In Being Worthy of Trust, I mentioned a book titled, I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path To Jesus by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. Their book examines the stories of 2000 people who follow Jesus, and the path they took to reach the conclusion. Both Everts and Schaupp are involved in campus ministry, working with students on and around colleges. Examining over 2000 stories, they realized there are 5 distinct thresholds, or gates through which a person travels on the path to follow Jesus.
First, each person moved from distrust to trust. The beginning for each person was learning to trust a Christian.
Second, each person moved from complacent to curious about Jesus and the faith. Just because they trusted a Christian, didn’t mean they were curious about Jesus and without that curiosity, people don’t move forward.
Third, these people moved from being closed to change, to being open to change in their life. Until someone begins to consider the possibility of a change of beliefs, a change in the way their life works, they don’t move forward.
Forth, they move from meandering to seeking. At some point, simply considering change is less than actually seeking a direction to change. They began actively, purposefully seeking God.
Fifth, the last threshold is the threshold of the kingdom itself. For me this was a purposeful giving up my old ways of thinking and bending my life to the truth of scripture. They repent and believe.
I’m most intrigued at how often my conversations with Christians who presuppose the process has fewer steps, or that everyone is at step 4. We underestimate the process our need to practice compassion, patience, and persistence.
Billy Graham was a great man of God. His methods were right for his time.
Now, in 2018 and beyond, most people we know who don’t follow Jesus, have already been to the crusades and the revivals and the services. Many don’t trust a Christian at all. We must live a trustworthy, transparent life as a follower of Jesus. Our lifestyle must prompt them to question their own beliefs before they begin to consider change. We must befriend people and interact with them individually. Fewer will come to an event than ever before. Most need to go through 2 or 3 thresholds before any invitation to a service will interest them at all.
I recommit to praying for my friends so that I may serve them on this journey. As a full-time minister, I commit to travel this path with my friends and the people in my sphere of influence.
What about you? Where do you fit in this? Do you agree? Or do you think we just need to have more events, with different music and better invitations? Care to comment below and let us know what you think? Why not get the book and read it for yourself? If you do, let me know and let’s talk. I will happily host a conversation about this book or this topic any time. Would you join us?