Knowing what to say can spell the difference between success and failure in reaching out to people. How you come across can either encourage them to respond positively or back away because they feel something wrong about your approach.
The first thing that you must remember is that you are simply inviting them to join you on a journey of knowing more about Jesus and what He taught in order to try it out in your lives, so that each of you can know personally whether these teachings are true or not.
This invitation is for everyone. It’s not an invitation to become a Christian or to change religion. It’s an invitation to explore, to discover the truth. The only way to find out is to try it out. Trying out something involves risks, but they are risks worth taking in order to discover the truth. This is what Jesus promised to those who will try to listen and obey His teachings.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
A disciple is someone who is willing to learn from someone. You must emphasize to your friends that you are a disciple or follower of Jesus Christ, because you believe He has information on how to make life worth living. You must be humble enough to admit that you do not know everything yet about Jesus or the things that He taught. But you are willing to learn, and to try them out in your life personally. You just want your friends to join you in that journey, if they are willing. No pressure.
Like I said, not everyone may want to join you. That is part of the risk that you are taking when you’re inviting people to join you on a journey. The key is to live your life in such a way that they might be motivated to ask why you do what you do. The apostle Peter instructed believers to live like this.
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
In other words, you begin with yourself. You need to follow Jesus first in order to invite others to follow Jesus also. That’s the key. You need to have credibility before you can influence others. By this I do not mean that you have to be perfect. Just be real.
People who claim to be perfect have no credibility at all. They tend to be judgmental or phony. Only those who are humble and broken can have credibility to influence others. So tell your friends exactly where you are in your journey of faith, so that they will see you as someone worthy of imitating. As Paul says,
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Cor 11:1)
But you need to be passionate about your own journey. You cannot convince people to join you in something that you yourself are not passionate about. People are looking for the truth. If you are not passionate about it, they will see you as a mere salesman.
Now, remember, you are simply inviting them to join you on a journey of knowing more about Jesus and what He taught in order to try it out in your lives, so that each of you can know personally whether these teachings are true or not.
No one is being forced to convert here. Each one can decide on his or her own whether they would want to formalize their allegiance to Christ or not. The goal is not conversion but personal knowledge of the truth. Only the truth can set people free. Knowing the truth personally is also the only way to have real faith.
Invite people to this journey of knowing or discovering the truth. Tell them that together you will try to know who Jesus is and what He taught. Then you will try out what He said, in order to know this truth experientially. It will be a journey of exploration and discovery. Even those who doubt can join. Welcome, everyone!
Discuss this with your mentor. Do not go to the next lesson without discussing this and applying it. Once you’re ready, click here to go to the next lesson. If you need to review the previous lesson, click here. If you want to go back to the beginning of this series, click here.