By Stuart Mann
A new resource that is designed to foster conversations about invitation in the church has struck a chord with people across Canada and even overseas.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Jeff Potter, co-chair of the group that created the resource and pastor of outreach and evangelism at the Church of the Transfiguration, Toronto.
Called “Invited,” the resource is made up of written material and videos to be used by small groups over six sessions. The material includes topics for discussion, scripture study, prayers and thoughts for reflection.
“At the end of the day, our hope is that it challenges people to go deeper and take following Jesus seriously, to ask questions about hospitality and invitation and living out the Gospel in the world,” says Mr. Potter. “If we’re pushed to do that, then good things will happen. God will work in us and through us and with us.”
The resource was created by a group of clergy and laity in the Diocese of Toronto with funding from the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign. It was recently used by 12 parishes in the dioceses of Toronto and Huron as part of a pilot project. It was also run at St. John’s Convent in Toronto. The groups will report back on their experience, and that input will be used to tweak the material over the next few months.
Mr. Potter says the early feedback is promising. “We’ve heard from a number of groups that the written material is easy to use and well thought through and that the videos are engaging.”
Praise for the resource has come in from farther afield as well. Emails have come in from dioceses across Canada and even from a person in the Dominican Republic who wanted to know if the videos were available with Spanish subtitles. Michael Harvey, the founder of the Back to Church Sunday movement, praised it during a recent visit to Toronto.
Mr. Potter says the response has been illuminating. “It’s saying to us that there is a real appetite in churches to think about who we are as Christians and what it means to share our story – to invite people to encounter Christian community and how people might come to experience God through that. It’s really exciting to begin to have some of those conversations.”
The written material and videos are available on the website www.spiritofinvitation.com.