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Friendship Fever — Catch It!

Message two in a four week series leading up to Friendship Sunday. Regular text is message content; blue text indicates illustration; purple text is video illustration. Be sure to obtainproper licensing before showing movie clips. An audio recording of this sermon (dated 4-17-05) is available.  

Friendship Sunday Basics

• What is “Friendship Sunday?”

Today – take you a little further in preparing for Friendship Sunday
Now, why do this?

You’ve said, “We need to know how to do this – invite our friends” – this series gives us the opportunity to do some training.

Another reason: You tell me that you’d like to invite your friends but you don’t always know if it’s going to be a “safe Sunday” when I’m not preaching on Stewardship!

Friendship Sunday – (Date) – I promise NO MONEY
Sunday designed for you to bring your friends – dynamic celebration, singing, drama, and video

• Your congregational goal: ____Guests

• Your personal goal? ____

Introduce them to some of the “tools” your congregation is providing to assist them to invite others: (example: printed “Impact/Invite” cards

• Next Week, the “How?”

• This week, the “Who?”

To get the “who” down really well, I want to show you video clip that will help you do just that. 
VIDEO: CD #7 - Ken Burns’ “Baseball,” “Who’s On First?” by Abbott and Costello
IN: 28:50 – from black to Abbott and Costello
OUT: 30:14 – end of clip, fades to black, voices continue over the black screen – wait until they’re finished. This is a nice clip, not the full routine, but gets the point across.

Who are you going to bring on Friendship Sunday?
This morning I want to take you through some Biblical principles to help you identify the “who.”

How People Respond to our Invitations
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.     Matthew 13:4-8

I want you to see how people respond.
Another name for the parable “Sower and the Seed” is “Parable of the Soils.”
Let’s identify the four kinds of soils in this parable.
1. Path – Not grasped, stolen by Satan

2. Rocky – Faith that quits when challenged

3. Thorns – The stuff of life gets in the way

4. Good Soil – Embraced faith and fruitful

The 4th kind of soil is the good soil that is more apt to respond to your invitation to Friendship Sunday.

Show you some ways this morning to identify those kind of people.

It’s not easy to be about the business of inviting people to church.

Wouldn’t it be great to go through the week inviting people and everyone you speak to says, “Yes.”

Wouldn’t it be great if you throw out the invitation, you throw out the invitation, and person after person catches it!

Got it – want it – I’ll be there.

Would it be great if the people you invited caught the invitation as easily as this guy catches the ball in this video clip.

IN: 24:58 High camera shot of infield (skip the announcer pouring liquor)
OUT: 25:52 “How’d he do that? How’d he do that?” Danny Glover rubs head (fade to previous slide)

How’d he do that? 

Ever met someone who invites people and they all show up?
How’d he do that?

He understands the principle of the soils – that certain people are more receptive than others.

It used to be that we could count on certain bridges existing – that it wasn’t so big a jump between church and the unchurched.

That’s not the way it is anymore – let me show you this diagram (see PowerPoint file for diagram)

It Used to Be That You Could Count On a “Bridge”
In the past there were links like these – most of which just don’t exist anymore

• Some Christian background was present
• Basic familiarity with the story of Jesus and the Bible
• Belief in a “right” vs “wrong” moral truth
• Strong bonds in family and greater community

How to Build Bridges to Good Soil

How do you build the bridges today – something we have to do much more intentionally than before.

What kind of bridges can still be built in our culture?

1. Friends and family = trust

Number 1 reason that people begin coming to church is because a family member or friend invited them.

Why? Because there is a bridge of trust.

People have the confidence in knowing that you have their best interest at heart.

“I am willing to let you discuss things that matter in my life because I trust you.”

These people are the #1 soil.

2. Crisis and uncertainty = hope

These are people in the midst of crisis and uncertainty and will respond to a bridge of hope.

Got a friend going through a divorce right now? That person is particularly open to an invitation.

If you’ve got friends having kid issues right now that overwhelm them – that person is particularly open.

Have problems or issues in common with someone? You’ve got a built-in bridge.

They need hope.

3. Previously churched = faith matters

Somewhere in their past – a church connection.

They’ve already heard the story and know it matters even if they aren’t living it right now.

Young adults go off to college, leave church, get married, have a child and return because they know this matters.

Never Lose Sight of the Goal

We don’t ever want to lose sight of the goal – getting people home to heaven is what it is all about. 

That people would know that in Jesus Christ there is salvation, forgiveness, certainty that when I die, I will go home.

Just to lock this in a little deeper for you, I want to take you to another comedy sketch – this one by George Carlin called, “The Difference Between Baseball and Football.”

VIDEO: CD #8 - Ken Burns’ Baseball, George Carlin, “Difference Between Football and Baseball”
IN: 1:26:38 (don’t include anyone but Carlin)
OUT: 1:27:33 Comedy routine finishes and fades to black

That’s what it’s about – being safe! Going home.
Jesus Christ provides hope in a world of so much uncertainty.
Connecting people to Jesus one person at a time really, really matters.

Here’s the question I want to ask you?  “Who’s On Your Infield?”
(Names of real people need to go in these blanks)

Trust = ___________________
Who is on your trust list, friends and family?

Hope = ___________________
Who is on your hope list, people struggling with real life issues that need the hope of Christ?

Faith = ____________________
We know people who say they’re Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, etc. but they aren’t going to church – ask them.

What’s next? PRAY
The final piece – we’ve got to pray, we’ve got to pray.
God is at work – preparing that person for your invitation.

The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, says: "The way to succeed is to double your failure rate." Or as Thomas Edison said, "There is only one good idea in 100 so I want to discover the 99 failures as quick as possible." Here is a personal evaluation question: Do I view failure as an opportunity for growth in the kingdom or as a personal indictment? Just think about these things for a moment. Every 9 sales calls will result in only 1 sale. It takes 9 times, of hearing the gospel in a variety of 6 mediums, before someone typically responds to Christ. Do you realize that 6 successful people have 9 times more failures than unsuccessful people? Roughly 60% of all basketball shots made don’t go in. 25% of all batters make it to first base. In an oil company, only 10% of oil wells drilled hit oil. For actors, only 1 out of 30 auditions turns up in something that is of value. John Maxwell says it this way: “We need to take success and failure concerning ourselves much less seriously and take God much more seriously. We need to seed a risk-taking mindset. We need to constantly be planting seeds that will develop a mindset that is willing to take risks.”

I don’t know how many people you have as a goal for Friendship Sunday
You’re going to have to ask quite a few to hit your goal
Start asking: “Who are my “who’s?”