Tuesday, July 19, 2016

One Step Closer:

No God Framework
“Who is God?”
Atheist: denies existence of God and supernatural
“There’s no such thing as God.”
Agnostic: not sure it’s possible to know if there is a God
“I’m just not sure.”
Al-Anon view of God: vague belief in God; aware of Jesus
“I think there’s a higher power.”
Interested in Jesus/Christianity; perhaps used to attend a church; open to finding out more.
“There might be something to this.”
Has personally experienced Christian love; wants to find out more.
“Why would someone do something so selfless for me?”
Aware of the basic facts of the gospel; attends church
“I’ll kick the tires and see if there might be something to Christianity.”
Aware of own personal need for Jesus, whether for forgiveness or a new direction in life
“I’ve not always done what God wanted me to do.”
Grasps the implications of what Jesus did
“It’s not about being good enough; it’s about what Jesus did on the cross for me.”
Challenged to respond personally
“I need to turn away from sin and to God. I need Him to forgive me and take charge of my life.”
Repents and puts faith in Christ
“God is now the boss of my life. I’m trusting and following His plan.”
“I’m identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.”
Becomes active member of local church
“I’m connecting with other followers and doing life with them.”
Continues to grow in character, service, and relationships
“I’m spending time with God, serving others and becoming more Christlike.”
Leads others to connect with Christ and take next steps
“I’m reaching out and inviting others to take their own next step toward God.”
*Taken from How To Pick Up A Stripper by Todd and Erin Stevens

Let me explain the concept behind this chart. Everyone is somewhere on this scale, depending on his or her current view of and relationship with God. In theory, people will tend to move through the scale in a linear fashion. In reality, people will sometimes take three steps forward and then two steps back. Sometimes they might move through multiple stages on the scale in a very short time, perhaps even in just a few moments. Other people will take years before they move from one stage to the next. Sometimes, they get stuck and never go any further. Regardless, I think we can agree with the big idea that this scale is overall a fair representation of where people are spiritually and the steps they generally go through in their spiritual journey.

Here’s how this concept can impact our approach to outreach. We simply make it our goal to invite people to take the next step toward Christ from wherever they are. Let’s consider an example. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered anyone in America who has never heard of God at all (-10), so let’s assume we’re talking with someone we would categorize as -9 on the scale. My aim with an atheist is to encourage her to at least take the next step, which on this scale would mean she decides, “I’m just not sure whether there is a God or not.” With this understanding of evangelism, this would mean she is moving toward God. The way I see it, that is a win.

So think for a moment about the implications of this approach. Am I saying that someone could say she is not even sure there is a God, and I would consider that a good thing? If I’m reaching out to an atheist, then that is exactly what I’m saying. In fact, hearing her say that would be a reason to celebrate. I am thrilled when that happens because this is the next step toward God from where she was.

Could God radically save an atheist in a single day? Of course! With God all things are possible. By inviting people to take the next step from where they are, we’re not limiting what God could do. We’re simply recognizing that people are at different points on their spiritual journeys and we are choosing to meet them where they are, rather than assuming they should already be where we want them to be.

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