Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[a] of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:14b-15
Most human behavior is habitual. We thrive, in part, because so much of what we do requires no conscious thought. We merely respond to the things we see, hear, taste, touch and smell based on the habits we have established throughout our lives.
Those habits form a set of endless loops – stimulus – trigger – habit – repeat. Mostly, this is a good thing. If we had to plan our response to everything we encountered, we would quickly exhaust our meager mental resources. But when those habits put the squeeze on crucial opportunity, they can be quite destructive.
The habits of the church sometimes can squeeze out the life giving opportunities. The weekly schedule of worship, visitation, bible study, prayer, counseling and meetings are habits of the faith that consume the waking hours of church leaders. The opportunity most frequently squeezed out is connecting with people outside the church.
Healthy church leaders create habits that reach out to people who are yet far from God. They make a habit of meeting new people. They make a habit of connecting new friends to old friends. They make a habit of purposeful invitation that pave the way for new people to relate to Christ and the church.
Laura was connected with Megan through their children and their neighborhood. Megan had cultivated the habit of introduction and invitation and walked Laura and her family into the church. Laura’s family felt connected from the moment they walked in the door because of the connections Megan’s habits had already helped them form. Instead of settling for the endless habitual loop of the weekly church schedule, Megan’s new habits opened the door to abundant life for Laura and her family.
What is the next step for you to begin cultivating a habit of introduction and purposeful invitation? Would you take that step today?