At the last minute, I decided to attend a writers' conference. I wanted to gain some insight into writing and getting what is written published. The conference was more than five hours from home, so I got up early packed and headed out. I had the conference center's number in my cell phone, so I was not worried. In fact, I had it figured out. If the conference was full, I would turn around and head back home. But otherwise, I would be that much closer.
After navigating the local roads to the interstate, I called the number. Surprise! It was a national reservation number which only operated on Monday through Friday! Frustrated but not defeated, I used my phone to get on the web. I found the conference center, and I found another number. Another roadblock. It was a group sales number also only answered Monday through Friday.
I looked again, and found two more numbers, one toll free and one long distance. I called the long distance first. When it failed, I called the toll free with the same results. Both were numbers for a boys camp. Now, I was getting frustrated. I did not want to drive more than five hours from home only to discover that the conference was full.
So I tried again. I found yet another number. And guess what? Yes, you are right. It gave me the same recording as the first two numbers I tried. But this time I pressed a number that was suggested. When I got another recording, I pressed zero. And guess what happened. This time, a human answered. I almost did not know what to say. After fumbling around, I asked if it was possible to still get into the writers' conference. She put me on hold for about three minutes. When she returned to the phone, she graciously helped me to register for the event.
While I know I caused part of the problem by waiting to the last minute, it should not be that hard to register for an event--especially in today's economy! I had already tried three or four times in the previous weeks to register online and the lodging portion of the website failed every time. I am now onsite. I am checked in. I have moved my luggage into my room. I am awaiting dinner. I am really looking forward to the event, but it sure got off to a rocky start this morning! I almost turned around and went home.
As I thought about my experience, I became aware of how difficult some churches make it to join or even attend Sunday School. I remember a gentleman in Ashland who told the group I was working with that he had joined the church six months before attending Sunday School. When asked why he waited so long, he said that no one had invited him and he did not know that he could do so without an invitation. Wow!
How many people are sitting in our pews because we have never invited them? How many of our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are sitting at home because we have never invited them? How many never come because there were no greeters to help them find out what class to attend? How many never come because they arrived after Sunday School started and all the greeters had gone to class? How many never come because no one invited them from the pulpit? How many never come because no new classes are started and announced? How many never come because the parking lot is full?
Then when they do make it to our classes, how many never join because we never ask them to do so? How many never join because we are waiting for them to express interest? How many never join because we don't follow up? How many never join because we talked to each other rather than to them? How many never join because we did not get any contact information to follow up?
Are you making it difficult for people to attend your Sunday School? Are you making it difficult for them to join? What can you do this week to change that fact? First impressions are often permanent. Give your best effort to God. Inv ite people to class. Invite them to join. Care for people. Love them to Sunday School. Love them to Him! Be revolutionary!
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