Leaving the 99 the Invitational Maths
Jesus told a story about the mathematics of invitation. In both Matthew 18 and Luke 15 Jesus says in the Parable of the Lost sheep that a shepherd leaves his flock of 99 sheep in order to find the one sheep who is lost. Jesus poses a question at the beginning of the parable a fascinating question for His church today Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it?
I have discovered the mathematics of invitation through Back to Church Sunday is strangely similar to the parable of the Lost Sheep. In a congregation of 100 on average 20 people invite a friend. As a result of that invitation 10 people accept. Of the 10 people who accept on average between 1 and 2 are found worshipping in the church to which they were invited some six months later. So out of the 100 who could have invited between 99 and 98 people are very disappointed and express this disenchantment to such a degree that the church does not do a Back to Church Sunday the next year.
So the question in the second year of Back to Church Sunday and subsequent years is of course, Which of you men and women, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until you found it? The answer in our generation is that 50% of previously participating churches would not be chasing one lost sheep, the mathematics don’t stack up!