The goal is the second date

If you’re putting on an event for non-Christians, I think the most loving goal is “get a second date”. Make the big aim that they come back again. Make the big purpose that they don’t walk out thinking, “Well I’m not coming back to this next week!”.

If they tap out after one night, it becomes 100 times harder to ever get them back again. They think they’ve looked at it “enough”, they think they’ve given Christianity “a go”. But if they come back, even just one more time, that second date is when they really start listening. That’s when they begin to invest in relationships. That’s when begin to evaluate. Its really rare that ever happens on an evangelistic “first date”.

Two caveats…

1. The strategy doesn’t change, just the goal. The strategy should always be “preach the gospel”. Having the second date as the goal will affect HOW you preach the gospel. Just like if you were preaching on the sinking Titanic, it would change HOW you preach the gospel.

2. Don’t let yourself think that God can’t convert people on night one. Of course he can! Pray that people would move from never even hearing about Jesus to trusting him fully in the space of 90mins!

Let the meeting preach the gospel

Sometimes sermons don’t hit the spot, they don’t resonate, they don’t touch a nerve, they don’t point to our sin and Jesus’ grace, etc…

So make sure the gospel is in your meetings.

Use the gospel to explain why you meet. Use the gospel to explain why you pray. Use the gospel to shape your songs, and the welcome, and the farewell, and the interviews. Just a sentence here and a mention there. Wrap Jesus into and through everything.

And one step further; shape the whole meeting on the gospel. Start with the good God who we’ve rebelled against, hear his word — that he initiated for our sake — respond to his word in prayer and songs. Encourage each other to live in line with the gracious calling we’ve received.

And not just Sunday meetings; youth group, Growth Groups, special events, 121s, etc…