Baby Steps: The power of Invitation

August 22, 2022 | NEW MINDS

"Each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are. All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word, and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others."
- Joy of the Gospel 121

Parents will relate well to the memory of when your baby was learning to walk. After mastering crawling and standing upright with the aid of furniture, the baby’s first steps usually resemble an inchworm moving its way along the edge of the couch or coffee table. Eventually, you’re able to encourage them to step away hands-free and take a first real step which usually results in a fall. Once first steps have been witnessed, one’s eagerness to have the baby walk leads to standing him up and encouraging him to try again but this time holding your arms out toward him and encouraging him to keep moving toward you. With each step your baby takes, you move a little farther back until you both realize the good distance they’ve walked on own their own…always moving toward the safety of their parent’s arms.

As we work to move others along the path of discipleship, it may be helpful to remember the simplicity of a child walking and remember you’re inviting them into something wonderful…into the Father’s arms. You should approach it with great joy, not fear. Imagine you have an abundance of hidden treasure and you’re sharing the map to the treasure with them. The only apology necessary is the one you owe for not sharing something so wonderful!

God wants you to be confident and bold in inviting people into a relationship with him! Here are some simple examples of simple ways to begin to invite people into deeper relationship and to keep them moving along the path of discipleship.

Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.

Joy of the Gospel 120

Where do you start?

It's important to always begin with prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for an opening so you may extend an invitation. We have to remember that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and it's our job to plant the seseds and make the invitation.

Invite to Mass

You see a family at a soccer game every weekend, but you never see them at Mass, and they’ve expressed they don’t go. How do you invite them to Mass?

· Invite them to Mass and lunch before the game.

· When out of town for tournament, invite the team to join you for Mass before games begin.

· Invite the family to join your family at social event sponsored by the parish but begin by going to Mass together.

Invite to a Small Group or Bible Study 

You have a friend who comes to Mass every Sunday but isn’t involved in the life of the Church and admits she only comes to Mass out of respect to her devout Mother. How do you invite her to join your small faith sharing group/Bible study?

· Share why your small group or Bible study has blessed your life and how you’ve grown. You’ve got something special to share. Invite her to join you at your next one.

· Invite her to wine and appetizers gathering with your small group to meet everyone and do a simple version of small group to give her a taste of what it is involved. Let her encounter the friendship and joy associated with the group.

Invite to Retreat 

You have a friend who is in your Bible study. How do you invite him to go on a weekend silent retreat?

· Share your own personal encounter you’ve experienced with God on retreat. Perhaps you felt God calling you to come away and give Him some focused quiet time.

· Tell him of upcoming opportunities in the parish or archdiocese where he might also receive the blessing associated with time spent away with the Lord such as a private day retreat.

Invite into Leadership

You have a friend who goes to Mass every Sunday, is part of a Bible study, and goes on retreat several times per year but believes leadership belongs to someone more qualified. How do you invite him to lead a new small group or take on a faith formation leadership position in the parish?

· Remind your friend of the importance of continued growth. We are not called to be stagnant. God often calls us out of our comfort zones to bring us into even deeper relationship with him.

· Encourage discernment of his gifts and where God might be calling him to serve in a leadership position. Invite them to do the spiritual gifts inventory to see what gifts God might be calling them to serve.

Never stop inviting people to move closer into relationship with God – no matter where they are starting. If you don’t take that first step of making the invitation, who will?

"But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!"

Romans 10:14-15



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