Excerpt from A Man's Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines
Today millions of men in America woke up ready to hear a credible explanation of how Christian faith could change their futile lives. Most of these men will go to bed tonight without getting one. Here are fives steps you can take to discipline yourself to be a soul winner.
STEP ONE: Pray for men. Ask God to put "prepared" men on your heart. STEP TWO: Make an appointment. Take the men God puts on your heart to breakfast, lunch, or out for a cup of coffee. STEP THREE: Listen. Ask a man, "Where are you on your spiritual pilgrimage?" I've only had one man out of thousands I've asked in over 30 years who wasn't interested in talking about it. STEP FOUR: Share your testimony. STEP FIVE: Explain how to receive Christ.
Two steps need more ink. First, you should be able to give him the testimony of how you became a Christian. Second, you should be able to show him God's plan of salvation in the Bible.
How To Give Your Testimony
The example of your changed life will (usually) do more to "draw" a man toward Jesus than anything else. My apologetics professor in seminary said, "Despite all the intellectual arguments for the existence of God, still the most powerful argument of all is a changed life." However, it is not enough for men to see you are different--they need to know why. For that, you will have to speak.
Once you've listened and sense a man knows you are on his side, give him your testimony. Your own story is 100 times more powerful than telling him the "theology" of Christianity alone. Be prepared to do this in not more than 10 minutes, but also in three minutes if the time is short. In equal time segments tell him three things:
BEFORE: What was your life like before you embraced Jesus? Empty, confused, lonely, disillusioned, futile, lacking significance, without purpose or meaning, successful but still not happy? As much as possible, relate your story to what you know about his story.
HOW: How did you come to profess faith in Jesus? Where? Who showed you the way? Why did you respond? Be sure to mention conviction of your sins, hunger for truth, understanding who Christ is, repentance, and faith in Jesus.
AFTER: What has Christ done in your life since? Pick areas that have changed which relate to his struggles.
A CHALLENGE: If you want to get serious about sharing Christ with men (or already are), don't shoot from the hip. Take a couple of hours and write out, time, practice, and memorize a three-minute testimony. Pick words that sparkle and emote. Mark Twain said, "A powerful agent is the right word." And you already know what would happen if Michael Jordan didn't practice. Write your first draft here:
If it is not already clear to you ask, "(Name), has there ever been a time in your life when you have personally put your faith in Christ to forgive your sins and receive the gift of eternal life?"
If 'yes,' ask him to describe it. If he can give a clear testimony, congratulate him. If not, proceed as though he answered 'no.'
If 'no,' say, "May I take a few minutes and explain what Christians believe about who Jesus is, why He came, and what believing in Him means?"
Then, read him a gospel tract. Personally, I just read men The Four Spiritual Laws tract published by Campus Crusade for Christ. (You can get them at Christian bookstores. Also, most denominations and many other ministries also offer tracts). That's right. I just read it to them without embellishment or side comments.
In fact, since I've read through it word for word with men so often, sometimes my mind will wander and think about things I need to get done during the day ahead. And it makes no difference. In fact, in one way it is evidence that it is God doing the saving rather than my persuasiveness injected into the calculus of trying to save this man. It is simply allowing the gospel to be the gospel.
Or if you prefer to not use a tract, you can look up the following verses and read them together. Make sure he reads the words for himself, whether silently or out loud.
Idea: Mark Bible pages you want to look up with Post Its. Number them 1, 2, 3, and so on.
1. Who is Jesus? He is the Savior. John 4:25-26 says, 'The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."' He is God. Hebrews 1:3 says, "The son is the radiance of God's glory and exact representation of his being...." Colossians 1:15 says, "He is the image of the invisible God...." Colossians 2:9 says, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." In John 14:9 Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." In John 10:30 Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." He is the only way to the Father. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
2. Why did Jesus come? To seek the lost. In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." To save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15, Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...." To demonstrate God's love. Romans 5:6-8, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." To atone for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." To become the source of eternal salvation. Hebrews 5:8-9, "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him."
3. What does belief in Jesus mean? We receive eternal life. John 3:16, Jesus says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 11:25-27, "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' 'Yes, Lord,' she told him, 'I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.'" Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We receive forgiveness of sins. 1 John 1:8-9, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." We become children of God. John 1:12, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
4. How do you become a follower of Jesus? We become Christians through repentance and faith. Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
Tell your man, "Nothing we do can ever make us good enough for God to love us. Instead, He loves us because He made us and Jesus died for our sins. We become a Christian by confessing that we are sinful and putting faith in Jesus to forgive of our sins and by grace give us the gift of eternal life. Prayer is the way we talk to God. Here is a suggested prayer.
"Lord Jesus, I need you in my life. I confess that I am sinful and that I need a Savior. Thank you for dying for my sins. Thank you for offering me the gift of eternal life. By faith I now put my trust in you to forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal salvation. I invite you to change me and make me the man you want me to be. Amen."
After reading the prayer out loud, ask him if this prayer expresses the desire of his heart. If he says, "Yes," then ask him to pray it out loud after you one phrase at a time. Congratulate him. Offer to help him grow. Invite him to church. Encourage him to share what he has done with loved ones. See if he would feel comfortable sharing it right away with someone in your presence. Make it a celebratory moment--on earth as it is in heaven.