Join us! The power of an invitation

Kim Bloom

Staff member at Sun Valley Community Church

  • Evangelism

I grew up in church. My mom was a church preschool teacher, so we were there a lot. But I never had a personal relationship with God. Over time, my dad stopped going to church, and because there wasn’t a very good youth group, church didn't appeal to me, either. 

Church felt very stuffy and impersonal. I knew who Jesus was — I remember hearing about him — but to me Jesus was merely “this nice person.”

Throughout my life I've noticed something different about certain Christians who were around my family. Growing up, we had friends who really lived the Christian life. They went to church. They sang. They were involved with worship. 

I remember wanting to be like them, but I didn't understand what that meant. It wasn’t until I met and eventually married Jason, who was raised in a Christian household, that I started going to church again.

An invitation to a new life

We had been looking for a church when my brother Patrick and his wife invited us to theirs just down the street from them. They had been encouraging us to come check it out, but we blew off the idea for a while. 

We finally joined them at Harvest Community Church in Mesa, Arizona, on Easter Sunday, 2010. Harvest was donating a malaria kit to missions for each new guest who came that day. I thought, Oh, that’s really cool. Absolutely, I’ll be a new guest because that means someone is being helped. 

I knew Jason really wanted to find a church, and I didn’t have a problem attending because I wanted to be supportive of him. 

I don’t think the experience resonated with us that first Sunday, but we returned the next week and felt really comfortable. There was a community there. Looking back, I should have known if my brother — with the same upbringing as me — was comfortable at this church, I probably would be too. 

I remember the pastor greeting me by name, which seemed really weird. He was just a normal person, which was different from the pastors and leaders I remembered. This guy seemed really down-to-earth. 

That Sunday something clicked. I struggle with depression, and even though I had a job I loved, a caring and thoughtful husband and a great family, there was still a hole inside me. That Sunday, I realized what I was missing was God, and only he could fill that hole. 

I was never going to be satisfied with my life until he was at the center of it. That began my journey of understanding what it means to follow God and to have a personal relationship with him — a personal connection. 

Within a few months, we joined a small group led by the pastor. Probably more than anything, the group helped me understand what it means to follow Jesus, including giving and serving.

An unchanging gospel that changes everything else 

I started serving in the children’s ministry pretty early on. Over time, we began to start trusting God with our financial resources by tithing, with our time by serving and with our relationships by investing in people who could model for us how to grow as believers and be accountable for our actions. 

As I was getting to know the pastor those first few Sundays, I told him I was a social worker for a local hospital network. “One day, I’ll have a job for you,” he said. That’s really weird. You just met me, I thought. 

About three years later, he hired me part time to start a care and recovery ministry for Harvest. That role grew to include overseeing the church’s small group ministry and eventually to be a full-time administrative position. 

When Harvest merged with Sun Valley Community Church about two and a half years ago, I moved from the care ministry and began working with our weekend experience team. I love being part of worship and organizing and programing all the elements of a worship service. 

The team developed into a passion for me, although I wouldn’t have arrived at it on my own. God definitely led me. I’m now transitioning into a similar role within the children’s and student ministries.

If my brother had not invited us to church, I have no idea where my life would be, where my marriage would be or where my family would be. It changed the trajectory of my life.

Between Harvest and Sun Valley, I have worked in ministry for five years. If there's one thing I have learned, it’s this: The message of the gospel will never change, but ministry constantly evolves. 

Regardless of the situation or area in which I am involved, I’ve always tried to put enough trust in God to say, “You know what my skills are. I want you to show me what I need to do to use my abilities and ultimately help people meet, know and follow Jesus.”

If my brother had not invited us to church, I have no idea where my life would be, where my marriage would be or where my family would be. It changed the trajectory of my life. 

Because my brother invited us to church, I accepted Jesus. My children are growing up understanding how God loves them and what it means to follow Jesus. My brother’s invitation has transformed my family. 

When we started attending Harvest, my parents joined us because they wanted to be near my brother and me. My dad loves the church. He even attends without my mom when she can’t be there, and he is in a Bible study now. The fact that he even <i>has</i> a Bible and attends church is remarkable. 

It can be scary to think of asking someone who doesn't attend church to join you there, but you never know what that person needs in his or her life. You never know how much they need Jesus. 

Be bold and take the leap. Worst-case scenario? They don’t come. But maybe you planted a seed, like those people I had in my life growing up who invited me. They are going to remember you invited them to church. 

Don’t miss out on changing someone’s life. Somebody invited me, and it changed mine.

Kim Bloom, Staff member at Sun Valley Community Church

Kim Bloom is a staff member of Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert, Arizona.

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