Watching my grandkids and my friend’s grandkids grow up over the years always reminded me of how God organized most things into steps. Mother’s milk, followed by soft food, followed by solid food. Rolling over . . . then crawling, standing up, walking, and before you know it running!
But why do we forget this simple truth when we think about evangelism?
Somehow, we’ve gotten all confused about something Jesus meant to be simple and natural. We’ve made evangelism into an event rather than a process. When we think about jumping off a second story balcony, we see instant injury or death. But we walk down a flight of stairs without a thought. Steps make big things smaller and impossible things doable.
If you read About My Father’s Business, this story will sound familiar, but when I met my friend Craig Callaway he was a talented young sales rep in our company. As I got to know him, I saw his potential, both as a businessperson and as an ambassador for Jesus. Problem was that Craig wasn’t a Jesus-follower! He had gone to church as a kid, but a conflict in his church, coupled with the tragic death of a teenage friend, had turned him off of ‘God stuff.’ He was apathetic . . . he didn’t know about God and he didn’t care.
I knew that the first step for him was getting interested in spiritual things. So rather than try to talk to him about the Gospel, we talked about whether or not there really was a supernatural dimension to this world. The conversations were lively, but soon Craig was searching, reading all kinds of books and talking to people of all kinds of persuasions.
Now, the next step for Craig was pointing him toward Christ. A good friend of mine suggested I invite him to study the Bible with me. I thought, “There’s no way he’ll agree to that!” But when I asked him, to my great surprise, he said yes. Then one March day, after months of Bible study and discussion, Craig decided he wanted to become a Christian.
From there, Craig’s next step was getting grounded in God’s word. So, I invited him to join our Friday morning men’s Bible study. He joined in and before long, he was the guy everyone looked to for answers. All of us ‘experienced Christians’ would share our opinions . . . Craig would get his answers from Scripture. Now we were learning from him!
If I had tried, as others had before, to ‘lead Craig to the Lord’ in one confrontational conversation, he would have blown me off. But by meeting Craig where he was and helping him take one step at a time, God blessed my efforts and I got to be involved in seeing God adopt a high potential business executive into His family.
So, relax, love the people in your sphere of influence, accept them, serve them, pray for them . . . and look for opportunities to help them move to their next step. We can all do that!
Scripture: To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)
Mentor Tip: Practice this with your guys. They may be at different places in their faith walks. Do your best to identify where each guy is and then over the course of the mentoring season, help him move that next step . . . or two.