Last week I met a neighbor across the street. I tried witnessing to him and he tried witnessing to me. It turned out that he was a retired Methodist pastor. And he was born-again. In our next encounter, I plan to discuss what he’s doing as a disciple-maker.
A believer’s life perspective changes when he prioritizes making disciples. He listens to know if the person he meets is lost or saved. If he’s lost, is he in transit or living nearby? If he’s saved, then is he making disciples?
Most person-to-person evangelism plans end with an invitation for the seeker to pray what has been called a “sinner’s prayer.” Share the good news about Jesus, but consider ending it a little differently.
This is a crossroads of sorts in your testimony. A new question to ask is:
Are there others that you would like to invite to know more about Jesus?
I’m asking you to think groups, not individuals.
If the answer is “no,” then continue with the gospel presentation and ask for a decision as the Holy Spirit prompts you to do so.
If the answer is “yes,” arrange a time when you and your witnessing partner can meet with both the seeker and those he invites. Missionary friends have told me that when a group of ten or so meet, then usually six or seven accept Christ. This can form a small group! This is particularly important among families from a religion to Christianity who might want to ostracize an individual. However, when groups make the decision simultaneously, they often avoid individualized persecution.
When Tom Wolf was teaching at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, he wrote a short paper called “Oikos Evangelism.” He wrote, “An oikos was the fundamental and natural unit of society, and consisted of one’s sphere of influence–his family, friends, and associates. And equally important, the early church spread through oikoses–circles of influence and association.” You can pick up additional insights by downloading Dr. Wolf’s paper here.
Meeting someone new may introduce you to the next Apostle Paul of our day. It can form groups like Cornelius’ entire household, too, that can start a new church, a new small group, or possibly disband to assimilate into other existing groups.
Go ahead! Add a new question to your encounter with a lost person. “Are there others that you would like to invite to know more about Jesus?” And see what God wants to do in their circle of influence.
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership (DOM) for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.