“The Essentials for Leading a Person to Christ"

Last Updated Thursday, May 28, 2015

(Used by permission from World Evangelism, World Methodist Council)

  1.  What does it mean to share Christian faith with others?

 Sharing Christian faith means spreading the good news of the kingdom of God by word, deed, and sign through the power of the Holy Spirit, and then waiting and watching in respectful humility and working in expectant hope.
 
Mark 1:15
Luke 9:1-2
Romans 15:18-19
 
  1.  Who is responsible for sharing faith with others?

 Each Christian is called to be a witness to Christ in the particular situation in which he or she lives.  Each disciple of Jesus Christ is called to declare the wonderful deeds of God.
 
1 Peter 2:9-10
 
  1.  What are the primary concerns in effective witnessing?

 
Most persons become disciples of Christ because of the testimony, deeds, and encouragement of someone they trust.  Therefore, two primary concerns of the faith-sharer are: (1) knowing and experiencing the basics and (2) building a relationship of trust with the other person.

 
  1.  What are some essential principles that guide us in witnessing?

 
  1. The person witnessing must be clear regarding his or her purpose.  Our initial responsibility is to love the other person even as we have loved by God.  Our ultimate purpose is to share the gospel, to offer Christ out of love for the person and in obedience to the command of Christ. 
     
  2. Faith-sharing must be grounded in prayer.
    • To pray for someone is to love deeply the other person.
    • When we talk to God about persons, we will talk with persons about God.
       
  3. In sharing faith, listening opens the door to speaking.  Listening to God is an essential in prayer, and listening to others is a requirement in witnessing.  Testimony begins not in our speaking, but in our hearing.  Genuinely loving and caring for others and hearing their story precedes our telling our faith story.  The faith-sharer prays, “O Lord, make me a good listener.”
     
  4. The witness takes both the person and the person’s environment seriously.  Faith-sharing always begins by genuinely caring for the person and, as much as possible, entering into the person’s situation.  This is precisely what Jesus did.  He spoke to people in their language and with their symbols.  He spoke of salt, soil, seeds, flowers, birds, foxes, shepherds and sheep, bread and wine.  Jesus took seriously each person and used language appropriate to the individual and to the individual’s situation.  To fishermen, he said “Follow me and I make you fish for people” (Mark 1:17); to the woman at the well.  “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty” (see John 4:7-15).  In witnessing, an essential principle is to start where the other person is in his or her experience.
     
  5. In faith-sharing, it is better for the witness to make invitational statements rather than to ask questions.  An invitational statement is an expression of fact or an observation that has the see of a question within it.  Although sometimes questions are helpful, they can build resistance in the other person if they are perceived as “nosey” or “pushy.”  For example, it is better to say, “It is difficult to be separated from loved ones.” Than to ask, “Are you lonely?”  This is an observation that invites the other person to respond.  Trust develops as the witness is invited into the other person’s life.  Our purpose is to develop a relationship of trust in which we can genuinely share faith.  It is better to ask questions after statements of personal testimony than before them.  This method is illustrated by Paul when he gives testimony and bears witness before King Agrippa (Acts 26:2-32).  This method is rooted in the God of grace, who acts in graciousness toward God’s creation first and invites persons to respond in faith and love.
     
  6. To do the mission of Christ, one must have the mind of Christ.  “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
     
  7. In sharing a testimony, it is better to expose our vulnerability than to pretend invulnerability.  We do not have to pose as authorities on religion.  It is okay to say, “I don’t know.”  We need to listen with passion and not become argumentative.  God is far more interested in our availability than in our ability.  We do not trust the method, but the power of the Holy Spirit to use our honest sharing of faith.
     
  8. In faith-sharing we do not tell people why or what they should believe; we share why and what we believe.  Especially, we share the One in whom we trust.
     
  9. A witness refrains from being judgmental, accusative, or defensive.  A witness tells what he or she has seen, knows, or has experienced.  In faith-sharing, one is committed to sharing the good news of Christ with others.
     
  10. Witnessing is most effective when it is done in the first person.  It is better to make “I” statements than “You” statements.  That is, one does not say “You ought” or You should…”Instead, say “for me,” or “In Christ, I have…” or “With Jesus, I know….”  
Note:  For further details and skills in these principles, read the Faith-Sharing text and view the Faith-Sharing video by Fox and Morris.
 
  1.  What are some important points in giving a personal testimony?

  • what Jesus Christ means to me
  • what my life was like before accepting Jesus Christ
  • how I became aware that I needed Christ and how Christ meets my basic needs
  • who influenced me most to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior
  • how I came to trust Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior
  • how I discovered ways of serving in the name of Jesus in the world
 
  1.  What is a graceful pattern of inviting a person to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

As the Holy Spirit works in the life of the witness and also in the life of the other person, it is necessary for the person witnessing to be always alert to the opportunity to offer Christ, to share the good news, and to invite the other person to respond.  The following is a graceful pattern for sharing the good news and assisting persons in receiving Christ.
 
