Can we agree on a few points to start? The Bible is the collection of God’s words. The Gospel is the message this world desperately needs. Jesus changes people for time and prepares them for eternity. Are we on the same page?
If there’s nothing wrong with the message, there must be some deficiency in the messengers or in the way the messengers communicating the message. Right?
Twenty years ago our son was a rock star in a Canadian Christian rock band. His band traveled to Turkey for a three-week mission tour, singing all their songs in English. Some of the words were translated onto a flyer that was handed out to the participants in Turkish.
They sang in public places like town fairs. At the end of each concert, people were invited to participate in a Bible Correspondence course. Over the three weeks, approximately 300 people signed up for that course. Imagine that in a Muslim country! Approximately 10% of those people completed the course. Most of those who completed the course made some statement that they believed the Gospel and were ready to make Jesus the Lord of their life. That of course was totally against the culture and prevailing religion.
That works in Turkey, why not in other places? Well, as a matter of fact, it does in other places as well. The response rates are even higher in many other lands around the world. The Gospel is not deficient in any way,
Perhaps adding some component to it, such as music, opens the filters so that people will pay more attention.
But the reality is that young rock band got on the plane and left their homeland, to go and try. They are all men now. And all, in their own way, continue to serve the Lord.
There are some basic principles that were being fulfilled in that mission trip, and they continue to work today.
- Obviously, they went to where people are.
- It is not necessarily critical but they gathered people together in a meeting.
- This principle is critical. They actually gathered contact information from people who were willing to communicate with them. This is the most important step that is often left out. They had to gather contact information from people so that they could move on to the next issue, which is repeatedly communicating with them.
- There was a system to keep communicating with the contacts. When they had a repeated two-way communication with people, they moved through their filters to get their attention. And over time, that developed their interest. Then the Holy Spirit developed a desire in their heart for salvation.
- Some choose to take action and come to Jesus.
I want to draw attention to the fact that it didn’t work as a one-and-done event. And that seldom works today. They didn’t ask people to respond to a public invitation and accept Jesus on the spot. They engaged them in a Bible study, back and forth through the mail until they finally came to Christ.
The ratio is small as defined by some people. But the number of initial contacts is probably much larger than anything you are experiencing in your life.
I will tell you my experience is that between 5% and 10% of the people you contact are interested. That is true if you give them the opportunity to develop an appetite for the Word of God.
The John Challenge is such an opportunity. It puts things in a contemporary format where people can read, listen, and watch the Gospel. There is minimal commentary. There are 105 questions they can ask and answer for themselves.
If you have the opportunity to work with somebody and can review their answers to the questions it will help fill in any misunderstandings they have. This way it is really useful to have the printed book in your hand to give to a prospect. And then you can meet with them, perhaps on a weekly basis, and go over their written answers in that book. That is the simplest way possible to find out if they are taking the challenge.
Why aren’t more people coming to Jesus? Because too few are willing to give them an opportunity to take the road to the foot of the cross. For most that is a long ramp. It is unreasonable to ask a person to jump from where they are to a relationship with Jesus in one step. Give the Word a chance to sprout in their heart. Keep a conversation going and more will come. The number of people who come to Jesus is directly proportional to the number you talk to. Get talking and offer The John Challenge. It’s free!