My wife and I were just not that “into” jewelry. Had nothing against jewelry. Just not interested. That is, until our Alaskan cruise. Due to masterful “discipleship” from several people, I am now a jewelry “believer.”
I marvel at how intentional and insightful these people are at paving the way for bringing people from no interest to jewelry purchase. I chatted with a pastor about this lately at my local hangout. We agreed that churches across the board generally don’t practice one-on-one discipleship. That we really just open the church doors and pray someone comes.
So if it is the job of church leaders to equip people for ministry, what are the steps for paving the way to bring people from no interest in the Jesus journey to being “souled” out for Jesus?
- Be convinced of people’s need for Jesus – no one comes to the Father but by Jesus.
- Be intentional about looking for people not connected to Jesus and his church.
- Hang out in places where it isn’t just Christians gathering and pray for God’s moving.
- Be friendly to the stranger; smile and start conversations.
- Like location in reality; the three most important discipleship points are listen, listen, listen.
- Resist the temptation of immediately sharing your similar stories; it’s about them not you.
- When they open the door, be ready to share how Jesus makes your life better.
- Don’t push, if this is just to be a friendship, celebrate that; we plant and water.
- But for any who seem willing, invite the person to an informal event at your church to allay fears and meet people.
- Invite the person to worship; pick them up, sit with them, informally introduce them.
- Evaluate together how things went; listen, listen, listen – no defensiveness.
- Invite the person to join you at a transformative small group and evaluate once more.
- Again, don’t push; be in conversation about interest in committing to the Jesus journey.
- Pray; obviously you’ve been praying without ceasing – including with the person.
Okay, this requires commitment on your part. (Saying 14 steps is daunting.) It’s time consuming and demands energy. Perhaps you need to clear a part of your current schedule and make new priorities. The instructions have always been: Go make disciples. To me, the operative word is “go.”
Got any comments or other thoughts on the path of making disciples? Looking for some resources? Check out The Effective Church Group’s Discipleship materials.
I mya benefit many parishioners if we would offer opportunities for learning how to actively listen. It just does not seem to come naturally to many of us in our churches.
Thanks for your comment, Sheila. We do so often forget to honor people by listening to where they’re at and impose our own desires on them. God’s blessings to you.
Scott and all,
MANY years ago (many!)I heard Bill Easum say something that has deeply stayed with me. I paraphrase: The issue for the church in the 21st Century will be how to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ without being a bigot.
In that context I would be uncomfortable with the first step the way it’s worded without further description of what it can mean. I realize many Christians wouldn’t have a problem with it at all and would wonder why any explanation would be necessary. Any thoughts?
Hi Gary, thanks for the comment. This blog is intended for people who identify themselves as Christians and called into making disciples. A lot of people, even those who worship regularly, buy into the cultural belief that most everyone is a “good” person and that “good” people get to go to heaven. As a result, people often don’t possess any urgency for faith sharing. Hence, the first line reminds people of the exclusive claims of Jesus and what’s at stake. It’s to be a motivating factor for the Christian. Obviously, you don’t befriend an unchurched person by saying, “Hey, you need Jesus or else!” That wouldn’t be loving or helpful. God’s blessings to you, Gary.