How You Can Lead a Friend to Christ – Part One

by Jim on August 6, 2013


Ministry Encouragement Podcast Episode #058  –  August 7, 2013

Your Host: Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Executive Director of Proactive Ministries (

Our weekly Sponsor: Proactive Ministries: (770) 803-9988

Welcome to this new Episode #058 of the Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  It is a joy to me for you to be taking time out of your busy schedule to share in this podcast.  We are building a Christian Community here that is growing and your presence is most appreciated.

We had Staff Meeting today in our ministry and were receiving a report about our ministry Website.  Out of the many resources and pages on the Website ( one had clearly been the most visited of all.  It was one in which I shared how we can lead a friend to Christ.    I was very inspired and encouraged by that report.  It reaffirmed for me the tremendous interest today across North America for conversations centered on Christ and helping our friends find a personal experience of Christ in their lives.

So it is on this topic that I will be expanding my thoughts with you on:

How You Can Lead a Friend to Christ – Part One

To cover this topic thoroughly, we will discuss this across at least two Episodes.  As we begin to consider this, we know that we always encounter a list of fears related to sharing our faith, even in relational and non-confrontational ways.  Here are some of the top expressions of fear we have heard across nearly 40 years of ministry:

  1. The fear of personal rejection (Out of our asking this in 400+ congregations, this has been the top answer of “my greatest fear” in 99% of the churches)
  2. The fear of not knowing what to say to another person in sharing faith
  3. The fear of conflict or confrontation with another person
  4. Fearing being asked questions by another person related to Christianity
  5. Being seen as someone who is judgmental or critical
  6. The fear of hardly imagining that another person would be glad to talk about spiritual topics
  7. The fear stemming from growing up with a strong influence which made it clear: “A person’s religion is private.”
  8. Fearing another person or group to think I am a “holier than thou” type person
  9. The fear that sharing about Christ could cause someone to associate me with a cult
  10. The fear that I’m not very good at initiating new relationships with others I don’t know well

One or more of these fears could have much influence over your life as you find yourself considering leading a friend to Christ.  You would certainly be among a high percentage of Christ-followers across North America today.  Some Pastors and other laity Leaders are often paralyzed by these fears.

Yet, a basic understanding of the overarching message of the New Testament is clear – as Christ’s disciples, we are to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus with others we know, will meet and are in relationship with in this life.  A few texts that could be considered as KEY principles are:

Matthew 28:16-20

Luke 10:1-3, 17-20

Acts 1:6-8

II Corinthians 5:11-21

Then there are the numerous narrative stories that Jesus used in his teaching with the public and the disciples:

The calling of the first disciples by Jesus: Luke 5:1-11 and parallel texts (They left everything and followed Jesus, leading others into encounters with Christ) 

The woman at the well reached out to by Jesus: John 4:1-42  (The woman went and shared with everyone…)

The evidence is clear.  There can be minimal argument that Christians are to keep everything private, quiet and personal as to not influence others intentionally or consistently.  Yet, in reality today – little of this is taking place.

Millions of Christians in North America today are far more into “Church” than living out the Great Commission and prioritizing leading a friend to Christ.  Not once in the New Testament did Jesus or his disciples spend time or effort in inviting people to attend church (synagogue or temple).  Rather Jesus and his disciples went to all the places other lived, worked, played and struggled.  And what is the major take-away from that example for us today?

Jesus placed a priority on initiating and pursuing caring, life transforming relationships

From here I want to talk about the most elusive and unknown portion of How You Can Lead a Friend to Christ:

The articulation of the “HOWS”

We can think of the sharing of “hows” as ministry strategies.  We can consider them as steps to aid us in carrying out a holy mission and calling.  We may also see them as common sense principles that were modeled by Christ while he carried out his earthly ministry in the fullness of the human condition.  They will give us handles, steps, guidelines, principles and ways to share Christ with others in the culture and context of North America now.

Here is a beginning list of “HOWS” for us to prayerfully consider living out:

1.  Don’t start in this holy mission with your hands or feet.  Start with your knees, bending in prayer, praying in the Presence of the Holy Spirit for:

  • Surrender of fears, negative stereotypes, forgiveness for those who have offended us in their seeking to reach us and who have oppressed us through judging us or condemning us.
  • Receiving courage and strength from God, which will not be our own of either – but will move us forward in faith, trust and grace for the journey of love to which we are sent.
  • The pervasiveness of Divine, Agape Love which is most clearly seen in the life of Jesus and articulated in First Corinthians 13, particularly verses 4-7.  May we hold in our heart that Divine Love casts out fear.
  • An expectation of rejection at times, acknowledging that a number of individuals Christ sought to reach through love and care rejected even him.  May we never see rejection as being “about us” because we are simply not that important to be personally rejected in attempting to love another with the love of Christ.
  • To be used as a vessel of God’s grace, mercy, hope and forgiveness in a world so full of anger, hurt, rejection, struggle, confusion and darkness.  May Christ’s Light shine through us as we journey along.
  • The lifting up of our heart to fill us with Divine Courage that our next word may be “GO” and we will step out, risking ourselves for the Cause of All Causes – bringing others to Christ.

