Lead them to Jesus on the spot, or start a Discovery Bible Study? That is the question.
In a previous story, Irene came to the Lord through Joleene's Discovery Bible Study. Later, Irene's daughter Chelsea came to Joleene with deep spiritual questions. Joleene wrestled between giving a Gospel presentation or taking her through a DBS. Read how God guided Joleene in the story below!
Chelsea Already Knew God's Story
The next day, Chelsea came over and started sharing about all the things she was learning at summer camp. She was stirred by the truth that, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, she could be called a new creation and an ambassador for Christ. "My big question is," Chelsea said, "why is there evil in the world?" "That is a big question that many people struggle with," I replied. I suspected the reason behind her question was because an individual had done something terrible to a family member of hers. It's been a huge wound in their family for many years. I also knew Chelsea had gone to Christian school for some time. "Do you remember how God created the world?" I asked. "Yes, I remember that God created the world as a perfect place with no evil in it. But then the snake came." Chelsea continued to retell the whole story of Adam and Eve and the fall. "That's right!" I replied. "That's why we live in a world that's full of evil and sin." From there, I asked her questions about the stories of the Bible to see where she was at. She knew the stories of the Old Testament and she knew that Jesus died for her.
I Only Wanted To Say What God Wanted Me To
Then I said, "Do you have confidence that if you were to die tonight, you would go to heaven?" Chelsea began to cry. "No, I don't know." "Do you want to know?" I asked. "Yes! I want to know for sure!" "Well, first, I'm going to go and get you some tissues. Then I'm going to pray and ask the Holy Spirit about what to say to you. There's different ways we could go here, and I want to only say what God wants me to." So, I spent five minutes in the other room asking God what he wanted me to do. I didn't want to jump to a gospel presentation if that wasn't what He wanted. I also didn't want to start a DBS if God had prepared her for the gospel right now.
Then I felt God say to me, "She knows my story. She's ready."
Chelsea Gave Her Life to Jesus
I returned to Chelsea with the box of tissues and said, "Chelsea, you know God's story. And He wants you to know that you can have eternal life. To come to Christ, He has to be Your Savior. But He's also got to be Your King—the Lord of every area of your life. Following Jesus is not going to be easy. And it doesn't mean you won't suffer." I continued. "What that means is that you need to obey every single thing He says in the Bible, whether you feel like it or not. If God says you need to forgive the person who hurt your family member, you need to do it." As I spoke, I feared I may have come across as too heavy-handed. "I know I need to forgive them," Chelsea replied, "because I've been having dreams about them. In the dream, I look at them and say, 'I forgive you.'" This was huge. Her own mother had not been able to do this yet. "Okay Chelsea," I said, "what I want you to do right now is pray. I'm not going to tell you what to pray, because prayer is just talking to God. Tell Him whatever you want to tell Him to make Jesus your King right now."
In response, Chelsea prayed the most beautiful prayer of repentance, faith, and surrender to Jesus that I have ever heard.
"I hate living in my sin," she cried, "I hate living in fear. I don't want to live for myself anymore. I only want to live for You, Jesus. I'm not my own anymore, I want to make You King of my whole life. I want to obey whatever You tell me to do." Then Chelsea said, "I want my family to know Jesus. I want my dad and my sister to know Him too."
A Beautiful Beach Baptism
"Well," I said, "The first thing you need to do is be baptized! Then you should start a Discovery Bible Study with your family. And you'll lead it!" "Okay!" she replied, "I want to be baptized in the ocean. I want my dad, and my friends, and my family to be there." So, we scheduled Chelsea's baptism. Then some things got in the way and it got pushed to a further date. Chelsea was really upset. "I can't wait to be baptized! I know something greater will happen after I'm baptized, and I don't want to put it off." Finally, we took the trip to the beach with my family and Chelsea's family for her baptism. I told Chelsea's mom, Irene, who is already a baptized believer, that she could baptize her daughter herself—she didn't need me! It was a beautiful baptism, and her whole family was very touched and blessed by the event. Now, I'm in the process of discipling Chelsea to lead her family in DBS. I'm so thankful for all that God has done. Pray for Chelsea and her family!
Chelsea and Joleene's story shows us that listening to the Holy Spirit is the most important thing to do when leading someone to Jesus. God is the one who draws unbelievers to Jesus, so we need to follow His lead to know if someone is ready to receive Him. Clearly, God was moving in Chelsea. However, instead of making a quick decision, Joleene stepped aside and asked the Father exactly what He wanted her to do. Her obedience made all the difference! This story also communicates how, after someone trusts in Jesus, follow-up is crucial. Joleene urged Chelsea to be baptized as her first act of obedience which ended up being a testimony to Chelsea's family. In addition, Joleene is coaching her how to start a DBS with her family so that they can see multiplication!
Once they decide to follow Jesus, what's next?
"If it becomes a conversion experience, it's about a religion, not about a relationship with God." This episode is about the moments of decision—believing, repenting, and being baptized.
How do we get to a decision? What's the wrong way to do it? Hear David Watson's experience in leading people to decide to follow Jesus and how you can do the same in your own neighborhood, just like Joleene.