Allen was wandering through the halls of Faith (then Baptist) Church one day when he was looking for the Counseling Office, instead he found the intern office. As he sheepishly popped his head in and asked for directions, I rose out of my seat and volunteered to take him down to the office. We didn’t make it more than twenty feet before our course had changed. I had (with permission) changed our destination to the cafe where we would chat.
As we talked it became really clear to me that Allen didn’t know Jesus. So I began to frame my questions around his personal relationship with Christ. Allen shared with me that he didn’t know Christ, and so I pounced. I was so excited. I began to show him the answers in scripture. I was praying the entire time we were talking that God would soften his heart to what was being said.
When it comes to sharing the gospel, I have a little system that I work through in my head (I even have it written out so I don’t miss anything.) Generally, I will start by just talking about the Bible and why we think it has the answers. Then I will begin to show some of those answers: you are really sinful, there is a massive divide between you and God, there is no way that you can repair that on you own, Jesus came to the earth to die for your sin, all you need to do is confess him as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you can be saved.
Usually, after 30-45 minutes, I’m done and I ask if they have any questions about everything. Allen didn’t. So I asked him “What is stopping you from asking for forgiveness right now?” He said nothing and so I asked if I could lead him in a prayer for forgiveness. He said yes! O Boy was I excited! After Allen left that day I was on cloud nine! I was so happy that a soul had been ushered into eternity (at least from my perspective.) I asked to meet with Allen so that we could continue the regular discipleship process since he was new to all of this. He agreed, but never showed. He never showed because later that week he returned to his old life. Nothing in his life had changed that day except for he felt a little better about himself.
Here is where I think I went wrong. I never shared the cost of being a disciple. I got so caught up in the moment of seeing someone come to salvation that I didn’t do what Jesus was always trying to do; scare away the fakes. Jesus was always telling those who followed Him that they needed to:
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24–25)
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33)
Jesus was always trying to get rid of those who were just following Him and keep only those who are true disciples.
So, from now on, I am going to add a new part to my routine when I share the gospel with someone: the cost of discipleship. Without including the cost, without a person giving up themselves, they can’t be a disciple. So when it comes to sharing about Jesus, when it comes to our daily lives; don’t forget that being on Jesus’ team has a cost in this world, and if you are not willing to pay then don’t join the team.