Preparing the soil

I’ve had the opportunity this summer to lead three people in prayer to ask Christ to be their Lord and Savior. These numbers won’t show up on my official United Methodist vitality statistics because they were not at the church I served. Two of them were not closely tied to churches at all. (I urged them in strong terms to find a church and get into a community of Christians.)

So here is the question.

How much “education” do you do before you lead someone to Christ?

In these cases, I talked with them about the story of salvation. God created us to be good, happy, and at peace. We are fallen. All of us fall short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ came to save us. By belief in him and by the power of his resurrection we can have new life. By the pouring out of the Holy Spirit we can have the assurance of our salvation. By working with the Holy Spirit we can be returned to that lost vision that God had for us in creation.

This, obviously, takes some time, but it is not like a full-on twelve-week catechism class.

So, I’m curious. What is your practice?

(In case you are interested, my training in the area has come not from other pastors or at seminary, but from this book by Eddie Fox and George Morris. William J. Abraham’s little book on evangelism has also been instructive to me.)

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9 thoughts on “Preparing the soil

  1. When asked whom to love, Jesus told of a traveler beaten and left for dead. Some saw him and made excuses for doing nothing. One stopped. He took what he had and did what he could. Jesus said that is who you love. And Jesus said that is how you love. That is the practice of all who follow Christ.

    You found people dead in their trespasses and sins. In love you shared with them that love which God had shed abroad in your heart. In grace God used your winsome witness. By his grace those who were dead in sin have been made alive in Christ Jesus! Praise God!

    Regrettably you could not provide follow-up discipleship. Sadly you will not likely know all that will follow from your encounter with the three persons with whom you shared the gospel. But happily others in the Church will be used of God to grow these new followers in Christ. There is not the slightest doubt that God will finish the work he has started in their lives, he will bring it to flourishing finish on that day when Christ appears. Like the eunuch who returned to Ethopia with a new born faith in Christ, may these new believers go on their way rejoicing as they grow in the grace and knowledge and love of Christ.

  2. When outside of the church, my approach in sharing the Gospel with another is generally in the same vein as what you described your experience to be. I think the only difference might be that I take the steps and time necessary to get them into a Gospel believing church. I’ve even traveled to other towns and cities and spent several Sundays helping them get “rooted” in. I’m not saying it is required by any means, but it is my personal conviction.

    I think BTomas provides a nice warm and comfortable idea, but it is not Biblical at all. I am reminded of the parable of the Sower that Jesus spoke. Not everyone gets rooted in unless He was just kidding. I do, however, believe that his thought can become a reality if everyone who is a Christian was sensitive and actively seeking to serve God every single day far fewer would fall through the cracks.

    1. I commend you, Duane, for your work for the kingdom. It does make me question my own decisions.

  3. For the past five years my wife and I have ministered to over 500 visiting scholars, graduate students and post-doc researchers from China. Most come as atheists at best, and many carry membership in the China Communist Party. God has miraculously drawn scores of them to salvation through faith in Jesus, complete with baptism and discipleship. This work has carried on in our home on Saturday evenings. We find no “cookie cutter” approach works, but simply following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives and then taking opportunity one-on-one to explain the grand plan of salvation and lead them in prayers of confession, repentance and belief. The resulting testimonies of God’s abundant grace at work in their lives, are stellar, to say the least. We rejoice with you John, over your taking advantage of every opportunity to follow the encouragement of JW, “You have nothing to do but to win souls.”

  4. John Meunier, you have just reminded us of the simplicity and beauty of the gospel story! Just reading that summary (“In these cases, I talked with them about the story of salvation. God created us to be good, happy, and at peace. We are fallen. All of us fall short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ came to save us. By belief in him and by the power of his resurrection we can have new life. By the pouring out of the Holy Spirit we can have the assurance of our salvation. By working with the Holy Spirit we can be returned to that lost vision that God had for us in creation.”) was joy to my heart. I was struck by the POWER of the telling. The old term for that is “conviction”…when the Holy Spirit works through the witness. WOW, do we need that now. Keep on, John…

  5. This highlights a problem with our accountability dashboards, doesn’t it? I found it sad that God was working in power and might when I was the pastor of a church that had voted to close. We had four adult converts in the last few months of the church’s life; but they didn’t count… One convert died within a week, two were members of the church’s AA group and told me they would join another church (since ours was closing), and one was baptized in our church and transferred his membership to another nearby church before we closed…

    It’s odd, I saw more conversions in that year than I saw in some of the LARGE, “vital” churches I served as an associate.

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