There are many incredible experiences I have encountered after 20 years of being in the ministry. None of these is greater and more amazing than watching God working in the life of his people.
Seeing that incredible relationship between God and his church being lived out before my eyes week after week is truly a blessing. That is why I believe that one of the most important parts of a service is the invitation time.
Regardless of the method used, everyone wants to see the same thing happen and that is for God to have the freedom to move amongst His people and for His people to give Him the freedom to work in their lives. With this purpose in mind, there are certain principles that I believe are helpful in creating this type of worship experience.
1. Consistency—the invitation should be an extension of the preaching time, and should give the audience an opportunity to experience what has been presented in the message. For example, if the message was on giving thanks to God, then the invitation should reflect that message. Maybe your invitation time would consist of a focused time of giving thanks, testimony or singing songs of thanks.
2. Simplicity—an invitation can quickly become about making several decisions, instead of focusing upon one or two decisions.
3. Flexibility—It is easy to get into a rut and do the same thing every week. The Holy Spirit should have complete access to move how He wants, to change what He wants and for us to follow. This requires not only extensive prayer before the service, but also a trust between the ministers on the stage, to allow one another the freedom to follow what the Spirit is leading them to do.
4. Options—Instead of having a standard come forward invitation, we provide a decision card in the back of every pew which anyone can fill out and turn in. This gives us the option of having various types of invitations and the audience opportunity to respond according to the directing of the Holy Spirit.
My hope and prayer is that our presentation of the Gospel, both in teaching times and invitation, will reflect the heart of our incredible creative God, and that we can challenge our people, not only with our words, but also create opportunity for them to experience Him in deeper more exciting ways.
Brad Davis is pastor of Moore, Eagle Heights.