Q: We finally talked some friends of ours into going to church with us, but it turned out to be the one day of the year they talk about the budget. Needless to say, our friends were put off by this, and I don’t think we’ll ever get them to church again. Can we do anything? They aren’t really religious. — K.R.
A: I’m very sorry your friends had this bad experience; one reason I wanted to reprint your letter is because I hope it will make each of us more sensitive to those who might be visiting our church. If a visitor feels unwelcome or confused by what is going on, or thinks we’re only interested in their membership or their money, we’ll probably never see them again. The Bible says, “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people” (3 John 8).
What can you do with your friends? You should, of course, try to explain what was happening that day (although without being critical of your pastor). But step back a minute and ask yourself what your real goal should be. From what you say, your friends have never thought much about God, or considered what place Christ should have in their lives. Shouldn’t your goal, then, be to point them to Jesus, and hope that someday they will commit their lives to him?
Pray for your friends, therefore, that God will give them open hearts and minds, and convince them of their need for Christ. They may have lost interest in your church (at least for the moment), but don’t assume they aren’t still interested in Jesus.
Ask God, therefore, to help you point them to Jesus Christ. He alone can fill the empty place in their hearts, and he alone can transform their lives and give them hope for the future.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.