Inviting others to worship with us at sacrament meeting is a great way to share the light and love of the Savior with family and friends. But sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be.
Here are seven ways we can help friends feel more comfortable accepting the invitation to come to church:
Why are you inviting them? Is it for you or for them? If you have their best interests in mind, they will feel your sincerity. If they can see they are important to you, they may be more willing to learn about what else is important to you.
Ask your friends if they have a place to worship the Savior and invite them to come worship with you, especially at times like Christmas and Easter. If they aren’t Christians, ask them if they’d like to learn more about Jesus Christ and invite them to experience a Christian worship service with you. Remember to show the same respect for their beliefs that you hope they will give yours.
If your friend declines, accept “no” graciously. But don’t think a “no” to attending church means a “no” to you. There are a lot of reasons they might have said no that have nothing to do with how they feel about you. If you don’t let a “no” change your relationship, you might have a later opportunity to understand their feelings better.
If your friends accept an invitation to come to church, help them understand what to expect: how they might dress, the purpose and length of each meeting, and what will happen in the meetings—or not happen (for example, donations are not collected during our meetings). You should also explain to them what the sacrament is and what it means. This may help them be more at ease when they come to church.
Here are a few videos you can share that might help them know what to expect:
People are usually less interested in our doctrine (at least at first) than they are in our community and good works. Help them connect with people, and share how we are involved in the community, serve together, and care for each other.
A great way to introduce someone to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is to start by sharing the blessings the gospel has to offer. For example, you could try to show them how the Church can help them find their family roots, strengthen their family, become more self-reliant, give meaningful service, and give their children good standards to live by. Discussion of specific doctrines and beliefs can come later.
Some people you might want to introduce them to include the bishop, the Relief Society president, a temple and family history consultant, or the Primary teacher for any children in the family.
If your friends attend, do what you can to make them feel welcome and meet their needs. Likewise, if you see someone at church you don’t know, be friendly and welcoming. Let them know how great it was to have them there. Try to see through their eyes, invite questions, and help them understand their experience.
Some who may be interested in attending are afraid that they’ll be pressured into something. As you try to provide a good experience where your friends can feel the Holy Ghost, share thoughts and feelings, but don’t feel like you have to force a spiritual experience. Trust God and let the Spirit do His work. And if your friends don’t have time to stay for the full meeting schedule or to stay after church to talk, thank them for coming and set up an opportunity to follow up.
Inviting others to worship the Savior with us doesn’t have to be stressful for us or for them. As we invite friends, we are acting on President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to minister to others in a “new, holier way”1 and “to help gather Israel.”2 Joy will follow as we share the light and love of the Savior with those around us.