2. Trust in the greatness of God through Christ and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Divine Presence with us in the present.  Trust the Spirit to:

  • Remind us that time is not against us, but time is on our side since God operates on “kairos time – in the fullness of time” and is not bound or limited by “chronos time – watches and calendars” which oppress us.  Let’s not get in a hurry here.
  • Lead us to the friends or strangers that the Spirit intends for us to initiate or build a deeper relationship with in leading them to an experience of Christ.  We will not “do it” on our own but will practice the power of presence and authentic caring – requiring nothing in return from another person.  Unconditional love blazes the way.
  • We will live out “being authentically with another” rather than “doing something to someone else” in the way we seek to be used by God.  Christ transforms and saves.  We are witnesses to God’s Glory but not transformers of souls.  We have the privilege of sharing the Good News, the Grace of God, and the Love of God in daily life.  And when we fall short or are shorted – we will model forgiveness through grace.
  • Consistently remind us that “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.”  What we are seeking to do we cannot do alone and we live out the Joy of Jesus in the midst of all kinds of “less than joyful realities” on the journey.
  • Cause us to reach out to those we know and don’t know yet with consistency and intentionality, leaning into the support and encouragement we receive in prayer and from Christian Community.

I am quite certain that you now have plenty to pray through, reflect on and approach in actions.  Let’s just keep in mind that this is a beginning and that leading a friend to Christ is far more often a process over time than an incident in a moment.  It can be either but we want to follow the Spirit’s leading rather than anticipating what will come.  Remember as we discussed earlier, we are on God’s Kairos Time, not our Chronos Time.  Time is on our side.


Before we conclude this episode today, I wanted to give us an update on the question I asked you to respond to from Episode #057 concerning the change in policy of the Boy Scouts of America related to openly gay youth in the groups.

Here is some of an article from Christianity Today, July/August 2013, Vol. 57, No. 6, Page 14:

Should churches stop sponsoring Boy Scout troops? Christian leaders’ responses are posted below, on a scale starting with “yes” and ending with “no.”

“We encourage any of our churches in the BSA to now join our own boys’ program, Royal Rangers. Were I a pastor, I would ask whether there are other scouting programs that offer a viable alternative to the BSA where moral ambiguity is removed.”
George Wood, general superintendent, Assemblies of God

“It’s certainly something we felt our local church should do. The writing’s on the wall; when they redefined their definition of morality in the Scout oath, it was contrary to biblical teaching, and we had no choice.”
Bryant Wright, pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church; former SBC president

“We don’t yet know what the implications will be for troops as a result of this flawed attempt at compromise. Churches should be ready with alternatives, should they eventually be in a situation of choosing between gospel witness and Scout sponsorship.”
Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

“There are many reasons churches should be suspect of the BSA, including the insidious relationship of ‘God and Country’ that it promotes. But hopefully the triune God the churches worship can have a greater impact on the troops they sponsor. It may be worth the risk.”
Dennis Okholm, professor of theology, Azusa Pacific University

“Exclusion is rarely the appropriate response for the church. By stopping their sponsorship of local troops, the church would be sending the message that only the righteous few are welcome within its walls.”
Matt Bonzo, director, Cornerstone University Institute for Christianity and Cultural Engagement

“In an era in which unbelievers are walking past—and not into—churches, we need to be creative in our hospitality and cultural engagement. If hosting a troop helps young people and families connect with a local congregation, then I’m in favor.”
Kara Powell, executive director, Fuller Youth Institute


It is our prayer that we as Christians can remain in Christian Community together, though there are disagreements and differences of how we respond to various decisions and positions in the communities and groups around us.  I would love to hear your feedback on this and other topics.

As always I encourage you to share this podcast with one or more of your friends, colleagues, or groups.  You can do that by simply sharing with them about your being a Subscriber and participant in our community.  Your input to me is most helpful.  I love it when you take a few minutes to email, call, text or contact me on Facebook to share your thoughts on how we can improve the podcast and get others in the community.

My contact information to use and share is:


Facebook: Jim W. Hollis

Ministry Facebook Page to Like:

Ministry Offices in Smyrna, GA (USA): (770) 803-9988

Remember if you would like to contact me and have a visit about your church or ministry organization in terms of how it can grow and move forward in reaching others for Christ, please know that Proactive Ministries is offering a GIFT to you of having either me or another Staff member come to visit with you, your Pastor, key leaders and members for a day & evening.  We do ask that you cover travel expenses (car or airfare) and we prefer to stay in a Host Home rather than hotel or motel in your area.

Until next time, may God richly bless you and amaze you with the many ways you can touch lives for Christ!  Please keep our ministry and me in your prayers.


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