Decision Continuum

How to Help People Consider the Gospel

Many Christians find their primary calling - to win the lost - the most challenging area of their lives. One of the reasons is unwillingness to be unpopular.Often, however, Christians simply find it hard to figure out what a friend or family member needs to be able to take the gospel seriously.

Who are you trying to reach out to?StageGoalStrategy
 No Awareness
  • they know you but they do not know what you believe
  • their relationship with you may be distant or you may have avoided letting them know about your faith
Develop a warm relationship & expose them to your beliefs
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • If the relationsihp is cool, warm it up.2
  • In the course of spending time with them use your gifts, empowered by the Spirit, to serve them. Be ready with your testimony because they will either misinterpret your actions or they will directly ask why you are serving them.3
 Awareness
  • they know, at least, that religion is important to you
  • they may have met some of your Christian friends
  • their understanding of your beliefs is somewhat limited
Further show them the body of Christ
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Invite them to a seeker-sensitive or social event
  • Ask them about their spiritual beliefs
  • Periodically, state what your beliefs are.
 Hostility
  • they make negative comments
  • they show dislike for you
  • they say no to all or most of your questions
Disarm & Win Trust
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Be patient
  • Ask lots of questions... find areas of agreement where you can. 
  • Don't react or argue
  • Listen & relate
  • Occasionally, you should challenge them to fairly investigate their areas of disagreement. "Part of your hostility is right on but part of it is not... how about reading more on this?"
 Indifference
  • they do not ask questions
  • they do not initiate or join in
  • they are preoccupied with other things
Polarize them.
Stimulate their interest.
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Stimulate with serious talk
  • Ask for their views
  • Share common misconceptions
  • Talk with them about their indifference, "you seem..... How are you feeling about....."
 Curiousity
  • they ask serious questions
  • they are willing to talk more
  • they like being around you
Increase their interest.
Expose them to the Bible.
Answer questions and misconceptions.
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Offer books, tapes, papers
  • Suggest they read John
  • Invite them to Bible study
 Active Interest
  • they ask personal questions
  • they are positive toward Christians
  • they are interested in your opinions
Make the gospel clear and applicable.
Keep them exposed to the witness of the body.
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Get them around Christians regularly
  • Instruct them from the Bible
  • Make sure your Bible studies focus on personal application
 Excitement => Decision
  • they agree with Christianity
  • they pray & read the Bible
  • they know they need Christ
They must decide for Christ.
  • Pray, pray, pray; especially with them because it builds the relationship, breaks down the dissonance and the Spirit ministers to both of you at that time.
  • Clarify for them the gospel and how to receive Christ.
  • Encourage them to pray.
  • Keep them focused on this important issue.
 Dissonance
  • some regression
  • loss of some earlier interest
  • they seem agitated or preoccupied
  • they start missing fellowship opportunities
They must decide for Christ.
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Forewarn them of this right after their conversion
  • Instruct about spiritual warfare
  • Go through apologetics
  • Reassure them
  1. Lots of scripture devotes itself to taking your significance from your status with God and the importance of not letting yourself be driven by fear of people... about the importance of serving God's goals. It might be necessary for you to devote some time to learning and meditating on such scripture. Ponder the challenge of William Carey, "Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God." This is not something you are doing on your own, this is God's business and He is very committed to its success.
  2. Invite them to dinner or invite them to join you for family outings. Some very fruitful evangelists make it a habit to incorporate their friends into many aspects of their lives - many, many brief periods of time spent doing all sorts of things that you are already doing (e.g. meals, shopping, functional tasks of various sorts, kid sport events; any one of these things may only last for an hour or so).
  3. At any point along the way or several points along the way it may be important for you to say, "I think you need to investigate God because He has some important things for you to consider."