You’ve got to ask if you want to make the sale. It’s basic business practice. After presenting your product, you ask them to buy. A salesperson who never asks the customer to commit will not make sales. Though what we are doing is not business, the principle applies. If you never ask people to commit to following Christ, you will make very few (if any) disciples.
We can not let fear prevent us from asking people to commit. After sharing a gospel presentation, testimony, or praying for someone, you must ask. You must extend the invitation.
Jesus always invited people to make a decision.
He was not hesitant. Christ didn’t worry about building a relationship with them first for a few years. He met them once, demonstrated the Kingdom in word and deed, then said, “Follow me.” The choice was theirs.
When sharing the gospel or building relationships around spiritual conversations, we must be bold. Give people a clear invitation to respond. Let them decide to take a step toward Christ.
Invitation on a Sickbed
I visited him in the hospital. When I entered the room, he glanced over at me weakly. Approaching his bedside, I greeted him and we chatted briefly. I asked if I could pray for Jesus to heal his body.
Praying in Jesus’ name, I saw his face. Tears were streaming down.
“Do you feel God touching you?” I asked.
He nodded his head in affirmation. “That is His love. He is healing your body. He also wants to heal your heart.” I said. “Jesus is a God who can physically heal us, but He also is able to bring wholeness in every part of our life.”
I went on to share a simple presentation of the gospel. Now it was time for the invitation.
“Would you like to be free not only from your sickness but from the shame and guilt you feel when you’ve done wrong things? Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness today?”
We prayed together. I’m not sure how fully he understood the gospel. But that was okay. He had felt His love and taken a step forward.
Then I asked, “May I come back tomorrow to visit you? We can study the Bible together.” He agreed.
When we met the next time, I asked him to share what we were studying with his wife and children. He was released from the hospital and we began a fellowship in his home. A month or so later, he was baptized.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”Mark 1:17
Pull the Line In
It doesn’t matter if you are using T4T or Discovery Studies. Giving the invitation is critical. (See this article to compare the two approaches).
Many people fail to make disciples because they are fearful of asking people to commit. We don’t want them to feel pressured and to lose the relationship.
In fishing, it is true that if you pull the line in too quickly, you may lose the fish. It’s just as true that if you don’t pull the line in when the fish is on the hook, he will take your bait and swim away, never to return.
May God train us to be skilled fishers of men! At the right time, we clearly make the invitation to commit (to bite). We invite them to take a step forward toward a relationship with Christ. If we never make that invitation, we will likely lose many spiritual fish.
Invitational Questions & Follow Up Actions
1. After praying for someone’s family issue.
Invitation: Would you like to get together sometime to learn what the Bible says about how to have great relationships? I’d be free next week on Tuesday afternoon. Would that work for you?
Action: Start a Discovery Bible study series on relationships. You could start with the Fall- Adam and Eve’s sin and blaming, then go to Cain and Abel, and proceed through other passages like this. Then lead them to Jesus and invite them to commit.
2. After sharing your 3-minute testimony.
Invitation: Do you have a story like this? Would you like to?
Action: Say, “Many people like to pray a prayer inviting Jesus to bring change in their lives and committing themselves to His ways. Could I do that with you today?” If they say yes, pray and invite them to study the Bible with you the next day or that week. Immediately begin a T4T or DBS group with them.
3. After asking a Muslim if they have had any unusual dreams lately and they share about something indicating God is speaking to them.
Invitation: Say, “I believe God often speaks to us through dreams. I’ve heard of many others who have had dreams like this. May I share with you some stories I’ve heard about the prophets? We could read them together and see what we discover about Allah/God. How about Friday afternoon?”
Action: Meet with them and tell the Creation to Christ story or start a DBS with them using the prophet stories.
4. After asking someone the question “If God were to do a miracle in your life today, what would it be?” Listening to them and then asking, “Can I pray for that to happen?”
Invitation: Would you like to get together to pray for this regularly? I’d love to tell you about some of the miracles God has done other people’s lives. Are you free on Saturday morning?
Action: Set a time that works for them (it doesn’t have to be Saturday morning!), and meet to pray and do a Discovery study. Start with a New Testament story of a miracle Jesus did. After the study, ask them if they know anyone else who needs a miracle in their life that would like to join the group. Always pray for the needs and ask them to share any progress.
Call Them to Commit
They may say no or not respond. That is okay. You haven’t lost anything unless you wait for a year and build extensive relationships first. Then you’ve lost a lot. Within the first two or three interactions, invite them to take a step toward Christ. They may not be ready to “become a Christian” but invite them to a step forward. If they are not interested, they likely are not the Person of Peace.
Keep moving and continue sowing gospel seed. God will lead you to the right people as you continue to invite those you meet to take steps toward Him.
Note: In highly distrustful environments, or where there is a lot of persecution, it could take six or seven interactions before you give an invitation. Don’t wait longer than that to find out if they are spiritually interested and open. If you do, you will use all your time on the wrong people and never find the persons God is preparing- those who are ready.
Who can you invite to take a step toward Jesus today?
Please share your comments below or on the Dmmsfrontiermissions Facebook group.
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