By Stacy Heckman
I’ve been a believer as long as I can remember. I grew up attending church every week with my family, went to youth group on Sunday nights. I’ll admit sometimes my motives were more about seeing a boy that I liked than growing my spirituality, but hey… I was a teenager! I had my prodigal years in college, but I never strayed too far. Fast forward into “adult life” and my husband and I have been faithfully involved in our church for more than a decade.
So why in the world, when it came to inviting people to church, or talking about my faith to non-believers did it evoke such fear in me? What exactly was I afraid of? After some self-searching, I discovered that my biggest reason was: Rejection.
Here’s an example of a fictional conversation I would have with myself:
“What would Suzy-Q think of me if I asked her to come to church this weekend?”
“She would probably say, “No.” Or she would say, ‘Thanks, let me think about it’ – when I know what she really means is ‘I don’t attend church, so don’t ask me, weirdo!’”
“And then my friend will feel awkward every time we’re together, and she probably won’t want to hang out with me anymore, and then we won’t be friends, and then she’ll tell all my other friends, and then I won’t have ANY friends!!!!”
Pretty irrational, don’t ya think? And certainly that fear of rejection was coming from one place: Satan.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
The enemy loves to stir up some good old fashioned fear in us. Keep us from inviting our friends to Bible study. Keep up from handing out the church invites. He wants to keep our mouths shut. After attending the Fearless conference, I decided I needed to make a change. I need to stop letting Satan win by keeping me in bondage of fear.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, Pastor Craig asked us to write in chalk on the walls of the church the names of people we would be praying for the next 21 days. I got up and wrote the names of six friends who do not attend church. And I prayed for them all month. And then I did something a bit uncomfortable… I invited every single one of them to Easter service. And you know what?? Four of those six families came to church! And one of them had their child baptized on Easter!
My friends didn’t think I was weird for inviting them. And the ones who decided not to come didn’t toss our friendship aside. Instead, it opened doors to some amazing conversations! I will not allow the enemy to make me fearful. Instead, I am choosing to be more confident in my faith.
Join me in being bolder for God. Let’s not back down when we feel the Holy Spirit leading us to invite someone to church or share our faith. I invite you to pray that God will do great and impactful things through us right here in our communities because according to His word, we are gifted with the spirit of power!
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