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'Come to Church'

Wednesday June 19

Lynne McNeil learns about the Weekend of Invitation, which begins on Friday.


Churches across the UK are this weekend (June 21-23) issuing invitations to share the Christian message in the national ‘Weekend of Invitation’.

The weekend sees congregations inviting people to come to church or special church-run activities or events over the weekend.

The UK-wide event replaces Back to Church Sunday, which took place in the autumn and sought to encourage people who had lost contact with local churches to consider returning and renewing faith.

The Weekend of Invitation seeks to encourage growth and flourishing in local churches and give congregations confidence to offer invitations to others to consider coming to church or church-led events and activities.

Author and speaker Michael Harvey has been encouraging congregations involved in the movement for the last 14 years. He was involved in a series of roadshows in Scotland last autumn, encouraging churches to take part.

He explained: "God nudges us into doing things, then we take a step of faith and carry them out. Everyone's invitation is different because God is doing something with every person.

“Whether the person is saying yes or no - leave it up to God.”

Michael has been working with a dozen Church of Scotland congregations from Inverness to the Borders, mentoring members to encourage them to embrace the invitation process and consider how it could become part of the overall culture of the church.

Bellshill West Parish Church in Lanarkshire is one which has embraced the culture over the last 18 months.

The Rev Calum Stark, minister at Bellshill West, said his congregation has grown spiritually and in numbers through developing a culture of invitation.

“As a church we have taken steps in moving into the invitation process following the last roadshow headed up by Michael," he explained.

“Since then we have seen a number of new faces join us in worship and perhaps even more significantly, have seen members of the congregation come alive in their prayer life.

“We have found that this has strengthened relationships and has led to far more spiritual conversations, sharing and prayer.”

Robbie Morrison, a regional development worker with the Church of Scotland’s Mission and Discipleship Council, has worked with congregations seeking to embrace the culture of invitation.

He said: “The whole idea behind this is that it becomes less about an event and more about invitation becoming part of the culture of the church – that we might all be praying and asking God to highlight one person in our life that we could invite to church.”

Weekend of invitation website