Discipleship 101

“ . . . go and make disciples . . . “  Matthew 28:19

Years ago I served in our church’s evangelism efforts.  The way it worked was simple.  Any attendee to a worship service who wanted to learn more about salvation could request a personal visit from someone who could explain it to them.  Just a handful participated in this outreach.  We visited by invitation only at a time selected by the requestor.  We didn’t make a sales pitch for our particular church.  Our sole objective was to lead people to Jesus Christ.  That’s all.  

Initially when I started doing this, I felt a little nervous.  As explained in a previous Daily Devotional, sharing Jesus with your children and grandchildren is a great way to start developing one’s evangelism skills.  However, to grow as a mature Christian and fulfill Jesus’s directive to make disciples, you need to up your game by talking with adults who are unbelievers, who are hurting, who can ask tough questions, etc.  Believe me:  you will learn a ton about people that you never imagined.  With more practice you’ll be able to respond to all kinds of situations and become more comfortable in sharing the gospel.  

I’d start out with making small talk–complimenting their home, asking about their family, work, interests, etc.  This approach helps both parties become comfortable with each other.  I’d follow by sharing my own testimony of how I came to know Jesus as the Christ.  My personal story would lead to THE question:  “Are you confident that you’ll go to Heaven one day?”  This is where the rubber hits the road.  

Their answers would open up the real discussion.  I learned that people have an incredible range of beliefs that aren’t biblical.  Some believe in heaven but not hell.  Some think that Jesus is one path but not the only path to heaven.  Some think Jesus is a fictional character.  The list continues on and on.  

One opinion emerged time and again–so often that it surprised me.  They would say something like, “I sure hope so.  I think I’m a good person and maybe good enough to get in.”  In my experience of witnessing to unbelievers searching for the truth, I’ve heard this response probably 95%+ of the time.  

Of course, I’d follow-up with the complete story, explaining why goodness doesn’t get it, and only by the redemptive grace afforded by Jesus Christ can one be saved.  You can’t imagine how eye-opening the explanation proved to be for many people.  It was different from anything they had believed previously.  Some people would accept Jesus as their savior on the spot, and others would politely state that they’d reflect on what I had taught them.  I hope to meet everyone of them in heaven one day.  

How can you become more effective in reaching others for Jesus?  What ideas from my experience might you use?  

Prayer:  Teach us, Lord, how to reach others for You.  In Jesus’s name.  Amen.

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