If you volunteer as a teacher or tutor in a faith based community program, you may mistakenly think your only task is to help your students with their academic work. In reality, you are using this opportunity to serve them as a way to not only reflect God’s love to them, but also to point them to God. One of the best ways you can help them with their faith walk is to get them involved in your local congregation.
You would think inviting your students to worship at the local congregation would come naturally to Christian volunteers. Unfortunately, even the best, most loving Christian teachers can feel themselves freeze when they want to ask their students or the parents to attend worship. To be truly effective in your ministry though, you need to find ways to get past that frozen feeling and introduce your families to the Church family.
There are actually several ways you can approach the subject, that may seem a little more natural to you and less threatening to the parents of your students. I have seen these work well over the years and have even used many of these myself.
- Take every opportunity you can to get to know the parents of your students. As you have regular conversations with the parents, subjects may arise which will give you an opportunity to invite them to church naturally. Did your student’s dad mention he is struggling to be a better dad and the church is having a parenting class on Sunday mornings? Natural invitation!
- Know what happens in the children’s classes at your church. Are your students fourth graders who love the outdoors? Is the Sunday fourth grade Bible class having a series of classes outside as they learn about the Israelites wandering through the wilderness? Make sure your students and their parents know about the class, what they are doing, when they meet, etc.
- Consider dangling a little extra teacher attention as part of the invitation. Young students especially love the idea of spending time outside of class with their teachers. Consider inviting the family of a student to worship and then join you at the pot luck dinner or have a fast food meal after services.
- Take advantage of special programs, services, classes or sermon series. Use any and every “special” thing the church does as an excuse to invite the families of your students to worship. You really never know what may appeal to someone. Or just the very fact that you care enough to ask regularly, may make someone curious enough to attend worship services.
Although it seems really scary right before you invite someone to church, in most cases the worst thing that happens is that they say “no” – this time. You really can’t “mess up” an invitation. The beauty of teaching your students over a long period of time is that you will have multiple opportunities to ask many people to join the local church family in worshipping God. Don’t let people who decline your invitations discourage you. The ones who are ready will accept. Since you can’t know the hearts of people, your task is to ask – you can’t control their response.
Once you begin taking advantage of opportunities to invite others to worship, you may find it becomes a natural part of your every day conversations and your class planning. So take up the challenge and ask at least one family from your class to church this Sunday. I can’t wait to hear what happens.