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Lead 2-7

Uncovering Spiritual Interest

Getting started. Overcoming basic inertia. That is always the biggest problem. But once the ball gets rolling, talking with others about Jesus Christ can be a genuine adventure. The question is, how do we get started?

Getting the Right Start
Evangelism is not an impersonal technique. It is very personal communication between two people. It is like one beggar who has found food telling another beggar where he can find food. Evangelism is sharing the most valued discovery of your life.

Let’s go to John 4, the story where Jesus visits with the Samaritan woman. Let’s see how Jesus strikes up a conversation with this woman and how he opens up an opportunity to witness.

"Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’" John 4:7 (NLT)

Besides being thirsty, could Jesus have had another reason for asking this question? I want you to think about something for a moment. Since you have been a Christian, how many times has someone approached you and asked you to help him become a Christian? People just do not normally approach us with their spiritual questions and concerns.

Does this mean that they don’t have a desire to know God? Not necessarily. In fact, it’s probably just the opposite. I believe every person alive has an inner desire to know the One who created him, and the Holy Spirit uses that desire to create spiritual interest. You, however, are the one God is going to use to uncover that interest.

Jesus knew this woman had spiritual needs. He took the initiative to uncover those needs. But He didn’t begin by talking about spiritual things. First He friendly and He asked a question.

The Friendship Factor
Jesus had a need—He was thirsty—so He asked for a favor. He not only brought up a subject that interested her (water is the whole reason she came to the well), He also made her feel important. He used His own need to open up an opportunity to meet her need. In evangelism we need to learn to talk and care about subjects other people are interested in. We need to learn how to make people feel important.

How do people make you feel important?

How can you help others feel important?

Many times we can share Christ with an individual shortly after we meet him, as Jesus did here in John 4. At other times, we will have to build a deeper friendship before the person is ready to talk about his spiritual life. In evangelism it is not either/or—God uses both ways. As you walk by the Spirit and gain experience, you will know what to do and when to do it.

Arousing Spiritual Curiosity
In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus had an opportunity to turn his conversation to spiritual issues. How did this opportunity arise?

"The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’" John 4:9 (NLT)

The fact that Jesus initiated a conversation with this woman, and the fact that He was willing to express His need and be friendly aroused her curiosity. 

Now when God gives us the opportunity to talk about spiritual truth we need to take action. How does Jesus take action in verse 10?

"Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water.’" John 4:10 (NLT)

Jesus in essence was saying, "I have something that you would really be interested in, and, believe it or not, it comes from God." Jesus assumed this woman was spiritually hungry, so he appealed to her need. He aroused her curiosity. Let’s think about something. Who are some people you talked with this last week? What are some ideas you have that would help uncover spiritual interest in them? What questions could you ask? What statements could you make?

Uncovering Spiritual Interest.
What are some materials you could give to someone that would arouse spiritual curiosity?

Are there some events to which you could invite a non-Christian friend that would help uncover spiritual interest and hunger?

The Art of Asking Questions
Questions were the method Jesus often used to help arouse spiritual interest. Questions focus the attention on the person you want to share with, and they help him or her express thoughts and feelings.
The key to asking questions is listening. If you are a good listener you can pick up at the point of the person’s need, and turn the conversation to Jesus Christ. If you will listen, the person will be ready to listen to you.

There are a lot of different questions we can use to interact with people. Questions can focus on such things as a discussion in one of your classes, what your friend believes and why (and don’t be critical of their answers), a personal problem someone may have, or a problem on campus, a current event, or someone’s philosophy of life.

Putting it All Together
We have learned from John 4 that we need to take the initiative to:
1. Show interest in people and build friendships.
2. Arouse spiritual curiosity and uncover spiritual interest.

How would you recognize someone who is spiritually hungry and open?
Do you know of someone like this right now? Who?

What needs do you think some of your friends, have and what questions would you ask to uncover spiritual interest?

From "So You Want to Set the Pace" by Chuck Klein Call 800.729.4351


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