I asked Peter, “Jesus offers us eternal life. Is that what you want?”
Peter looked a little shocked at the question. “Steve, I am thirty years old and no one has ever told me that I can have eternal life. Of course I want eternal life!”
We’d been meeting with Peter and Lyn and the others in their shared household for the last six months. Sitting around their kitchen table sharing stories from the gospels.
Last Sunday we decided it was time to find out if they wanted to know Jesus personally. We walked them through a simple gospel presentation. They understood their need for God’s forgiveness and God’s offer of life through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
In the coming week another four people made decisions to follow Jesus. Two others are still thinking about it.
We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lives. All of them are friends, or friends of friends, we’ve made through English Club at Box Hill. Most of them are international students and professionals.
Here’s what we’re learning.
Find a way to connect
English club has been a great way to meet new people. One night a week. Students come from Korea, China, Iran, Peru, Thailand. We pick a topic, last night it was Aussie Olympic heroes. We talk. We have fun. We learn. We always finish with a discovery bible study. We follow up anyone who would like to find out more about Jesus.
When in doubt share the gospel
People can’t come to know Christ unless we’re sharing with them. We share our story of knowing Christ, and we share God’s story of the gospel. And we share as soon as possible after meeting someone. We do discovery Bible studies. We also pray for needs. We serve and we express God’s love in action. But nothing is as important as sharing the gospel and asking for a response.
Teach them to obey
We don’t try and win arguments. We connect broadly and look for people God is already at work in. Our discovery Bible studies are all about learning to obeying Jesus. When someone comes to know Christ we immediately talk about obey his command to be baptized. Then we begin weekly studies on obeying Jesus’ commands.
This can’t go on
Even if this amazing experience continued and someone came to faith every day through us, we could not keep up the pace. Eventually the numbers don’t add up. If the ministry revolves around Steve and Michelle and their English Club it will soon run out of momentum. Our goal is to help new disciples to reach their friends and family. We’re also training other Christians to share the gospel, make disciples and form groups.
It's not about us
The end game is not the ministry we do, but disciples who are learning to follow Jesus and fish for people. It’s our job to get them started in discipleship, teach them to reach others and form churches that reproduce.
Someone told me recently, "It's easy for you. You're an evangelist." I'm an evangelist? Until I stepped out in obedience (actually I was dragged out by Michelle and the Holy Spirit) I hadn't led someone to Christ in years.