I Want To Be A Christian But I Don’t Know How!
I remember early in youth ministry one of my leaders asked us: “Why are some people still not yet Christians?”. In my head spun a host of theological answers to that question. It could be that they had some serious intellectual objections. Perhaps they weren’t willing to give it all up to follow Jesus. And ultimately, it’s a work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, so maybe they’re just not ready.
My leader replied with a pithy answer that I’ll never forget: “It may be because no one’s ever showed them how to become one.”
In the last few months, I’ve deliberately met one-on-one with people who’ve been regular attendees at my church who have not yet become Christian or at least seemed unsure of their position before God. What I discovered were a couple of interesting things, none of which are rocket-science:
- Most of them didn’t understand the gospel very well, especially the notion of grace. What surprised me was that we constantly teach and preach about grace at church and in Bible study. And yet when it came down to it, they still thought that becoming Christian was sort of a ‘journey’ towards being more ‘Christian-like’ in thinking and behaviour. What this showed me was to never assume. When someone with a particular grid (i.e. works) hears grace, they will often still filter it through their existing works-paradigm. More often than not, it takes a personal conversation to point that out.
- A couple of them were just waiting for the invitation to become Christians. I had to ask them very directly: “So, you wanna do it now?” and show them how they could by praying a simple prayer with me. In the last two weeks, two men did exactly that. They had both been coming to church for a while (one for nearly 8 years, the other for the whole year). They were both ready, at the time of our conversation, to receive Christ, and they just needed someone to show them how.
Now of course behind all of this is the necessary work of the Holy Spirit in regenerating people’s hearts. However, regeneration isn’t always “pin-pointable” to a moment in time. God uses human means, and especially the means of prayer, to bring the fruit of regeneration to the fore. That’s where we come in.
Are there people in your church or Bible study group who may just be waiting for someone to meet up with them to clarify the gospel and extend to them an invitation to receive Jesus? My suspicion is that there are more than you think. And I reckon this is especially so in youth ministry. Don’t just wait for the big event evangelistic rallies. Find someone, pray for them, meet up with them, check they understand the gospel, and invite them to pray to become Christians. You might be surprised at how many will.