By David Platt
As we walk in the presence of Christ, we’ll have opportunities to make new disciples of Jesus. We’ll have the privilege of inviting people to turn from their sin and trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. This won’t happen because of our cleverness or evangelistic prowess; it will happen because of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
But how should we handle these moments on a practical level? What should we say and what should we do when God grants us the privilege of harvesting a new follower of Christ?
Prayer is a right and biblical response to the gospel. When you share the gospel, it’s good to invite people to call out for God to save them. At the same time, it’s unnecessary (and in some ways unhelpful) to tell people what they must say in order to be saved.
If, after hearing the gospel clearly and fully, people see God for who He is, their sin for what it is, and Christ for who He is and what He’s done, and if they’re willing to repent and believe in Jesus—to turn from their sin and to trust in Him as Savior and Lord—then there are no particular words they need to recite. There’s no added value in asking them to repeat certain words after you say them.
Rather, the Spirit of God has awakened their hearts to the gospel of God, He enables them to repent and believe—to cry out for His mercy as they submit to His majesty. So encourage them to do so at that moment. And in some cases it may actually be best to encourage people to be alone with God so that you won’t unknowingly, unintentionally, or unhelpfully manipulate a decision, circumstance, or situation.
Basically, as you call others to submit to the Person of Christ, you can trust the Spirit of Christ to bring them to salvation. In the same way you’ve committed to depend on the presence of Christ as His disciple, allow new believers to depend on His presence as they choose to follow Him.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, once someone repents and believes in Christ, be willing to lead that person as a new follower of Christ.
Remember, our goal isn’t to count decisions; our goal is to make disciples—and to do so through the presence and power of God’s Spirit in us.