The BIG IDEA
Inviting someone to respond to Jesus’ good news is the fourth “sound barrier” to break when seeking to have an impact for Christ in a person’s life.
We fear awkwardness and rejection, so we shrink back from inviting people to place their faith in Jesus after they’ve heard the gospel.
Taking the step of faith to invite people to respond to Jesus when sharing the gospel with them.
Why THIS MATTERS
It is possible to break sound barriers by starting a conversation, bringing up spiritual matters, and explaining the gospel. Sometimes however, we stop short of giving a person the chance to begin a relationship with God by trusting in Jesus. Breaking this additional sound barrier can be what God uses to change a person’s life for all eternity. So it’s critical to see the importance of breaking this sound barrier and learning some practical ways to do it.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: It’s important to invite someone to trust in Jesus once that person has heard the gospel.
- EXPERIENCE: Excitement about the prospect of God working through us to lead someone to faith in Jesus; conviction that we need to give people this opportunity and leave the results to God.
- DO: By taking the step of faith to invite people to place their faith in Jesus when sharing the gospel with them.
Note to Leaders: Because of our use of technology and the way many people relate to others, it can be hard for students to have a conversation in person with someone they don’t know very well. Sometimes it is even hard for students to talk with their friends. These four lessons in the Sound Barriers series will give students a chance to develop and practice their skills which will hopefully lead them into talking to others about their faith in Jesus Christ.
There are four sound barriers that can make it hard to talk with people about Jesus:
- BREAKING THE ICE – starting conversations with people
- GOING DEEPER – talking about spiritual things with people
- SHARING GOOD NEWS – bringing up Jesus in conversations
- DECISION TIME – helping someone say “Yes” to Jesus
Today we are talking about helping someone make the decision to trust Jesus Christ once they are ready to put their faith in him.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Things have come such a long way with Jon and Ivan. At the beginning, Jon didn’t even know how to start talking to Ivan but now they talk often and enjoy seeing each other. For Jon, one of the highlights of getting to know Ivan was when he got to explain what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Since that time Ivan has been thinking about giving his life to Jesus but he hasn’t actually done it yet. Jon doesn’t want to push Ivan into a decision, but he also doesn’t want Ivan to miss out on a chance to take this next step. What would you do if you were in Jon’s shoes to encourage Ivan to make this decision?
Listening to what students share from the launch is important. We want them to know their ideas are valuable and can be used by God in someone’s life. The goal here is to get them thinking about how to ask someone to begin a relationship with Jesus.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
This passage is the last part of the story of Jesus talking to a man named Nicodemus about how to experience the good news (the gospel) by being born again. Being born again is what happens when you put your faith in Jesus to forgive you.
1. What are the main points Jesus explains to Nicodemus?
Some points to consider would be:
- God loves the world;
- That he gave his only Son so we would not be condemned by our sin;
- That we could live forever with God;
- That by our faith in Jesus Christ we can be born again.
*2. Why was it such a big deal for Nicodemus to make a decision to be born again?
- How would this affect him in the future?
- What do these verses say about this? John 3:36 and 1 John 5:11–13.
Those who do not place their faith in Jesus at some point in their lives will experience God’s judgment and an eternity separated from God. Nicodemus was at a point where he was being asked by Jesus to make a decision one way or another. This decision would determine if he would be separated from God or have a future with him forever. A very big deal!
*3. Just like Ivan and Nicodemus, many people in the world are ready to make a decision about Jesus after hearing the good news, but they don’t know how. Last week we talked about four symbols that help explain the gospel to people.
- Do you remember what they are?
- Do you remember what they mean?
Leaders, have your students try to figure out the meaning of the four symbols. If they need help, use the notes below.
- Heart – God loves you and created you to know him personally (John 3:16).
- Division Sign – People are sinful and separated from God (Romans 3:23).
- Cross – Jesus Christ died in our place so we could know God and live with him forever (Romans 5:8).
- Question Mark – We each need to choose whether we will personally receive Jesus Christ by faith as our savior and lord (John 1:12).
4. With the fourth symbol (the question mark), you are inviting them to place their faith in Christ. Why can it sometimes be hard to invite someone to make a decision for Christ?
Allow your group to discuss.
*Sometimes an illustration helps people understand what the Bible is saying about knowing God. A great way to help someone understand the decision you are inviting them to make is by drawing two circles. The two circles below represent two different lives. You can draw these circles on a napkin or piece of paper when talking to someone about God. The circle on the left represents someone who has never received Christ into their life. The circle on the right represents someone who has Christ in their life.
