Thursday, February 19, 2009


Several weeks ago I wrote about the “first threshold” that non-Christians must cross in order to come to faith, 1) from distrust to trust. They must be able to trust a Christian in order to be open to the message. I said I would return to this subject and I want to do that this week. My Series on the Great Commission is finished but the adventure of the Great Commission continues!

In their book, “I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus,” Don Everts and Doug Schaupp identify four additional key thresholds. They are:

2) From complacent to curious. The Scriptures tell us in I Peter 3:15 to “always be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is within you.” As we develop relationships with non-Christians and they learn to trust us, they often will become curious about why we behave and believe the way we do. This may not happen quickly, but over a length of time it often happens. Of course, they must see a difference in the way we behave and believe compared to the crowd. “Why do you pray before meals?” “How long have you been so committed to your church?” “I notice you never use profanity, why is that?” These are the kinds of questions that can present opportunities to speak about our faith.

3) From being closed to change to being open to change in their life. The authors note that this is often the most difficult threshold to overcome. Becoming open to change in one’s life is a “heroic, mysterious, deep thing.” We grow comfortable with who we are and fearful of what change may bring. Non-believers at this point may understand how following Jesus will affect every area of their life, which is good, but they may not be ready to accept that yet. They will cross this threshold when they ask themselves, “What am I missing?” and their desire to fill the emptiness outweighs the safety of staying the way they are.

4) From meandering to seeking. This is the point where they “lean into the journey” they are on and decide to purposefully seek definitive answers. They develop an urgency and a purpose about their spirituality. This is often when they start visiting a church regularly. The term “seekers” became popular and almost trite in the 1990’s. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful thing when people genuinely seek to develop or deepen their relationship with God. In John 12:20-21, some Greeks who come to the Temple to worship during the Passover Festival say to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” What a privilege for Christians to be able to respond, in effect, “You have come to the right place. We will take you to him through our hospitality, our Christian love, our worship of God, the Table, and the Word.”

5) From the world to the Kingdom.
This is where the seeker takes action in faith and trust. He turns from his old way of life (repentance), joins with Jesus in his death and resurrection (baptism), and begins participating in God’s kingdom mission to the world as he lives with confident expectation of the eternal life God has given him.

I get excited just writing about this! May we never shrink back from joining with God’s Spirit to help people move through the faith thresholds that lead to new life in Christ.


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