Passionately believing God entrusts us with his most precious treasure – people, Shirley Farris was saddened when a dear friend was going through a rough patch. Refusing to let the brokenness of the world declare victory over the situation, Shirley asked her friend to church and gave her messages to listen to in the car. For five years, Shirley lovingly invited her friend to Saddleback Church.
During Saddleback’s recent 40 Days in the Word series, a different kind of invitation was extended, “Instead of coming to church, how about attending a Christmas luncheon?” Innocent enough! And to Shirley’s surprise, her friend accepted this invitation. Within the community of this group, the woman found love, encouragement and acceptance. Shirley’s friend started attending Saddleback, invited her fiancé, became a Christian and both were baptized two months ago.
“Everyone needs to know someone is walking beside them when they go through difficulties. They need to feel comforted by others,” Shirley said. So she feels this current series, What Am Earth Am I Here For? is the perfect opportunity to invite friends to church. The messages explain both the depth of God’s love and how God calls all of us to a meaningful service. “Once people understand their greater purpose, they get excited about moving forward.”
So how do you invite people? The trick, Shirley says, is never giving up. “You never know when someone will say ‘yes.’ Show concern, listen to them, and let them know how much you love them. Their needs may change and they may come around.” Additionally, Shirley shares the fulfillment she’s found in her small group. “My group is my church. It is there I am loved, prayed over and supported. And doesn’t everyone need to feel the joy of being loved and accepted?”
Feeling passionate others will benefit by discovering their calling, Shirley often shares how learning about God and building relationships with others through her group has positively impacted her life. By sharing how God’s love brings purpose to her life, the invitation becomes easy. “Sometimes my friends actually ask me to join my group.”
Shirley happily reports her main group, which has met for 10 years, is “budding” new groups. “My group has 5 groups starting this month and next, because of the current “What Am Earth Am I Here For? series.”
It’s not too late to discover the joy of your calling via the What Am Earth Am I Here For? series. Messages continue from Saddleback’s Lake Forest campus, satellite campuses and via the Internet campus. For more information, go to: www.saddleback.com
If you’d like to join a small group, click here to find one today.