don’t quite go down as well with a glass of milk. Your neighbors will not only enjoy it, they’ll be impressed that you took the time to make it and share it. If cooking isn’t your thing, there’s nothing wrong with buying some candy to share. Or you could also…
Take them some Spring flowers. Ok, so candy may not be everybody’s thing. Dropping off double-fudge bunny brownies to an elderly diabetic probably won’t hit the spot. But after a hard winter, Spring flowers can be a breathe of fresh air. It could be really sweet to drop off a little bouquet of lilies, daisies, azaleas, daffodils, chrysanthemums, or tulips. Kiddos also do a great job of picking just about anything. Who can resist a cute kid with a handful of dandelions?
Host an Easter meal. Let’s be honest, most of us are inclined to respond to an invite when there’s free food involved. Have a meal ready to share together after the Easter service so that you can invite them to both church and lunch. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. And if they only come to one, it’s still a win.
Host a Good Friday meal. If you’re busy with extended family on Easter Sunday, then invite your neighbors to a Good Friday meal. It’s a great opportunity to share why Friday is, well, good. And it’s a great setup for then inviting them to the Easter service.
Share your family traditions. If you have special things you do as a family on Easter Sunday, invite a neighbor to join you for them. What a concrete picture of the spiritual reality: inviting them into the family of God. Show them what it means to have fun on Easter and why it’s worth celebrating. Who cares if it’s not Easter-ish (i.e. egg hunt, dressing in pastels, taking awkward family photos, etc.). Go to a movie, have a bbq, break out the slip ’n’ slide. Yes, I said slip ’n’ slide.
Keep an eye out for international neighbors. This isn’t a shameless plug for international missions. Really, some of the most eager neighbors we have are sojourners among us. Many internationals long for American friends and want to experience American culture. Even the religiously devout wonder what “going to church” is like. Unfortunately, it’s said that 95% of internationals in the US have never been invited into an American home. So give them a chance, answer their questions, and make a new friend.
Look for a person of peace. In Luke 10:5-7 Jesus tells his followers not only to pray and invite, but to be on the lookout for persons of peace. These are people that God had prepared to respond positively when invited into his kingdom. Interesting enough, they would be the ones offering the hospitality to Jesus’ followers. Then they would be the ones to really reach their neighborhood. So instead of feeling overwhelmed at the thought of rounding up all your neighbors, who’s one that keeps coming to mind, or keeps knocking on your door?
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