Leading People Toward the Discipleship Journey

As we have worked to understand our identity in Christ, our mission with Christ, and the good we are called to do in the world, let’s explore a few principles that can help us see those yet to follow Jesus begin the journey toward being a follower of Christ.


The apostle Peter described what it means to live lives that are attractive to those yet-to-know Christ. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).

The good and exemplary living of God’s people is meant to attract attention in a world where hatred, violence, and self-centeredness can seem to rule the day. Michael Frost, in his book Surprise the World exhorts believers to live “questionable” lives. Do you live in such radical, compassionate, others-centered ways that people ask questions and begin to associate you with Jesus?


Consider the “incarnational” model of Jesus. John 1:14 in The Message says, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” Jesus ate what we ate. He lived where we lived. He experienced what we experienced. As Jesus came into the world and became like us to reach us, we also must be among others and be like them in order to reach them. While we don’t enter into sinful behavior, we walk the paths they walk, experience the trials they experience, know their pains, eat the same food, and do so with joy God provides. Shared experience is the means of laying relational foundations for people to see Jesus in us.


As we meet people who are on their way to the Kingdom, it is important for us to meet them where they are and bring a right-sized conversation about the gospel. Generic, scripted approaches, may be easy to pull out of our hip pocket whenever we need it, but it is more effective to bring the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom to people in a way that connects with their felt needs and current situation in life.

A person in need of a job may want us to help them network with others. A person home sick after surgery may need a meal. A person going through a breakup may need a listening ear.

“Right-sized” conversations and actions are a powerful on ramp to telling people about Jesus. When we love, serve, and walk with people in hard times, we are embodying the Good News of the kingdom of God, setting us up to share the message.


Every person may not “click” with you as an individual. Your stories, personalities, and interests may be completely different. But when we go into our world and relate to friends alongside other believers, there are all kinds of benefits.

The most powerful expression of our love for Jesus is when it is displayed in the context of Christ-centered relationships. Imagine the hope and curiosity that is generated when not-yet-believing people observe believers that are truly loving one another in the way that Jesus has commanded us.


We talked about getting out of “the bubble” of Christian subculture a few posts ago. When pursuing a life that brings people to Christ, consider how you can spend time at a “third place” to develop relationship with those who don’t yet know Christ. Coffee shops, playgroups and even recreational sports leagues are great places to start.

I trust these principles for leading people toward Jesus and becoming followers of him are helpful and doable. . Just as Jesus spent His life on behalf of the “sick” and the “lost,” it will be the same for us. We’ll see this common theme as we consider some basic methods for discipling in 2021 in our next post.

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