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The Pastoral Skill of Inviting

By Doug Franklin July 13, 2020

Inviting is a leadership skill. And it gives leaders the confidence to invite people into relationships, service opportunities and a commitment to Christ.

Pastors with the skill not only cast vision but engage people in carrying out the vision. They are easily able to recruit large numbers of people to be involved in church, and they have a personal warmth that attracts people like a magnet.

Pastors without this skill can come across as mean, disengaged, or even self-absorbed. They can leave people feeling like they don’t care about others or the mission of the church. They tend to struggle to recruit volunteers in church ministries, and they may have a hard time getting others to follow their lead.

do you have the skill?

So who are the great inviters, and can you become one?

Before you make the mistake of thinking, “Oh, they’re just extroverts or highly relational,” think again. (You and I both know lots of extroverts who can’t engage with people to get them to volunteer in their ministry.)

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, he’s just talking about caring people.” While it’s true that caring people do a great job of helping hurting people, they don’t necessarily motivate people to do things they would not have done on their own.

The types of leaders that are good at inviting know themselves well. They combine their leadership qualities AND their natural abilities to find unique ways that attract people to the ministries they lead.

Most people think that if you’re a pastor you automatically have this skill, but it’s just not true. This skill takes time and practice to develop. But once you have the skill you can use it in almost in every circumstance when you’re involved with people at church.

how to develop the skill of inviting

Here are a few tips on developing the skill of inviting:

Know yourself and how you like to communicate

Are you best one-on-one, or do you like to communicate to a large crowd? For me, personally, I like one-on-one communication. When I’m with somebody, (1) I tell them what they’re really good at, (2) I encourage them to use their leadership gifts in the ministry, and (3) I always ask for them to be involved in a practical way.

Get to know people before you invite

I like to build a relationship before I extend an invitation. When I’ve gotten to know somebody, then I like to ask myself, “What is their greatest need?” And once I know their greatest need, I craft my invitation around it.

If someone needs to know Christ, I tell them, “You need to know Jesus as your Savior, and I want to invite you to know him.” If I want to see someone volunteer, I say, “Here’s what I believe your really good at. Would you be willing to serve in this way?”

Clarify your vision and what you’re asking

This is my best tip to help you invite people to join you in your mission. When I’m going to invite somebody to join my team, here’s how it goes:

  • First, I start with the vision behind the team.
  • Second, I tell them a story of transformation that’s happened as a result of pursuing that vision.
  • Third, I asked them to get involved.

This strategy allows them to not only know the goal behind the ministry, but it also shows how the ministry is being effective. It also clearly shows them how they can be involved.

And it works every time!

It’s really hard for someone to say “no” to an effective ministry with a clear vision where they can play a valuable role.

I work constantly at writing out my invitation statements. Every Monday, I write out a story of transformation so that I am ready to say clearly what is my vision, tell a story that just happened in the last week, and make an invitation.

Ready to grow this skill? Don’t worry if you’re not extroverted; find an invitation style that matches your wiring and how you like to communicate. Then work at getting to know the people you’re extending invitations to. What do you see as their greatest needs? Finally, set to work writing out invitation statements that communicate your vision, a story of transformation, and a practical way for an individual to get involved.

Yes, this leadership skill takes time and practice to perfect, but if you do the work, you’ll grow your leadership and the results will change your ministry.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More