Well, I just got back into the office after doing a short radio interview with David Gray on the early morning CBC program “the EyeOpener.” I think it went well, both for me and for Jeff Jarvis from Friends Church.

The question David raised: What are churches doing around Christmas time to attract people and keep ’em coming?

My bottom line was this: We need to stop inviting people TO church, and start inviting people INTO church. You invite people to church, to an event, and they may come back, maybe not. But if you invite them into church, into your world, your cluster of friends, your home, and they’ll probably stick around because you care about them and not just their butts filling the pews. I believe true seekers aren’t looking for bright and shiny, they’re longing for deep and relational.

So praise God—I got to say what I said to thousands of listeners. I’ll leave the results in his court.

The woman who contacted me about the interview said the whole thing was going to last between five and seven minutes. Including the pre-amble, the banter, and the other guy talking. So I knew I only had maybe two minutes—tops—to say what I needed to say.

Which was what? At DCC we’re learning to invite people into church, not just to church.

Simple, right? It might sound like it, but I’ve taken years to hone that “elevator pitch.” What’s an elevator pitch? Imagine a wannabe movie maker with a cool idea bumping into Steven Spielberg in an elevator. She’s got him all to herself for maybe fifteen floors. He’s all ears. Go. But go quickly, because when the doors ding open, the window slams shut.

Seth Godin wrote in his blog a few days ago, “The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.” Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.” (I Peter 3:15). Sounds like an elevator pitch. So here are a few questions to ponder:

What are you about?

What’s your mission in life?

How would you describe your church?

What did Jesus come to do?

What does Jesus mean to you?

Important questions, holding even more important answers—so why is it that so few people take the time to think through and articulate them? Boiling the big stuff down to its bare essentials in our own words does two things: One, it forces us to ponder and reflect instead of drifting through life answering, “I dunno. What he said.” Second, it prepares us for moments like I faced on the radio, or like the regular opportunities God creates that don’t include several thousand people listening in.  The one with the lady at Wal Mart, the barista at Starbucks, the businessperson next to you on the red eye after a long week.

Practice your elevator pitch. In fact, why not do it here, by commenting on this question: What is your mission in life?