A common saying originating in America in the early 1800’s is “Home Sweet Home.” It has come to portray how comforting one’s own domicile can be. Whether “home” is a country after returning from a trip overseas, or one’s physical house, the phrase is often used by travelers who have been away for a while. It’s an expression used to describe the familiar sanctuary and stable environment that make people comfortable.
While many people don’t travel enough to miss the luxuries and comfort of one’s own home, some people can miss home in a matter of days. I’m in the latter category. Although I love traveling and exploring, I find, like most business travelers, that it just gets old quickly when you travel to the same location time and again.
This past week after being in Canada, I missed not just the comfort of home, but the weather, my family, and my church. When people are away, it’s easy to miss things without knowing it.
Home Sweet Church: I wonder how many other people miss their “home” church. The Bible tells us that the church is truly universal, and we should understand that the building is not the church. I’ve talked to many people over the years that have left church and returned, only to say “I really enjoy being back.”
Many people when they leave church, it’s not intentional. They get busy with life, fail to make time to return, and because they’re not involved as volunteers or teachers, they don’t feel a responsibility to return quickly. Then months, or even years, go by, and one day they decide to return.
What makes someone realize they need to return, or simply go to church? You’d be surprised what a common answer is. “I’ve never been asked.” Yes, that’s right. Surprisingly, studies have shown that 82% of the unchurched population is somewhat likely to say yes if asked to church.1 So, what are we waiting for? Well, surprisingly, another awful statistic is that “only two percent of church members invite unchurched persons to church.”2 And finally, 62% of those who have left church are open to attending church again.3
What’s the moral of Home Sweet Church? Simple: “more people would attend church if given one simple thing – an invitation.”4 Why don’t you invite somebody to your Home Sweet Church?
1,2 Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door.
3 Scott McConnell, Lifeway Research
4 Philip Nation, Lifeway Research