FAQ on Contextualization
Just like for all of us, the 5 Thresholds should be aspirational. Everyone (Christians and non-Christians alike) should desire to become more curious, more open and transparent, a better seeker of Jesus, etc. Jesus is an expert at inviting his people to become more curious, more honest, more clear about their quest...let’s be like Jesus and do this all together.
Nominal Christians claim the identity of Christian without a true and abiding faith in Jesus. They can be difficult to identify because they use our lingo, sing our songs, and like to hang out with us. We recommend that you focus on the 4 Threshold in helping nominals take next steps. Focus their quest. You have the honor of pointing out common concerns and objections to following Jesus with our whole lives:
- Help them become trust builders with others.
- Help them become curious about the real Jesus.
- Help them wrestle with some passages in the Gospels they have never seen before.
- Help them become open about real needs in their lives, and bringing those honest needs to Jesus.
- Focus their quest. Name possible barriers and objections to trusting Jesus with area of their lives and future.
International Student Ministry
International students tend to be curious because they are studying in the U.S. Let’s get better at inviting them into openness. Please ask them:
- What’s your spiritual background?”
- What has surprised you the most about Christians?”
- What are some challenges or barriers that might keep you from following Jesus?
- How is learning from Jesus challenging your personal values and relationships?
Grad & Faculty
“The beauty of the Five Thresholds is that it helps grad students and faculty see that having the right answer is not nearly as important as being a trust-worthy friend. I like to remind students and faculty that we can actually build trust by exploring answers together with our friends and NOT giving them immediate answers. Grad students and faculty are often very good at asking questions, so another strength with the Thresholds is focus on asking good questions to help folks on their spiritual journey. Lastly, GFM folks have been responding positively when given a chance to follow Jesus for themselves.” - (Melodie Marske, GFM Regional Director)
We interviewed various new believers in Turkey and we noticed that both devout and nominal Muslims do pretty much follow the 5 Thresholds. We also discovered that they are very slow to trust Christians and to become curious. God often used dreams to help them become open and seek Jesus. The 5 Thresholds are very helpful with people of other faiths:
- Go to their faith event and read their religious texts in order to build trust and reciprocity.
- Be curious about what they believe. Ask good questions about their experience and convictions.
- Tell them honest stories about your needs and how you bring your issues to Jesus in prayer. Ask if you can pray for them in the name of Jesus. “It is fine if you do not believe in Jesus. I need to pray in the name of Jesus because it’s the only way I know how to access his power.
- You would like Jesus. I love this story about the two thieves and Jesus. One mocks him. The other asks for mercy. Jesus welcomes only one into heaven. (Luke 23: 32-43).