I have been away for the past few days at Shrine Mont, the camp and conference center for the Diocese of Virginia. Twice a year the bishops of the Diocese of Virginia invite the clergy to pause from day to day life and take time together. The spring conference is always open to lay staff at churches, as well as spouses, partners, and (preschool) children of clergy and lay staff. Five of us from Christ Church went to the spring conference, which is part conference and part R&R.

The conference’s outside presenter was one of the founders of the Back to Church Sunday movement, which began in England and has become a world-wide, ecumenical program over the past 10 years. He hammered home his main point – you and I need to invite people we know to come to church.  Just ask. Not convince, not berate, not guilt, not cajole. Just ask and invite.

Just ask and invite without fear of success or failure. Whether person says “sure” or not is not up to you. There is no possibility of failure here that the person didn’t come to church because the purpose and goal is to just ask. Whether the person does come to church is between him or her and God. (If that sounds familiar, it’s the same as my understanding about conversion – conversion is in God’s job description, telling our stories is in our job description.)

The old statistic is that an Episcopalian invites someone to come to church once every 17 years. Let’s just ask and help blow that stat out of the water. Whaddya say – want to come join me?