And it's not because they don't have a heart for people who are far from God. It's not because they want to keep the church from growing. And it's not because they're afraid of losing their seat to someone new.
There is no exaggerating how strong an inhibition many of us have when it comes to inviting someone to church. We may be very grateful that someone invited us, but the thought of doing the same for someone else induces shaky sweats and hopeless stammering.
Not all inhibitions need to be overcome (as with the pastor's inhibition regarding skinny jeans: can we get an "Amen!?")
But where our inhibitions are preventing us from being faithful we cannot resign ourselves to being forever checked by our hang-ups. Consider trying the following steps to overcoming your inhibitions in a way that honors God.
1. Fear God more.
In Psalm 34 David makes clear that fearing the Lord is not just the key to turning from evil, but for actually doing good. Think about it. At the root of most inhibitions is a fear: fear of failure, or of embarrassment, or of losing control, etc. If you have not been able to overcome those fears, you can still, wisely, give the place of privilege to a better fear. I could, for instance, overcome my inhibition about crashing a celebrity filled cocktail party, if it was the only way I could escape a lion. And God is the lion that I am right to fear, and right to trust.
2. Get Biblical.
Knowing with confidence what God wants me to do and to avoid doing is a great antidote to knowing with anxiety what my psychological state wants me to do and to avoid doing.
3. Count the cost.
Jesus said that before any great undertaking it is wise and necessary to "count the cost." And he's right (of course), but in some surprising ways. We typically think of a failure to count the cost as leading to reckless behavior. But it also leads to entrenched inhibitions. Our inhibitions say to us "don't risk that. It will cost you too much." And what we need to learn to do is to push back against our inhibition and demand to know "exactly how much could it cost me?" With the inhibition regarding inviting people to church, for instance, we need to be able to ask ourselves, 'what is the worst case scenario here?'
Honestly, the worst case scenario (which is possible, but unlikely) is that the person you invite will respond angrily or derisively. And then ask yourself, 'Is that a cost I can afford?' The answer is likely 'yes.' Counting the cost is deflating to an inhibition.
4. Take yourself lightly.
It was G.K. Chesterton who famously said that "the reason angels can fly is because they take themselves so lightly."
The Psalmist says (paraphrasing) "when I think about all the mind-boggling stuff you've done (bio-luminescent fish, springs from deep places, the Aurora Borealis) I don't even know why you think about me, much less care for me!"
Most inhibitions have, at their root, a little, hidden self-importance. I don't want to risk inviting someone to church because I don't want to look ridiculous if they say no. But I am a flimsy bi-ped with a short life span who is deeply and strangely loved by the God of the universe. No botched social interaction could make me look more ridiculous than I actually am. Taking myself lightly renders my inhibitions impotent.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog