Considering your friend’s threshold & next faith step

Goal

Boldly invite others to take their next step toward Jesus

Introduction

Often our evangelism only includes one invitation: “Would you like to pray to receive Christ?” Sometimes this question is the next best step for that person. But, sometimes, it’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date—most people need a few more steps in between “hello” and “I do.” We do want to give every international student an opportunity to place their faith in Christ.  Are there other invitations that can help make trusting Christ a more likely next step? Describe examples of ways you have invited friends to take their next step toward Jesus.

Bible Passage & Questions

John 4:4-26 

Retell the story in your own words.

  • How does Jesus begin to help the Samaritan woman draw closer to Him?
  • How does He respond to her objections and questions?

Consider & Discuss

Some people are ready to trust Christ as soon as they hear the gospel. Praise God! There is no reason to hesitate to invite them to trust Christ. But others—perhaps those from countries with very limited genuine Christian witness—may need more time. Many evangelists have recognized that people often take several smaller steps as they come to faith (e.g.,  Cojourners or I Once Was Lost). We can help people move forward and take their next step toward trusting Christ.  As ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) we boldly INVITE others to take their next step of faith.

  1. Invite them to join your community of disciples/believers (John 1:43-46).
    A skeptic or someone with little exposure to genuine Christ-followers may need to “come and see” (John 1:46) who Jesus is by joining a community of Christ-followers. There they will see what faith looks like when lived out and not just the stereotypes they have heard about or seen in movies. In addition, many cultures are more community-oriented and a willingness to enter into a community of Christian believers is a big step for them. Invite others into your community as you live life along with other believers. It could include an invitation to church or Bible study group but it doesn’t always require an activity or agenda. They’ll likely be watching to see what is different about you and your community.
  2. Invite them to read the Bible for themselves (Hebrews 4:12, Luke 24:27-32).
    The Bible powerfully influences those who read it. It has divine power to inform and convict.  It displays God’s power, wisdom, and compassion. Invite others to read and encounter Jesus in the Bible with you, in a small group, or at church. Provide a safe place to explore the Bible and ask questions without fear of being shamed or pressured.  
  3. Invite them to share their obstacles and pray for God to reveal himself (Psalm 34:8).
    People have reasons and obstacles that keep them from trusting in Jesus. Ask your friend what might be keeping them from faith. If they are not ready to commit to Jesus, invite them to pray a “seeker’s prayer, ‘God, please help me to know if you are real and that you love me.’” Spiritual warfare is real so prayer is crucial.
  4. Invite them to trust in Jesus (next lesson).

Consider your current team activities: What are the most effective avenues to invite non-believers into our community, into the Scriptures, and into prayer? Are there ways we can be more inviting?

Next Steps (Individually & Collectively)

Look at your “Top Five List” and write down an appropriate invitation that would encourage their next steps toward Jesus.

Additional Resources

5 Thresholds in an ISM context

Cojourners: Builder

ConversationArtCards.com (“Does God Exist?” and Other Hard Questions by Jane Fox)

Contact Us

Do you want to contact Bridges International on a specific campus? Find them here. Otherwise, send us your comment or question.