Leading someone to discover Jesus Christ is a responsibility shared by all Christians (1 Peter 2:9). There can certainly be many challenges, and one of the most common issues encountered is simply not being prepared with a strategy. There has been much ink devoted to this particular subject. In this section, I offer merely one of many helpful ways to lead someone to discover faith in Christ. Undoubtedly there are other fantastic resources out there, but here is an attempt to help clarify the process with specific action steps.
Perhaps you are a skeptic of Christianity and have stumbled upon this, and I want to take an opportunity to share how glad I am that you did! This is the greatest story ever told, and I hope you discover the beauty and majesty of the gospel.
Skeptic to Seeker
Initially, as we seek to lead others to discover their lostness and need for salvation from sin, we first must have some discoveries of our own. The ideal starting point is with an understanding of whether we are dealing with a sold-out skeptic or a seeker. We must be careful to understand these are not biblical distinctions, as the Bible simply defines those apart from Christ as sinners dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). However, these are helpful categories based on experience that can help clarify the discovery steps.
We’ve all experienced skeptics, and we are good to remember God’s heart is not lost on them and that nobody is beyond His mercy and grace. Conversations will reveal hard-hearted stubbornness that appears so deeply engrained that will often result in hopelessness. There will likely be agreement that there are infinite problems in the world, but the common ground will often end there. The skeptic refuses to see themselves as a part of the blame. Society, environmental issues, family and friends, and an endless list of others are all to blame for all the issues they face.
A good goal to help lead a skeptic to seek faith-based conversations is to guide them to admit that they are just as much a contributor to the brokenness as anyone else. We are all broken people, hopelessly sinful, and in need of outside help to mend our issues. Help skeptics to see the need for something transcendent in life that can make those problems aright in all the areas that sin has tarnished irreparably apart from the grace of God.
Action Plan – Skeptics
1. Pray often for them that their stubbornness and hardness of heart will melt and begin seeking answers.
2. Ask the Lord for opportunities to share your testimony and God’s love towards them.
3. Go out of your way to serve and demonstrate Christ-like generosity that is unconditional.
4. Share the gospel whenever the opportunity presents itself, and hope for a heart change but expect to be rejected.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NIV
Seeker to Believer
As the soil continues to be tilled up in someone’s heart, and as God is faithful to answer prayer, you will experience this individual seeking more. Seeking answers doesn’t inevitably make one a believer, but it is a necessary starting line from which every believer begins. The hardness of the heart begins to reshape with openness, and stubbornness gives way to listening ears. Conversations are not shut down so often or as quickly, and there is a subtle but genuine curiosity to know what is the source of the hope within (1 Peter 3:15). Most of all, a sense of spiritual need will eclipse the heart of independence that once was content in selfish delusion.
When you begin seeing these characteristics, praise God for this special moment. Persevere and be intentional to take steps towards communicating the gospel clearly, and with a call to follow Christ and turn from sinful rebellion.
The best approach at this point is to invite them to join you either to “break bread” in your home or at a coffee shop. Be intentional to bring a Bible along with you, as well as supplemental material as needed.
Action Plan – Seekers
1. Ask them to join you for coffee or dinner, and don’t be afraid to share your intentions for spiritual conversation.
2. Pray for clarity of presenting your testimony and the good news of Christ, and for the Holy Spirit’s intervention (John 3:8).
3. Share the gospel message and invite questions and discussion about the person and work of Jesus Christ.
4. Invite them to turn from sin to Christ, to pray for forgiveness of their sins, and to follow Him.
5. Follow up is crucial and too often ignored. If they weren’t ready to take next steps, don’t give up and perservere. If they did follow the steps laid out above with you, then invite them to your church to join other believers in living out their faith in community. This would naturally begin with baptism, and some further discussion about that will be essential.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV