The Right Attitude for Reaching Your Friends for Christ
If you are a Christian, then you want to see your friends follow the Lord Jesus Christ too. Certain attitudes can push them away from, rather than draw them to, Jesus. Take a few minutes for an attitude check to see if you are on the right track.
Do you have an attitude of discipleship-oriented witnessing rather than decision-oriented witnessing? Some Christians are so concerned about getting their friends to bow their heads and make a decision for Christ that they don’t first prepare the hearts of their friends. They emphasize the result rather than the conditions that will lead to the results. Because they are so decision-oriented, they create two barriers. First, some Christians push their friends to make a decision before they are ready. If the friends refuse, they have damaged their relationship with them. Second, some Christinas shy away from witnessing to their friends because they have been taught that they must aggressively press for a decision. However, you should think of winning your friends to Christ by influencing them in three steps:
- Pre-conversion: witnessing
- Conversion: accepting Christ
- Post-conversion: Christian growth
You can influence your friends to receive Christ by witnessing to them: “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Witnessing is sharing your faith with your friends, but does not necessarily include leading them through a plan of salvation and pressing for a decision. Witnessing is sharing what you have seen, what you have heard, and what you have experienced. You can tell your friends how much you enjoy praise and worship or specific examples what the Lord has done for you, yet not push them to make a decision for Christ. Witnessing is putting salt on your friends’ tongues and making them thirsty for the water of Life.
Because friends share things with friends, you should share your faith with your friends, especially with those who do not know Jesus. This is pre-conversion witnessing.
When a Christian does something for a friend, especially if it is in the name of Jesus, it may not win the friend to Christ immediately, but it may soften his or her heart to the Gospel. Every conversation you have with your friend about Christianity and every time you relate a Christian experience can actually move your friend closer to Jesus Christ. Just being with your friends makes them comfortable with you, and hopefully, comfortable with your Christian faith.
This process is called stair-stepping your friend from a negative rejection of Christ to a neutral position, then to a positive belief in Christ. Stair-stepping uses the natural relationship of friendship to influence a friend to Christ. Just being a friend and talking about your faith moves them up the stairs closer to salvation.
Article adapted from “Stair-stepping Your Friends To Christ” in How To Reach Your Friends for Christ by Dr. Elmer Towns, copyright ChurchGrowth.org.