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?
Read John 3:16-18
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?
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.
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. Using the four symbols below, what does a person need to know to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ?
4. With the fourth symbols (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?
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.
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.
6. How can we break through a barrier of fear or awkwardness when talking to someone about putting their faith in Jesus?
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?
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.
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?
(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?
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?
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.
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.