82 Percent Will Attend Church--Now What?

"82 percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.... Only 2 percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. 98% of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year." - Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door. The obvious implication of this that church-goers need to do a better job inviting their friends to church. But if we're really going to be effective in doing God's work, we need to seek the answers to some deeper questions:

  • Could it be that more church-goers don't invite their friends to church because they know it won't make a difference in their friends' lives? If so, why is a church-going experience viewed as so ineffective?

  • What about the other 18 percent of Americans who will not attend church even if asked? How will we reach them? Or did Jesus only die for church-goers?

  • What if every church filled its buildings with receptive guests one Sunday (such as on the Sunday after 9/11)? What happens then? Will they come back the next Sunday? If not, why?

  • Is the growth of our churches the most effective way to fulfill the Great Commission? Or is a new paradigm (really an old paradigm--1st century kind-of-old) needed to see a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement?