I didn't really start going to church until I was in high school. I had wanted to go for a long time, but I think I feared the same thing that most people fear about walking through the doors of a brand new church: you're fresh meat!
"Welcome, hon'! Are you saved??"
You're so very, very vulnerable. Everyone knows you're new, and everyone wants to check out the state of your salvation in the first five minutes. This can be intimidating even if you are pretty confidant in your faith; imagine how much more so if you're still exploring!
Now imagine that your invitation to this mind-numbingly-scary-for-most-people event is something like, "God hates you!" or, "You will burn in hell!" or, "You're unnatural!" Now that's an invitation! Why on earth would anyone take you up on that offer?
If someone invited me to a movie, a cup of coffee, or a museum by calling me names, demeaning me, alienating me, mocking me, and hating me, chances are really good that I would turn them down. And how mundane are these things compared to exploring your relationship with the Creator?
If one of our callings in the Christian faith is to bring folks into the fold, we really ought to consider our invitations. I can't think of a single place in the New Testament in which Christ opened the conversation with an unbeliever with such vitriol. He commanded us to love one another, and I suspect we'd get a lot further going that route.
Care for a cup of coffee?