The graceful pattern involves:

G =  

God’s Grace in Christ Jesus for All
God’s Grace in Creation
God’s Grace in Redemption
God’s Grace in Hope and Eternity

 Helping a person become aware of God’s grace for all people and God’s continuing desire for a relationship of wholeness with humanity and creation is a significant step toward establishing a relationship with God.
 
Helping a person discover that God’s grace is for all (even for me) is a major step toward “being saved.”
 
Matthew 11:28-30
Luke 15
John 3:16-17
Acts 10:36-43
Romans 5:6-8
2 Corinthians 5:17
Ephesians 2:4-10
 
(Note: See “Basics” also in this toolbox, questions 9 and 10.) 

R =    

Recognizing and Repenting of Sin
Receiving Salvation in Christ
Responding in Trust
Reconciling Grace, Being Put Right with God through the Atoning Blood of Jesus Christ

 
Helping persons to discover the reality of sin and its resulting bondage is an important step toward repenting or turning away from sin.  It is from a profound sense of need that people cry out to the God of grace.  Our basic alienation is the result of endeavoring to live with God. The tragedy is that we have not become what God in creation intended us to be.  Wesleyan Christians believe that the image of God was damaged, defiled, distorted and disfigured because of sin – but not totally destroyed.  A significant step to responding in trust is the realization of one’s sin and the subsequent repenting of that sin.
 
Psalm 51
Mark 1:15
Romans 3:9-18, 23; 4:4-5; 6:23; 7:18, 24
Ephesians 2:8-9
Titus 3:5
James 4:1-3
 
(Note: see “Basics” also in this toolbox, questions 7 and 8.)
 

A =

Accepting God’s Forgiveness
Acknowledging Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior
Assurance through the Witness of the Holy Spirit
Awareness of the Continuing Grace of God

 
Helping person come to accept God’s forgiveness is a key part of the process of being saved.  Through Christ the grace of God is accessible to all.  Indeed, the heart of the gospel is:
 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (John 3:16).
 
The work of the atonement, made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is for the whole world.  Through acceptance of this grace, we can know forgiveness of sin and experience the restoration of the image of God in our lives.
 
Matthew 26; 28
Acts 4:14; 16:29-31
Romans 5:1, 8; 8:31-39
2 Corinthians 5:14-18; 8:9
Colossians 2:11-15
Philippians 2:5-11
James 2:14-26
I Peter 2:24; 3:18
I John 2:1-2
 
(Note: See “Basics” also in this toolbox, Questions 4 and 5.)
 
Closely related to helping the seeker take this step of acceptance is helping the seeker to experience the assurance of being in a right relationship with God.  Here the Holy Spirit bears witness with the human heart that we are forgiven.  Through the Spirit, love lives in our hearts and is reflected in our lives.  Through the witness of the Holy Spirit, we can know that we are accepted by God.  The sources of Christian assurance are rooted in these scriptures:

The witness of God’s Word: 
John 5:24; 6:37
Romans 10:9-10
Colossians 1:21-23b
I John 1:9
 
The witness of the Holy Spirit:
Romans 8:14-16
2 Corinthians 1:22
Galatians 4:6
I John 3:24
 
The witness of the human heart:
2 Timothy 1:12
I John 3:18-19
 
In Christ, we can know the forgiveness of sin, and we are given the power to live a victorious life.  Through the Spirit, love reigns in our hearts and is reflected in our lives.  Through the witness of the Holy Spirit, we can know that we are accepted by God.
 
John 10:27-30
Romans 8:14-17, 31-39
Galatians 5:19-23
2 Timothy 2:11-13
Hebrews 10:23-25
I John 1:5-2:6
 
(Note: See “Basics” also in this toolbox,  question 19.)
 

C =

Confessing Faith in Christ Jesus
Committing in Trust to Christ Jesus
Commencing the Way of Christ
Continuing the Walk with Christ

 In order to appropriate the benefits of Christ’s atoning work in grace, the faith-sharer helps each person by faith to confess Christ Jesus as Lord and personal Savior.  Although God’s saving grace is intended for all, it is not irresistible.  We are created in the image of God with freedom of choice, and God will not violate our nature, even to save us.  We cannot redeem ourselves, but neither can we be saved with ourselves.  God alone is the giver of grace and salvation, and by the grace of God we may choose to accept the gift of salvation, or we may refuse to accept the gift when it is offered.  The faith-sharer helps a seeker confess faith in Christ.  We seek to help persons put trust in Christ (John 3:6) and receive him (John 1:12).
 
