Sometimes Jesus has you in the right place at the right time. Sometimes he lets you be in the delivery room, like recently at one of our Newcomers Dessert nights. A lady had expressed on her connect card that she wanted to be baptized. She inquired that night as well, and I asked if we could talk afterward.
It May Take Only a Short Time
After hearing her story and listening to her say, “I feel like God has been drawing me to Jesus,” I simply explained the process of salvation (dead in sin, regenerated by the Spirit, justified through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, adopted into the family of God). Then I asked her where she thought she was in that process.
“Somewhere between regenerated and justified, I think.”
“Well, would you like to take the next step in that process and ask God to forgive you and save you?”
“Yes, I would.”
“Alright. Tell God just that.”
And she did. Right there on our couch with conversations going on all around. Now, I don’t know how long God had been drawing her, but this was only my second conversation with her. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long. On the other hand…
It May Take a Long Time
I have been going to a gym since I moved here. The first day I walked in I met my coach. As it turns out, she is friends with some other Christians I know but is not herself a Christian…yet. So, I invited her to church, and she came. I have shared my Jesus story with her, and she listened. I have shared the gospel with her, and she listened. And she continues to come to church and listen. But she is not a Christian—yet.
For two and a half years she has listened, attended, and I just now got her a Bible and a journal. I am having her read one chapter of the Gospel of Mark a day and write down any questions she has, and we talk about those questions and what she read once a week. I pray she believes and trusts in Jesus sometime soon, and I am not really concerned if I am in the delivery room. I just want Jesus to save my friend.
It Must Always Be Intentional
Evangelism and discipleship don’t just happen. I had to intentionally invite my friend to church, and I had to intentionally ask the lady at Newcomers Dessert about her story. Neither “just happened.” But here’s the funny thing about pursuing intentionally: once you break through the fear and define the relationship, the conversations become much more natural and much less fearful.
It’s easier to invite my friend to church. It’s easier to ask what she thought about the sermon and if she has any questions. We are friends. Friends care about one another and want the best for one another. And Jesus is the best, even if my friend doesn’t believe that yet.