Depending on where your friend is spiritually, here are three starting points in helping him or her grow toward Jesus:
• Starting Point #1: For friends who have not yet decided to follow Jesus, read the Bible together. Getting together and reading a short section of Scripture and discussing it is a great starting point for meeting with people who are not yet believers. Often, at some point along the way, when people are exposed to powerful biblical truths and the Gospels, they will be drawn into a relationship with Christ. The Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew are good places to start.
• Starting Point #2: For people who have just accepted Christ, or are right at the door, cover the basics of the faith. There is a little Navigator booklet called Beginning with Christ that lays out five “assurances”—winsome truths about a relationship with God. These are the assurances of salvation, answered prayer, victory over sin, forgiveness, and guidance.
This is a helpful tool. As we studied assurance of salvation together, my friend Josh, whom I’ve mentioned before, came to a place of realizing that he wanted to put his trust in Jesus.
• Starting Point #3: For people who want to grow and begin walking with Christ, teach them how to spend time alone with God. One of the first things we can do is help them know how to spend daily time with God. Some people call this having a quiet time or daily devotions.
A good resource for helping people start this discipline of meeting with God is 7 Minutes with God: How to Plan a Daily Quiet Time by Robert Foster. This is a simple booklet, easily talked through in one sitting.
Remember—the person you are beginning a spiritual conversation with may not be ready for these three options. No problem! I offered to begin reading the Bible with a friend who said, “No, not interested.” However, he is interested in getting together periodically “just to talk” and catch up. I just make sure I encourage him spiritually and share some scriptural principles that relate to our lives. He is obviously encouraged every time we meet.
A great resource as you develop a discipling relationship with someone is the NavPress Bible study booklet Growing in Christ. It has 13 simple chapters that lead you into the Scriptures, starting with the “assurances” I mentioned earlier (except in more detail), and includes memory cards for memorizing a key verse for each chapter.
Think about a person you’d like to start meeting with to help him or her grow spiritually. What’s the appropriate starting point for that person?