In last weeks "Facts" we discussed four steps toward winning the lost: (1) Take little initiatives, (2) begin praying for them and responding to them, (3) serve them, and, (4) partner with others. Three more steps:+
#5 Converse the faith:
Our job is to promote the search for Christ and to capitalize on the losts curiosity. Notice how naturally evangelism transpired in this passage: "Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to JesusJesusfinding Philipsaid to him, follow me. Philip found Nathaniel and told him, We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of NazarethNazareth! Can anything good come from there? Nathaniel asked. Come and see, said Philip." (Jn. 1:40-42a,43,45a,46) No evidence here of a "canned" approach to evangelism. Just natural spontaneity!
#6 Guide them into the Scriptures:
As you cultivate acquaintances and develop new friends, you might consider trying this or a similar approach: "My wife and I have a custom of reading the Bible because we find that it helps us order our lives. We are not doing it right now, but we are going to start, and when we do, well let you know." Then change the subject before they have the opportunity of responding. Recognize the fact that generally people reject a new idea. Therefore, allow some time to pass (a few weeks or so), before again mentioning the idea that at some future date you and your wife will begin the Bible reading group. Again, change the subject. In time they may well go from rejecting the idea to tolerating it. And then to embracing it, and actually to anticipating your invitation. Their curiosity and sense of need can prove to be strong motivators.
When, in time you do meet for the "Bible reading" session, take a small portion of one of the Gospels say John 1:1-5 and ask "who", "what", "when", "why", and "how" type of questions. Questions that cannot be answered by a "yes" or "no." For example, "Who is the Word referring to in verse 1?" (defined in verse 14). "Who/what is the source of life?" (The answer is in verse 4) Etc., etc. The idea of the "Bible reading" sessions is to expose them to the Person of Christ in an unrushed, non-pressured environment of grace. Keep the meetings casual, non-religious, and relatively short (1 hour?). Avoid "God talk", or religious cliques, or a "churchy" environment. Rather than teaching or proclaiming the truth of the Scriptures, create an atmosphere where they can grapple with the word of God in discovering the truth for themselves. Observe Jesus as he interacts with the downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus, after the resurrection: "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himselfThen he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." The disciples response to Jesus teaching? "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Lk. 24:27b, 44,45, 32b)
#7 Mid-wife the new birth:
As you help people delve into the Scriptures, work through such passages as John 1:1-5; John 3:1-8; John 4 [perhaps divide this long section into two studies]; John 8:1-12; John 9 [perhaps divide into two studies]; John 9:1-21, etc., etc.) Dont choke them with too much material. Leave them hungry at the end of each session. View each exposure to the Bible as part of a process that transpires over an unrushed period of time. In all probability, somewhere along the line, without pressurizing them, they will either invite Christ into their lives, or ask you to help them cross the line to the new birth.
+Adapted from seed thoughts by Jim Peterson of the Navigators in a series of lectures, 01/02 in Malaysia