When I was in a student in a Christian university, there were always people coming to speak to us to try to educate us on how to lead someone to Christ. There were so many different ways they offered. Many had written courses that could be sent out. Some just had a method they used. They focused on differences between churches, but never on Christ. They proof texted. That means that they decided what they wanted to teach and had people read verses from the Bible to support what they thought. I took a class when I was at Ibaraki Christian University called “Cross Cultural Evangelism,” but he didn’t really come right out and teach us a way, but let us find a way that worked for us. Later, someone told me he was teaching us what is called “Friendship Evangelism.” I learned a lot from a lot of people, and I have led many people to Christ all over the world, but what I can say more than anything else about leading someone to Christ is:
1) Act like a Christian yourself. 2) Never be a “know it all” and act like you have all the answers because you don’t, none of us do. 3) Read the Bible with them taking them to the life of Christ. Don’t focus on church teachings. Focus on Christ. 4) Read one verse after another from the beginning to the end no matter how insignificant you think the verses may be. Maybe the other person needs that information, and it builds trust. 5) Have patience. Read with them again and again for months on end. 6) Never push anyone. Let them decide things for themselves and come to the decisions on their own. 7) Don’t lead them to Christ because you have been paid to lead them or because you want to look good in front of other people. Do it with a sincere heart of caring. 8) If they have a question, answer it with scriptures. If you don’t know, then tell them you will find out and tell them the next time. Between times, go to someone who knows for help or look it up on the internet, and then go back with scriptures that will help them. They aren’t looking for anyone’s opinion except God’s. 9) If you are studying with someone who doesn’t speak English, it is okay if you aren’t good at their language because it is not you who will be teaching them. It is God, as long as you stay in the scriptures. Let them read in their first language. You read along in English unless you can keep up in their language. 10) Let God’s word teach you too. God is the teacher in the Bible study, not you. You simple organize a time and place and organize what you will read. 11) When I teach someone who speaks another language, I often draw cartoons of the events and concepts in the Bible to help them understand. If there is a blackboard or a white board, I use it, but if there isn’t, I use art tablets and draw cartoons. It is not the art I am worried about, but helping people understand the concepts in the Bible.
I announce there will be a Bible class. I make sure everyone has a Bible they can understand. If I have a friend I think would like to read, I invite them. I tell others who want to come they can also invite whoever they want. If it is at my house, I serve a cup of tea or coffee and cake or cookies, but lately, we have been in a coffee shop, so they order something. Many times, I have taught in the home of a friend, perhaps in the home of the person who invited me to study with them.
If I have never studied with that group before, we start at the beginning of the New Testament. with Matthew. When I began doing it, I skipped the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew because I was afraid everyone would find it boring, but I learned later that if we studied who some of the people were, it helps. I study everything in context. I tell them who wrote Matthew. I tell them when it was written. We talk about who it was written for, and many people say it was for Hebrews, but it was written in Greek which was the international language of the day like English is now, so to me, it was written for everyone. It has a lot of references to the Old Testament. That is why they say it was for the Hebrews, but those reference are prophecies telling about the coming of Christ hundreds of years before he came. They are there to prove that Christ is the son of God, the messiah, the one that God promised. When anyone reads these prophecies and compares them with what is written in Matthew keeping the dates in mind, they are blown away! If they believe, they have more faith. If they don’t believe, it causes belief. Matthew’s purpose was to convince everyone that Jesus is the Messiah, and I make sure they know that is what his purpose was.
When they get to Matthew 5, 6, and 7, they become very impressed with the teachings of Jesus, and that is what you want. There are other places in the Bible that reiterate those basic moral principles that Jesus taught there, both in the Old and New Testaments, so I often show them some of the other places. Their faith in Christ gets built by reading the teachings of Jesus.
Some time during the course of the study, I let them know that I go to church, and if they want to go, they are welcome to come with me. They come because I don’t pressure anyone and they know they can trust me. Also some time during the study, because they have read about baptism, they begin asking questions, so I show them some scriptures to help them understand it better. They may have even more questions at this point, so I try to show them whatever scriptures they need to answer whatever questions they have. I don’t just answer questions from my own knowledge. I show them scriptures that answer their questions. I let God teach them. Usually, before they finish the book of Matthew, they become Christians. It is almost 100% unless they have to drop out of the studies for some reason.
After they are baptized, I continue reading with them. Jesus said to teach, baptize, and teach some more. We finish Matthew, and if they want more, we read the book of Acts together. It they have lasted so long we have read Matthew and Acts together, I let them choose another book. Usually, they chose Romans or Hebrews, and those are both books that are good for helping them understand Christianity better.
I don’t argue for one church or the other. I simply take them to the Bible. I take them to Christ and build their faith in him, not in me, not in a particular church. I have had friends who grew up in other churches than I attend, and some of them go back to the other churches during the study. All I have to say is that it is between them and God. I don’t make them Baptist Christians. I don’t make them church of Christ Christians. I don’t make them Orthodox Christians. I simple point to Christ and encourage them to be Christians. I encourage them to do what is written in the Bible and help them do it. I encourage a belief in God. I encourage a belief in Christ. I encourage a belief in what is written in the Bible. I encourage repentance. I help them when they ask for baptism. I point them to God, Christ, and the Bible. I tell them they must go to church to be a Christian and show them the scriptures saying that they need a church.
If others understood how easy it is, they could help others too. What I do is not miraculous. You don’t have to have some great knowledge of the Bible to do it, but you need the right attitude, patience, love for God and others, honesty, kindness, and Bibles. I know much more now than I did in the beginning about the Bible because I have been doing this since I was in college because I care. I am not a preacher, and yes, I am a woman, but I am not the one who actually does the teaching. I let God teach them through the scriptures. There is no fancy course you can buy. All you need is Bibles.