What a Simple Invite Can Do

Melissa's baptism at Connect Church

“The 2 of us ‘parachuted’ into the city with no team and no relationships,” Dan Sweaza shared. “We were truly starting from ground zero.”

Dan and his wife, Amber, moved from central Florida to Calgary, Alberta, in 2015 to plant a church. Though they had no connections, Amber’s occupation as a massage therapist opened opportunities to meet people through her practice. “As people learned we were Americans, they always wanted to know why we would move from sunny Florida to snowy Alberta. It was a great opportunity to talk about church and invite people to join our team,” Dan said.

“One of Amber’s clients was Melissa. She and her husband, Steve, were small business owners, raising 3 young children. Over the course of several massages, Melissa told Amber that despite their success in the business world, they felt something was still missing in their lives. Amber told [her] what they really needed was a relationship with God through Jesus.

“We invited them to a dinner we were hosting in the community to cast vision for the church, but we weren’t sure they actually would come. The night of the dinner, their whole family came walking through the front door. Although they were not believers, they joined our church ‘launch team’ and we began meeting with them regularly to discuss life, family, and the gospel. Within a year, Steve and Melissa had given their hearts to Christ and were baptized at our Sunday service. They now serve faithfully [and] have led a small group, and because of their large relational network, there are at least 15–20 of their employees now also attending Connect Church.

“Steve and Melissa’s story is often told around our ministry because it is a powerful reminder of what a simple invite can do. God reminded us that people are readier to make decisions for Jesus than we realize. The problem is not their readiness but our willingness. As with most evangelism, the challenge really comes down to having the courage to move from investing in relationships to inviting them to consider faith.”

Shelli Littleton lives near Dallas, Texas, and she writes at ShelliLittleton.com.

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