My wife, Lynn, had a coughing problem a few years ago. Her doctor suggested that she go to a new pulmonologist in town named Dr. Gaeton Lorino. Lynn invited me to go with her. When we got to his office we were pleasantly received by a very efficient staff. Dr. Lorino gave an accurate diagnosis and treatment that cured her cough.
During the course of the visit Lynn inquired about his family. His wife, Dr. Cindy Lorino, is in charge of cancer imaging at the Montgomery Breast Center. They had moved from Mobile. Lynn’s next words were to ask where they were going to church.
Dr. Lorino said that they had visited a few churches but were not attending anywhere regularly. They were not Methodist. Lynn invited them to a special Christmas program at Frazer UMC. She told them that we would love to pick them up from their home and have them sit with us. I was the first Uber!
The Lorinos attended the event, came back to worship on Sunday, and started coming each Sunday after that. They joined the church and became some of the best members and leaders that we had. It all came as a result of an invitation during a doctor’s visit.
Just as I was retiring, I approached both of them and said that I would love for one of them to serve on my non-profit Board which was forming, and the other person to serve on the staff parish committee at Frazer UMC. It was decided that Gaeton would serve on my Board, and Cindy would be on the staff parish. Both of them have become great leaders, not only in that capacity of leadership, but in the capacity of serving.
I recently was preaching at an African American church and mentioned the Lorinos. A lady jumped up and shouted, “Hey, I know them! They introduced me to Jesus!” She had been incarcerated at Tutwiler Women’s prison. The Lorinos, along with their Sunday school class, were part of a ministry to the women called Life Tech. This ministry was started by Jerry and Judy Kemp, both of whom were members of Frazer because of an invitation. They invited this lady in Tutwiler to accept and follow Jesus. She accepted their invitation.
People bring people to Christ and the Church. Frazer UMC grew from less than 400 members to almost 9,000 members. People have always asked, “What’s the secret?” It’s not a secret. People invite and bring people to Christ and the church!!
We were on television and radio, and did other forms of outreach. Some people came because of those, but 90% of the people came to Frazer because somebody invited them! When people would join, I would invite the people who first invited them to come and stand with them. This gave visible affirmation of the importance of inviting.
Who is a part of the Christian faith today because you invited them? As soon as Andrew had decided to follow Jesus, he immediately went and invited his brother, Peter, to become a follower. (John 1:40-42)
The Lenten season is one of the best times to invite people to Christ and the church.
Who will you invite?