Weaving the message of Jesus into our words and work:
VIII. When they say Yes to Him...
A. Make sure they know what to do IF THEY DON'T TELL YOU:
1. Give them a way to find resources
2. Set their expectations about the inevitable doubts
3. Make yourself available
4. Keep up with the crisis--continue to show love and care.
B. If they DO tell you:
1. Ask them to describe the process, and how they finally decided
2. Ask them if they know how to develop the relationship or how to "go forward from here". If you get a 'not really' answer (most of the time), suggest getting together for lunches twice a week for 3-4 weeks to go over some options they have, and that you personally have found of benefit in exploring the new relationship. Topics: How God would like the relationship to work, bible reading, quiet time, prayer, meeting mature Christians for encouragement, dealing with moral failures, special situations needing special help.
3. Give them a way to find resources.
4. Brief them on the inevitable doubts
5. Invite them to get together with you periodically for an update on their crisis situation
6. If you know a good book on the issue they are facing, now is the time to get it for them. Make sure they have a modern English bible (or whatever their native tongue is), and perhaps a contemporary paraphrase (e.g., the Message, the Living Bible, JB Phillips translation).
7. After a few weeks, and after the lunch visits have covered the basics, then invite them to a home bible study, or a dinner at your home with other Christian people. After they have become comfortable with Christian people, invite them to church or Sunday school. Or, if they already have some religious background, or are likely to appreciate the community setting of church, invite them early.
8. After 3-6 months, get them to reflect upon their experience. What were the challenges, what were the biggest incentives, what have been the biggest surprises of that period.
IX. The Big Picture -- Pulling it all together
A. The method is "showing" them Jesus:
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1)
B. The foundation is your experience of this Jesus:
A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28
C. The message is what you know (from Scripture and experience) about the character, purpose, and works of this Jesus:
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. (Acts 2.32)
but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3)
But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4)
D. Your manner is that of wisdom, grace, and gentleness:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace...(Col 4.5f)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (Jas 3.17)
E. Your credibility will be based on your honesty and non-manipulation:
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4)
F. Your impact will not be from including all the 'suggested elements', but from love!
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.