Weaving the message of Jesus into our words and work:
VI. "Call to Action"...
A. Why do we need this step: affirmation by personal challenge [communicates respect, well-wishing, sincerity, importance]
B. develop your own CALL to ACTION:
1. for use after YOUR STORY:
"Well, that's my story (or experience), and how I came to the decision to approach God for a positive relationship. It wasn't simple, but I was honest enough--and needy enough!--to ask Him for help. How closely does my experience parallel your own thinking and issues at this point?
2. for use after getting them some information or answer:
"Did that information help any? How? Excellent. Did it give you enough help to get past that issue--at least for now-- and on to the bigger issue of how you and God should relate in the future? How much farther along would you say you are now, in your decision making process about that?"
C. When you leave it open...
"Give this some thought...if you have any questions about my experience of thinking through it, just hunt me down...otherwise, I'll just check in with you next week sometime or whatever, to see how you're doing..."
D. Asking the self-assessment:
"I can tell (from our conversation) that you have been opening up to the idea of asking Christ into your life for a good while now...what have been the main things influencing you in that direction?...how far away do you think you are from that?"
E. The trade-offs of inviting them to Christian events:
· They might see Christian love, but they might focus on the 'ritual' or 'showy' aspect of it.
· They might see Christian joy, but they might get sidetracked on Christian 'weirdness'
· They might see community life, but they might get sidetracked on some issue other than Jesus and the gospel (esp. at events that are not 100% evangelism-focused)
F. When using Christian literature:
"I don't know if it would be of any help in thinking through this for you, but I have a small booklet at home about this...I'll bring it in tomorrow and loan it to you for a week..." then later "did it make sense to you? Did you take any action based on it?" followed by "why?" or "why not?"
G. Using a website:
· "For some people, this decision is very private--you might take a look at this URL, and make a copy of it to think through at home--just FYI" then later "did you ever have a chance to look at that URL? Did it make sense to you? Was it of any help to you? Did you end up taking its advice?" followed by "why?" or "why not?"
H. Don't be sales-y or pushy!
· "If you act now, we'll throw in a free copy of the tape series on Leviticus...."
· The biblical images of this involve growth-time (e.g., second birth, seed sprouting)
· Don't "bruise the fruit"
· "How are you coming on the decision you were wrestling with a while back? You haven't mentioned where you came out on that, and I was curious if you had finally made some decision about those 'big picture' issues we discussed last February. They seemed like important matters to you then, especially after the illness..."
I. "You're just trying to make me into a Christian...":
· "(chuckle) I wish it were that simple, Phil! No, this process is something YOU are in the middle of--not me, I'm only an observer here. I am only giving you my two-cents' worth, what I came away with when I went through a similar process...No, this is an issue between you and God, there's no such thing as 'making someone' into a Christian...I AM interested in seeing you find the same 'good deal' I found, because I am your friend, of course, and I would encourage you to take advantage of this--but I would do the same about ANY issue that I felt strongly about. If I found a fantastic financial investment opportunity, I would encourage you to take advantage of it. If I found a superb new restaurant, I would be enthusiastic about getting you to try it. If I found a cause that I really believed in, I would urge you to support it too. It's just about friends telling friends about good things they've found...and I would expect you to do the same for me"
· "(chuckle) Nah--I'll leave that to the 'professional Christians'! I'm just pointing out where I found some real help, Lisa, where I found some answers and resources for living...and I would hope that you would do the same for me!"
· "Of course I am! (big smile) I'm your friend-why wouldn't I?! When someone 'tried to make me' into a Christian (chuckle), it was a major positive step for me and my family...I have been thankful for a long time that someone shared their experiences with me, without pressure and without questionable motives, and encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunity...Can you blame me for urging you to take a similar step, Patty?"
J. Set their "post-decision" expectations correctly:
"Lauren, a couple of days after our conversation about you considering asking the Lord into your life more, it dawned on me that I might should point out not to expect any lighting bolts or Charlton Heston 'voices' or major emotional upheavals when you make that step! Some people expect the heavens to open when they pray to Him asking Him into their life for the first time, and they end up doubting whether He even paid attention...just a word to the wise--its like most personal relationships: the 'feeling' aspects vary by situation, but the fact of the relationship can be depended on."