So that’s what a bushel is!

Andrew Turner


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There is an art to inviting without inviting. “We must have you over for a meal sometime!” Just look at the sheer beauty of that sentence. It has all you want in warmth and friendliness, without ever having to actually eat with the person. 

Australian Baptists are generally a warm and happy bunch. According to the National Church Life Survey results, Baptist churches are the place to be: 88% of us have a strong sense of belonging, 89% agree that our church is inclusive of different kinds of people, and 78% found it easy to make friends in our local church. Considering the epidemic of loneliness in Australia, our communities are some sort of dream land. But are we really as inclusive as we say?

There is another, more troubling figure in our survey results. Those of us who “invited to a church service any friends/relatives who don’t currently attend a church” has fallen significantly – from 41% in 2006 to 27% now. For the first time, the inclination of Baptists to invite an outsider has fallen below the inclination of outsiders to accept such an invitation! 29% of non-church Australians say they are ‘Extremely likely’ or ‘Very likely’ to attend a church service if invited by a friend or family member. A further 24% are somewhat likely, according to McCrindle.

Friends, this raises serious questions that go deeper than our choices of outreach resources and evangelistic technique. Let us search our hearts with the question, do we really want people to be included, like God wants them to be included? I know there is more to mission than inviting people to church, but there is not less to mission than that.

If we still believe that well-worn myth that nobody’s interested in church, we are wrong! And if we lower a bowl (that is what a bushel is) over our lamp (Matt 5:15) as though to keep the light and warmth to ourselves, we are very wrong! It does not just hide the flame, it smothers it.

Let us arrest the slide of Sunday gatherings becoming weekly quiet times, when we withdraw from the world – we need those daily. No, when we gather, it should be our time to shine. What better way to show people Christ, than to show them the body of Christ?

Crossover exists to Help Australian Baptists Share Jesus. Check out our new Baptism Hub on

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