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How People Come to Christ

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Brothers and sisters,

I am confident that we all are hoping and planning so we can share the good news this Christmas season. It’s part of being a follower of Christ.

I was helped by a discussion on evangelism at the micro-conference on “Creating a Culture of Evangelism” this past week to consider all the different ways God is working in us and through us to be light and salt in our world. Perhaps you are doing a better job at sharing the gospel with others than you think. Or perhaps you could be a bit more intentional in this area.

The book I Once was Lost was referenced at the conference. It talks about steps or thresholds that people cross in coming to faith in Christ. Maybe (like the thief on the cross) this appears to happen quickly, and maybe it takes a lot of time. As I thought through these thresholds, I could see how God is at work in my context and it caused me to rejoice. A few people recently saved here involved many people sharing friendship and kindness and the gospel repeatedly over more than a year.

The authors minister to postmodern skeptics and have seen more than 2,000 come to faith in Christ. This book is based on their listening to those who have come to Christ and asking what their journey looked like. Here are the five thresholds (along with a quote from the book) they identified and share with us so we can proceed with sensitivity and wisdom, partnering with God in His work of salvation.

The first threshold is simply learning to trust a Christian. There’s no point in trying to convince this individual to step across the line or even getting into a Bible study. Job one is to give your friend reasons to trust you.

Trust between two people is so valuable and precious that it should never be taken for granted…What most of our friends [whom we led to Christ] have told us is that the process of coming to faith really gained traction for them once they started to significantly trust a Christian.

The second threshold is moving from complacent to curious.

Before crossing this threshold, our lost friends may seem apathetic to us, but to them it might feel more like contentment…. Curiosity tends to blossom over time.

• The third threshold is moving from being closed to change in their lives to being open to change.

 … becoming open to change is much harder than it may seem on the surface.  It is actually a heroic, mysterious, deep thing…Many of our friends told us how they danced back and forth between wanting change and being terrified and strongly opposed to change.

• The fourth threshold is going from meandering to seeking.

This is part of how you tell the difference between a ‘phantom seeker’ and a true spiritual seeker.  Phantom seekers do lots of the same things that seekers do: they ask questions, discuss issues, even attend a Bible study or event.  But their posture lacks urgency…They may be using questions as away to deflect conversation from something deeper and, perhaps, more vulnerable for them.

• The fifth threshold is a step of faith into the kingdom of God itself.

… a truly open-ended, pressure-free process…isn’t as helpful here at threshold five.  Letting people just slide casually and vaguely across the line sounds very postmodern-sensitive, but with such a laissez-faire approach we keep people from knowing that there is even a line to cross.

Alright, lets get to work in the “work of evangelism," delightedly watching as God gives the increase.

Andrew