1. How much training do I need before making a call to faith?
Basic evangelism training - like the Big Story, 5 Thresholds, the ability to share their testimony, and general relational evangelism skills - are useful to have. Still, all of this training doesn’t need to happen before a leader gives a call to faith. Sometimes training can happen on the go, simultaneously, or even in a hearty debrief.
The key is to pair your ministry activities with training, coaching, and excellent debrief.
2. What if there aren’t any skeptics or seekers in my group?
Everyone in your group needs to respond actively as they encounter God in Scripture. You don’t want to assume where people are at. Some longtime Christians may need to make a first-time adult decision where they claim faith as their own. Others may seem like Christians, but actually don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus. They need to move from cultural Christianity into living out their faith. When a leader acknowledges and articulates the importance of a first-time decision, you might be surprised.
At San Diego Mesa College, students in a small group took four non-Christians to camp and came back with seven new believers. It was important for them to ask! Offering regular decision moments helps people in your ministry articulate where they are at in that given moment and what decision they need to make.
3. It won’t work on my campus or with the students here.
Calls to faith are not meant to be a “one size fits all” strategy - this is just a framework. It will still need to be molded for whatever context you may encounter.
4. How much of the gospel do I have to share?
There’s a spectrum from someone’s first “yes” to Jesus and their full understanding of the gospel. The Big Story covers the key parts for a first “yes.” Often, searching for a perfect gospel presentation keeps us from taking the risk of actually sharing the gospel - try it, and continue to have conversations if your friends have questions!
5. What makes a successful call to faith?
The leader experiences God. The people in the group experience God as well. The gospel is shared. People respond to God’s leading.
6. What makes an unsuccessful call?
If God asks a student or faculty member to do it, and they don’t. Or if a leader is pushed into it, and their faith is damaged. It’s okay if people say “no” to an invitation, but it’s not okay if the leader says “no” to God.
7. What about the music and the moment?
In large group, light and music often play a part in creating a moment. The same presentation in a small group will feel slick and produced. The strengths of a small group setting are intimacy and personal hospitality. We can use these strengths to create space for a significant moment.
8. Isn’t it awkward?
Of course. It’s more natural to run away from God. So a first-time response to God may feel awkward, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Deciding to follow Jesus is one of the most significant decisions we can make in our lives. Inviting people to follow Jesus is not only scary; the Enemy also wants to stop us from doing it. Of course it’s awkward. But it’s awkward precisely because it is that important.