Recently my friend Craig recommended the book “I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus.” Craig plants postmodern churches that are raised out of the surrounding culture. He helped envision and coach 12 plants in the past three years. Craig knows what he’s talking about. So I Kindled the book and sat down to read it today.
The book provides an excellent overview of leading people to Jesus. Authors Doug Schaupp and Don Everts work with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. In the past 10 years they (and many friends) have seen more than 2,000 college students choose to follow Jesus Christ. I like their emphasis on the path being both mysterious and organic. This is in stark contrast to the traditional/modernistic approach of classical apologetics and truth-based certainty.
They have debriefed many of these students to get inside their heads and find out what barriers they faced in coming to know Jesus. Five thresholds that postmoderns must cross include:
- from distrust to trust. Somewhere along the line they learned to trust a Christian.
- from complacent to curious.
- from being closed to change to being open to change in their life. This usually proved to be the hardest.
- from meandering to seeking. There is a big difference between the curious investigator and someone who actively, purposefully, even urgently seeks God.
- and finally crossing the threshold of the kingdom itself. They needed to repent and believe and give their life to Jesus.
We serve our friends by sticking with them through each stage and helping them identify where they are on their journey toward God. Though I don’t believe each stage is as clear-cut as the book suggests, the authors’ framework will help anyone who genuinely desires to nudge, guide and lead someone else to connect with Jesus.