When you invite Christ into your life…
- Christ Comes into your life (John 14:20).
- Your sins are forgiven – past, present, and future sins. (Colossians 1:14).
- Your receive eternal life (John 5:24).
- You become a child of God (John 1:12–13).
- You can now experience His special purpose and plan for your life (2 Corinthians 5:17).
These circles describe two types of people. The chairs represent the throne of your life. Whoever sits on the throne of your life is the one who makes the decisions for your life.
The circle on the left describes someone who has never received Jesus into their life. They remain guilty and cut of from God by their sin.
The circle on the right describes someone who has received Jesus into their life. They have been forgiven and experience God’s love.
After you draw and explain the circles, ask:
- Which circle do you think represents your life right now?
- Which one would you like to have represent your life?
If they are interested in being the circle on the right, invite them to ask Christ into their lives right then and there! To learn more about how to lead someone through a prayer to accept Christ, and what to tell them after they do, check out the God Tools App.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
5. Find a partner and practice drawing the circles while taking turns in the way you respond. First respond as someone who wants to begin a relationship with God, then try being a person who is not ready yet.
Practicing this may be the most important part of this study. Give the students time to practice and have some paper or napkins to hand out. If there is time, have them switch partners and try it again. The more they practice the better they will feel about doing this.
6. How can we break through a barrier of fear or awkwardness when talking to someone about putting their faith in Jesus?
Praying and asking for the power of God’s spirit will give us boldness. Also asking others to pray for us will help us break through this barrier. The more we talk with people about Jesus the easier it gets and the less awkward it feels.
*7. Of all the people you have talked to about God, who do you think is ready to hear how they can make a decision to put their faith in Jesus?
For many students this could be someone right in their own home, a sibling or a parent. For others it might be the person they sit next to in class or an old friend.
End the time in prayer asking God to give them the power and boldness to try!
Assignment: Practice the two circle drawing with two other people this week. It could be someone who already has Christ in their lives or someone who doesn’t yet know him.
CONVERSATION CHEAT SHEET
It can be hard to know how to break through these four sound barriers when you’re talking to people. Below, we have some ideas for how you can move through them so that you can have better spiritual conversations. Use these, come up with your own, or brainstorm other ideas with a friend. Just keep the conversations moving toward Christ.
1. STARTING A CONVERSATION
(Ideas for going from no conversation to a conversation)
- Hi, I’m_____are you new here? I don’t think I’ve seen you around.
- Did you see the game/Super Bowl/Olympics/March Madness/World Series/etc last night? Who did you want to win?
- What kind of music are you into?
- Do you want to sit with us at lunch? I noticed you have a new schedule.
- Hey, I saw your t-shirt. Are you a ______ fan?
2. GETTING SPIRITUAL
(Ideas for going from a conversation into a spiritual conversation)
- Is your family religious? Do you believe the same way they do?
- Do you ever think about God or want to know more about Him?
- Do you go to church (or temple or mosque) anywhere?
- If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?
- Have you heard of Cru? It’s a group of students who get together and talk about how God relates to their lives. Would you be interested in checking it out sometime?
3. BRINGING UP JESUS
(Ideas for going from a spiritual conversation into a conversation about Jesus and the Gospel)
- From what you know about Jesus, who do you think he was?
- Using a scale from 1–10, how sure are you that you will go to heaven when you die?
- Can I show you a few things that have helped me have a relationship with God?
- Jesus has made a big impact on my life. Can I tell you about it?
- In Cru I’ve been learning about how to have a relationship with God. Can I tell you what I’ve learned?
4. INVITING SOMEONE TO MAKE A DECISION FOR JESUS
(Ideas for going from an explanation of the gospel to a decision for Christ)
- A relationship with Jesus is more than just knowing about Him. We have to choose to follow Him. Can I show you what I mean? (here, you can draw the two circle diagrams)
- Have you ever made a decision to ask Christ into your life? Would you like to?
- On a scale of 1-10, how interested are you in inviting Christ into your life?
- What is keeping you from inviting Christ into your life?
- Is this something you’d like to do right now?
If someone wants to receive Christ with you, you could lead them through a prayer like this…
“Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.”
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN HAVING CONVERSATIONS
- Take the first step.
- Talk about the other person, show an interest and be encouraging.
- Listen carefully, care about them as a person and what they have to say.
- Ask open ended questions (not yes/no).
- Breaking through these sound barriers is awkward. That is why we call them “barriers”. Don’t worry about having all the right words, just push through the awkwardness and start the conversation.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.