We are an evangelistic organization. We know God has called us to give everyone an opportunity to say “Yes!” to Jesus.
We know that we need not be “…ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16, NIV
That said, we still need to grow in our awareness of cultural forces active on those with whom we seek to share Christ, as well as some of the internal processes at play in their hearts toward the gospel.
A few years ago, our team read the book, I Once was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. I have mentioned the book in these tips before and continue to recommend it.
The authors talk about five thresholds a non-believer must cross before placing their trust in Christ.
- Trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust.
- Becoming curious. Moving from complacent to curious.
- Opening Up to Change. Moving from being closed to change to openness.
- Seeking After God. Moving from meandering to seeking.
- And Entering the Kingdom. Actually crossing into the Kingdom itself.
Each threshold has specific faith issues the non-believer must have satisfied and there are ways for us as believers to come alongside them in their journey.
Every person is different. You might be able to build trust within moments of initiating a conversation with some and with others it could take years. You can do the very best job presenting the gospel, but if they are not curious, or open to change, or even seeking God, they might only be smiling politely. That does not mean we don’t share, but, rather, we seek to understand where they are on their spiritual journey.
The Holy Spirit will give us discernment as we share. He can also use our words to bear fruit later. Just because someone has not crossed some of the earlier thresholds in their journey, does not mean we should not share.
I remember observing someone training me in evangelism as a student at Penn State saying, “You may not be ready now, but there may come a day when you will want to place your faith in Jesus and I want you to know how to do that.”
Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is not like busting down doors, but the tender care of a doctor skillfully bringing life back to a dying patient.
Previous tips about I Once Was Lost.
- When I was first introduced to the book.
- A tip about building trust in evangelism.
- Another on provoking curiosity.