Pastor Foley points out that it’s not Scriptural to invite people to church! For example, Jesus never invited anyone to join him in a synagogue service. Instead, we observe Jesus eating meals with his disciples and with sinners alike. The Bible compares the Kingdom of God, not to a church service, but rather with a banquet. So, when we want to introduce people to the love and grace of God, consider inviting them over to your home for a meal!
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The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
What if you are a dependent? Pray for you and Mrs. F daily XOXOXO
Great to hear from you, JT! You allude to an excellent point: The Works of Mercy are best done as a whole household. What I’ve seen around the world is that often the Lord uses the dependent to motivate everyone else! Especially when it comes to sharing your bread, having the whole family receive the guest is really powerful.
Eric, I think your observation is quite insightful. I think it’s a statement of a Bible model of evangelism and discipleship. In it’s purest form I grasp it and think you are right on track. The point is that Jesus went to THEM.
But, I think we have to look a little deeper and be quick to assume. (I”m just saying 🙂 )
The analogy (like all) breaks down. I think the specific references to Jesus going to the temple/synagogue are limited…and certainly, we don’t have a reference to him going to the synagogue as a point of personal enrichment or community with the Father. Does that mean he didn’t go to the synagogue? Of course not. Did he take the disciples to worship? Or did the gospel writers simple not include that.
In a different discussion, some might argue that why would Jesus bring people to an institution that countered. Indeed, he did come to fulfill the law.
At the risk of making this overly academic, I don’t think we can simply discount invitations to church as a way to build disciples. Thoughts
Great question, Dean–and always good to hear from you, brother. It’s a bit of a controversial position I take here, but one I’m inclined to commend based on the practice of the early church not to use the gathered worship of the church as an evangelistic tool. Instead, as I write about in Church Is For Amateurs and excerpt here (https://dotheword.org/2011/06/13/how-to-start-a-lay-church-principle-i-don%E2%80%99t-make-it-easy-to-get-in/), attendance at a church gathering actually occurred much later in the discipleship process than it does today, and even then only after serious examination by a church elder. Wrote early church father Hippolytus:
“Let those who will be brought newly to the faith to hear the Word be brought first to the teachers before the people arrive. And let them be asked the reason why they have given their assent to the faith. And let those who have brought them bear witness as to whether they are able to hear the Word. And let them be asked about their life: What sort is it?”
So when people say to me today, “Hey, I’ll be swinging by [Colorado Springs/Seoul/NE China] and want to drop in to your church,” I actually decline and instead say, “You know, we don’t permit visitors to our Sunday gathering, but we do encourage folks to stay in the home of one of our household leaders and eat with them and participate in family worship with them.” That usually causes them to feel snubbed…unless they actually take us up on the warmer invitation for us to host them, in which case they come to believe there’s actually some ecclesial sense behind it.
Plus the food is usually REALLY good…
Interesting. A service at an unfamilar church can be daunting. Without meaning to, each has its own culture. We
have all been to churches and felt we had to “behave.” Meals are universal, I think.
Unless its a job interview or meeting potential in laws, meals are pretty disarming, especially at a home.
Your thoughts are always food, no pun intended, for thought.