There comes a time in the faith-sharing process when the seeker is invited to say yes to invitation of Christ.  Here is an example of a thanksgiving prayer that a faith-sharer may lead a seeker to pray in confessing faith in Jesus Christ:
 
Dear God, I thank you that you know me and love me.  I have sinned.  I have tried to live by my own strength.  I have not followed your will for me.  Thank you deeply that while I was still a sinner Christ Jesus died for me. By your grace I repent and turn from my sin, and by your grace I accept your forgiveness.  By your grace, I confess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, enable me to live a faithful life in your kingdom.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 
Luke 15:17-20
Romans 10:9
Philippians 2:11
2 Timothy 1:12
1 John 4:15
Revelation 3:20
 
(Note: See “Basics,” question 13)
 

E =

Entering into the Reign of God
Entering into the Fellowship of the Church
Entering the Way of the Grace-filled Life
Entering into the Mission of God

 
The faith-sharer yearns to enable the seek to both see and enter the reign of God.  The witness encourages and assists the seeker in the process of entering the community of faith.
 
When we receive Jesus Christ, we become the children of God and brothers and sisters of one        another.  Christian fellowship or community is not an option, but a necessity for discipleship.  The church is a channel for the grace of God through worship, sacraments, fellowship, prayer, study, service, and witness.
 
Matthew 16:13-20; 26:26-30
L:uke 22:14-23
John 3:1-16
Acts 1:6-8
Romans 1:6
(Corinthians 1:9; 11:17-26, 12:12-31
Ephesians 4:7-16
 
(Note: See “Basics,” questions 21 and 22.)
 

  1.  What are the key steps in this Process of being saved by grace through faith?

God’s grace in Christ Jesus
Recognizing and repenting of sin
Accepting God’s forgiveness
Confessing faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior
Entering into the reign of God and the church

The witness helps the seeker to see that he or she can enter into this new relationship with Christ now.  If the seeker is not ready to say yes, the faith-sharer indicates his or her understanding and love, and assures the seeker that God will continue seeking.  If the person is ready to accept the invitation, there is nothing more appropriate than prayer.
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8a)
 

  1.  What are some helpful examples of prayers that may be used in the faith-sharing process?

The following is an example of a prayer that the faith-sharer may pray with a seeker who is ready to accept the invitation of Christ.
 
Dear God, we thank you for the gift of your love in Jesus Christ.  We praise you for taking the initiative and reaching out to us through Jesus Christ.  We are grateful that you loved the world so much that you gave your only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  We praise you for making it possible for us to have our relationship with you restored.  We are grateful that, through the death of your Son, you have dealt with the problem of sin, which spoiled your image in us and our relationship with you.  We thank you for offering us the gifts of forgiveness and new life.
 
Dear God we are especially grateful that you have brought our (brother/sister) to this moment of commitment and decision.  Surely your goodness and mercy have followed (him/her), revealing your love in a very special way.  We praise you.  We adore you.  We give you thanks that you have brought (person’s name) to this moment of confession and surrender.  We know that your Holy Spirt will make (person’s name) become the kind of person that you want (him/her) to be.  We thank you for your undeserved grace, and we know that you will enable (person’s name) to continue to grow in (his/her) love for you and care and concern for others.
 
Now, we pray that you will help (person’s name) to understand that the Christian life is a partnership.  We praise you that we are not expected to struggle in our own strength and power.  We praise you for the gift of your Holy Spirt, which brings us new power to live every day.  We also praise you for the gift of other Christian sisters and brothers and for the support they give us in our Christian journey.  Now, we pray that (person’s name) will open (his/her) heart and invite you to take charge of (his/her) life.
 
At this point it is helpful to take the person by the hand (depending on the leadership of the Holy Spirit, you might lay hands upon his or her head) and pray the following prayer based on Ephesians 3:14-19:
 
(Person’s name), may the living God strengthen you through the Holy Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith and that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
 

  1.  What additional counsel is given to the faith-sharer?

  • Remember that the Holy Spirit, through prevenient grace, prepares the seeker to receive the gospel in his or her own heart.
     
  • Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you in a life and witness that conform to the mind and character of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).
     
  • Study the Holy Bible for a lifetime.
     
  • .Regularly worship and receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
     
  • Pray and fast. Pray and fast. Pray and fast.
     
  • Invite the seeker to pray for you, the faith-sharer.
 
  1.  What is an important prayer for the faith-sharer to pray continually?

 Lord, may I be a faithful witness in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen
 

  1.   What is an encouraging word from the Holy Scriptures for faith-sharers? 

“I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ” (Philemon 6).

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