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Helping others to respond.

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So how do you do this?

Presuming you’ve shared your faith or explained Jesus to a person, it is OK to simply ask them if they would like to become a follower of Jesus/make a commitment to Christ, you know your language and wording better than me. Just be sure the wording isn’t about you but are the words most accessible and easily understood by the hearer. 

  • This moment is not the climax in a movie so don’t go getting dramatic or becoming a preacher possessed. You’d be amazed how many times I’ve heard people accents change when they talk about Jesus. It's like I’ve been transported into the God channel and you don’t ever want to do that to anyone. You’ve heard it here a thousand times about taking time to see and be seen, hear and be heard. Look beyond the immediate moment and hear God's promptings and leading. After all it's His story you are passing on. If you can do this in a conversation about faith, Jesus, helping the other person respond then the space this happens in will ALWAYS be marked by being safe, being significant and space you both belong in. If any of those three attributes are lost then you’ve also lost the integrity of the conversation itself. You may at that point impart the truth but it will be heard outside of relationship and therefore land like you are telling the person what to do rather than an invitation into a life beyond and a life deeper and a life better because God is in it. Short version. Seeing. Hearing and holding space marked by safety, significance and belonging. 

  • Speak like its you speaking (be you), don’t go into presentation mode, stay in conversation using words that overlap their life and the life of God. As in any good conversation, stop and check in to see if you are both on the same page. For example, you might say, I don’t know if what I’ve said so far makes sense but I’d love to know what you think? This means you are inviting response and engagement from the very beginning rather than a big ‘altar call’ at the end. 

  • If the responses as you go are all pointing to, ‘no, you are making me feel awkward, go away!’ Then I think you already have your response. By the way, those are not as common as you’d think. 

  • If the responses throughout the conversations range anywhere from, ‘I’m listening but I’m cautious’ to ‘this is interesting but I’m really uncertain’, then your invitation to respond might actually be, ‘thats been a lot and I’d love you to think about it, when suits you to meet up again and talk more’. Also in your mode of ‘seeing and hearing’ you discern that this person hasn’t really thought about this, it might be worth not proceeding to a response but getting them to go away and think about what you have been talking about.

  • If you reach the end of your conversation and they know they want to be a Christian you need to have worked out how to help them do that. You are now at the point of being a spiritual midwife. You explain and they do.

  • Acknowledge that this is an opportunity to respond. You could say something like, “Now that we’ve spoken and hopefully I’ve answered your questions, would you now like to ask Jesus into you life (or the version that is in your words and they understand)? I can take you through how to do that but only if you feel ready to do that.’

  • Leading the person in a decision is the last step. You are not doing this for them but you are coaching them through the steps. You’ll already have explained what the response is, so then you can either pray and ask them to repeat each line after you or you can (my normal way) ask them what do they think would be in that prayer. This means I get to hear in their own words if they really understand what is happening. If not then I (and you) need to return to explaining whatever is missing, for example forgiveness. Presuming I don’t need to do that, I listen and then I ask them to say it again but this time to speak not to me but Jesus, to say Dear Jesus and then say what they just said. This means they are doing all the work. They cannot attribute it to you but to God and to themselves. It means they now know how to pray and in words that are natural to them. If they are not ready to make that decision just yet then help them identify why. It might be a question like “This is your decision to make — is there anything standing in your way from doing that?” Asking a question like this can lead to more dialogue. Perhaps there are things standing in a person’s way from giving his or her life to Christ. If there are, deal with them right then and there and then re-ask the question, “Now would you like to give you life to Jesus?”

  • Asking is almost always better than never asking at all. Asking the question and expecting a response is the right thing to do, particularly if you’ve already shared the gospel. Take the risk to ask for a decision, even from people you think are very far from God. You will often be surprised at what will come out of just asking!

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