Boldly invite others to take their next step toward Jesus
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 everyone 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 4:21-26 & Acts 2:37-40
Provide some context to each passage and retell the stories in your own words.
- Compare/contrast the invitations in these passages.
- What did Jesus invite the woman to do? What did Peter invite his audience to do? And how did the various audiences respond? [Hint: Read John 4:39-40 & Acts 2:41]
- How can these examples help you as you engage friends on your Top 5 list?
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.
- 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 your church or a 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Invite them to trust in Jesus (This will be covered in INVITE – Lesson 2).
Consider your current ministry team or church 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.
5 Thresholds in an ISM context
ConversationArtCards.com (“Does God Exist?” and Other Hard Questions by Jane Fox)