October 2018 Blog Theme: Overcoming Evangelism Challenges
When a person is not ready to trust Christ, don’t stop there.
“I’m just not ready yet.” My friend had been wrestling with Jesus for some time. He grew up in a religious home but didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. Now, after spending time attending our church, he was hearing the Gospel for the first time.
He said, “I’ve come a long way. I know I’m a sinner. I know I need Jesus. But I don’t know if I’m ready to make the decision.”
Over the years, I’ve noticed that many people come to this place where the Spirit is working on them, but they are stuck in indecision. Sometimes, they aren’t ready to make a decision because they know things will have to change in their lives. Other times, they are hesitant to follow Christ because they know their family and friends will not welcome their decision.
Whatever the reason, many people find themselves stuck, not quite ready to follow Jesus. If you are sharing with a friend like this, you can be stuck too. Think of this like a stoplight. If someone gives you a “red light” and tells you they don’t want Jesus, then you stop sharing with them (Mark 6.11 ESV). If a person gives you a “green light” and says, “Yes, I want Christ,” then you help them pray to receive Christ.
But what do you do when a person gives you a “yellow light” and says, “Maybe, but not now”? How should you respond then? The key is to keep the conversation going and help him or her continue to explore Jesus.
You might say, “I understand that you aren’t sure about following Jesus right now. It’s a big decision, and I’m glad you are taking this seriously. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you do with Jesus. Either you are going to follow Him, or you are going to reject Him.”
This is an excerpt from the book Reach Your World by Craig Etheredge, which you can purchase here.
Continue by saying: “Since it all comes down to Jesus, it would be important to take some time to really explore who Jesus is. Some of the most brilliant scholars in history have taken time to study Jesus, but most people don’t feel like they have the time or the ability to sit down with a Bible and learn everything they need to know about Him. I have a small booklet called the “Explore Study,” and there are some things in it I think will really help you. First, you will find a copy of the Gospel of John. John was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, and some say he was Jesus’ best friend. John gives a firsthand account of what he experienced as he followed Jesus. After the “Explore” reading each day, there are a few questions about Jesus from the passage that will help you gain understanding to the questions that people have about Jesus. Would you be willing to invest the next 21 days to discover more about Jesus?”
What people need when they are stuck at a “yellow light” is regular exposure to God’s Word and thoughtful answers to their questions. The more they read the Scripture, the more the power of God will begin to work on their hearts (Isaiah 55.10-11; Hebrews 4.12 ESV). The more they hear solid answers to their questions, the more roadblocks are removed that are keeping them from following Jesus.
If the person is open to going through the “Explore Study” with you, then he or she is still actively seeking. If they decline to meet with you, then they are really giving you a “red light,” but they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Either way, with this offer, you are helping them move from indecision to a decision.
Keep in mind, the Holy Spirit is at work in it all. As the Spirit prompts them to keep exploring, then you can keep walking with them. But if the Spirit is not moving them to explore Jesus more thoroughly, then it would be pointless to try to force them to do what the Spirit is not leading them to do. Ultimately, the Spirit is the one who does the work of drawing each person to Christ (John 6.44, 14.16-17, 15.26, 16.8-11, 16.14 ESV).
My friend didn’t come to Christ that day, but he kept coming to church. He got into a small group and started reading the Bible, and finding answers to his questions. About a year later, he prayed to receive Christ, and he is actively telling people about Jesus today.
Written by Craig Etheredge
This blog is an excerpt that comes from our book Reach Your World, which you can purchase here.