Have you ever personally led a soul to Christ? I would venture to say that the majority of professing Christians will live their entire life without ever leading even a single soul to Christ. Why is that?
Some of the main reasons are:
They don’t think it is their responsibility (2 Cor. 5:14-21)
They are fearful (2 Tim. 1:7)
They are unsure of how to go about it (2 Tim. 2:15)
There are numerous passages in the New Testament that provide examples on how to do personal work. Many of them concern the gospel of the kingdom, but we can still learn good principles from those passages on how to deal with people (e.g. Nicodemus in Jn. 3, the woman at the well in Jn. 4, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8). In the book of Acts we have the record of Paul dealing with different kinds of people (e.g. a woman, a jailer, and government officials).
Basic guidelines for doing personal work:
Pray about and look for opportunities to give the gospel (be soul conscious)
Deal with people where they are
Use your personal testimony (Paul did)
Be real, not mechanical (show compassion)
Rely on the Spirit of God, He is the real soul-winner (no tactics, gimmicks, tricks)
Use gospel tracts
Don’t give up on people if they don’t immediately respond
Experience is the best teacher
How to lead a soul to Christ:
Turn the conversation toward spiritual things
How do we bring it up? Do we just bluntly ask out of nowhere, “Are you saved?” The starting point can be difficult, but once we turn the conversation toward spiritual things it gets easier to talk to people about the gospel. I find the best way is to ask the person about their church background. How they respond will immediately give you a basic framework concerning the beliefs of the person you are dealing with. Once we start talking about church, I say something to this effect, “Going to a Bible-believing church is good, but according to the Bible salvation is not found in any church. The most important thing is to know for sure that you are saved. Do you know for sure that you are saved?” If they say no, ask them if you can share with them what the Bible says about how they can KNOW. If they say yes, ask them HOW they know. If they are not interested, there is no need to pressure them.
Establish that they are a condemned sinner
The first step in leading a soul to Christ is showing them from the scripture that they are lost. Romans is the doctrinal book on salvation for this age of grace. In the first main part of it, Paul proves that all are guilty sinners in need of salvation (Rom. 3:10, 23; 6:23a). Explain that God is righteous and we all come short of His standard of righteousness, and therefore we deserve death and hell (give specific examples of sin). If a person will not accept the bad news, they will not believe the good news (Acts 24:24-25).
Explain that they cannot be saved by works
As long as a person is trusting in any works that they can do, they cannot truly trust the finished work of Christ (Rom. 8:8; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Salvation is not Christ plus something, but Christ ALONE.
Present the gospel of Christ clearly
Once a person knows that they are a condemned sinner, and there is nothing they can do to fix it, they are ready to hear the good news of the salvation Christ accomplished for them through His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21). The key words are “Christ died FOR our sins.” He died for ALL of our sins and paid our sin debt in FULL. His resurrection on the third day is the proof that the Father accepted the payment. Emphasize that the purpose of salvation is being reconciled to God, not just going to heaven when we die. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but not everybody wants to be right with God.
Invite them to TRUST Christ as their Personal Savior
How do people get saved (Eph. 1:12-14)? They key word is “TRUSTED.” There is no example in the Bible of leading someone in a sinner’s prayer. People are religious by nature and can be easily misled to say a prayer without trusting Christ. We must trust the Holy Spirit to do His work.
Start with witnessing to your lost family, friends, and acquaintances. Look for opportunities daily. When a soul gets saved it is not the end of our responsibility. We need to help them grow spiritually (Gal. 4:19). What a great privilege and joy it is to lead others to Christ (1 Thess. 2:19-20)!