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The Power of the Invitation

David Shannon of the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ wrote the following article a little over a year ago. I thought it was something I needed to share with you.

Can I share with you several thoughts that are on my mind? I just came home from the "Better" Conference in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It was a wonderful opportunity for eight or so men to explain what they do in their preaching. Each speaker was selected to speak about a certain aspect of preaching in which they excel. Keith Parker, a traveling evangelist, who formally preached at Hendersonville church of Christ spoke about how to extend an invitation. I know that some of you reading this will say, "Why are you writing this, most of us who read this are not preachers, why tell us?" But all of you who read this will probably be in the audience many times where the invitation is extended. Why do we do it? Is it important? Is there anything you can do or is it all on the preacher? Keith did a superb job of bringing attention to one of the most important times in our lives, the time we all pause together to encourage someone to come to the Lord; the invitation. Keith has already preached 16 Gospel Meetings this year in the United States. He has seen about 400 people respond publicly and about 40 become Christians. Many today say Gospel Meetings no longer accomplish any good. But Keith helps prove this wrong every week. So what is it about reaching others that Keith would help us understand from God's plan?

One of the last lines in all the Bible says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" ( Revelation 22:17). The bride is the church, not just preachers. The church has the message of the invitation saying, "come to Christ." We should be saying, "come" to those who hear and thirst to move closer to God. For this reason as a preacher I will:

PRAY: In Acts 6 the Apostles were the early preachers. They would not serve tables because their highest priority was to continue in PRAYER and the Word ( Acts 6:4). But it wasn't just the Apostles who prayed. In the record of the first day of the church it also described what they did beyond the first day. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in PRAYERS" ( Acts 2:42). I am convicted to pray more for others to obey Christ! Will you? Every invitation song should be a time that elders, deacons, teachers, preachers, ministers, and all members have already prayed about. Who is not a child of God that you will be praying for this week? Who is a wayward child of God you will pray for each day? An invitation song is a great opportunity for our prayers to be answered. Let's pray for revival! 

Preachers need to PAY attention to content. Are we preaching the power of the Gospel to save ( Romans 1:16)?

Preachers and members need to PROVOKE unto love and good works ( Hebrews 10:24-25). Our time in the assembly ought to stir us or provoke us to become a follower of God. If it doesn't accomplish this, all is lost!

Preachers need to PLEAD because of what is at stake. Paul said he pled or persuaded people because of the terror of the Lord that will be brought on Judgment to those who are not saved ( 2 Corinthians 5:10-11). How would you communicate to someone who was sitting in a dangerous situation? Would you plead?

Preachers and members need to give the PRAISE to God and to the one who responded. Their godly example will encourage others.

There should be nothing that pleases us more than to see someone be saved! God doesn't want anyone to perish ( 2 Peter 3:9) and neither should we!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward