The majority of people come to faith in Christ through a process. Don Everts and Doug Schaupp wrote a book that helps us think through this process. “I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus” was published by Intervarsity Press in 2009.

Don and Doug interviewed close to 2000 people who started as skeptics and found faith in Jesus. They wanted to see what patterns if any existed in the stories of these individuals. They identified five “thresholds” that skeptics typically go through to find faith in Christ:

How you help people draw closer to Jesus is different at each threshold. For acquaintances, who don’t know you well enough to trust you as a Christian, you simply want to take a genuine interest in the person. Become a good listener. Love and care for them. Be open about how your relationship with God is important to you but don’t worry if you don’t get to talking about Jesus right away.

Once your acquaintance/friend trusts you and sees the difference that Christ makes in your life, they will sometimes become curious and want to know more. In response share the story of your spiritual journey, how your faith and trust in Christ helps you face life and its challenges.

According to the authors for many people the third threshold is the most difficult to cross. Many people resist change. Pray that God would open your friend’s eyes to see their spiritual needs and specifically their need for God. Going through personal difficulties may help them to cross this threshold. This is a good stage to suggest they read one of the four Gospels. This will help them discover the love of Christ.

As they begin seeking after God, clearly present the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection on their behalf. Encourage them to make a commitment of faith in Christ, which is the fifth and final threshold.

Think of each of your friends and acquaintances. Where might they be in progressing through these thresholds?

Unless otherwise noted all scripture is taken from the New International Version, ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.