FAQs for Evangelism

Click on a title to expand / contract the answer.

Do I have to include seekers?


Many groups use the study simply for discipling.

How can I combine evangelism with discipleship?

The approach of the Person of Jesus combines evangelism and discipleship. For some people, this is a new idea. Here are some reflections on this idea:

  • "Our group included a neighbor who was a graduate student in Catholic theology, a former neighbor who is Catholic and had never studied the Bible before, and also did not seem to know the Lord personally, a neighbor who had never seen a Bible before, a neighbor from a more liberal Presbyterian denomination, and two or three other evangelicals. We all learned, and we all learned together. I have been a Christian for over 30 years, and consider myself to be pretty familiar with the Bible from attending and leading inductive discussion Bible studies, but I learned to see Jesus in a whole new way, noticing details about his loving ways that I had never seen in the Scriptures before."
    - Ruth Ann Irwin, participant in a Person of Jesus study
  • “When we had our Person of Jesus study in New Jersey last year, most of the folks who participated were from our church but we sought both to disciple and to evangelize because not everyone there was a Christian, and even if they were, who doesn’t need to be reminded of who is Jesus over and over again. We figured that if the focus was on Christ, then the study would undoubtedly build into the lives of both believer and not-yet believer. ”
    - Greg Houck, Pastor, leader of a Person of Jesus study
  • “The 'evangelism-discipleship' tension is one of the abiding tensions because of our tendency to bifurcate unities and obsess on one half only. In fact, Jesus invites people, 'Come follow me,' and Jesus says to those already following,  'Keep coming and following me.' 'Evangelism' and 'discipleship' sound far apart to many people; but 'Come on over and keep coming on over' aren’t that far apart: Colossians 2:6 and Matthew 28:19f are just 2 of countless passages that have such 'initial turning' and 'keep on turning' implications simultaneously. You will continually be breaking down 'hardening of the categories.'”
    - David Powlison (PhD), Westminster Theological Seminary
  • “It seems to me that the command in the Great Commission is laden with a command to action, and yet literally says make disciples. In the study we’ve had here, the Word is doing its work and the folks who are not coming to Christ are definitely disturbed, internally wrestling with what their view is of God. We have just told people we were going to study the Bible in order to learn more of who Jesus is. I guess God has just gone before us. It’s a great study. ”
    - Melody Burke, Church staff and co-leader of a Person of Jesus study
  • “The fact that Love Walked Among Us and the Person of Jesus are useful to both evangelism and discipleship is indicative of the gospel’s power to both evangelize non-Christians and to edify Christians. This is an important truth that is often missing in our current debate over 'seeker and non-seeker' services. It is true if you preach/teach in such a way to reach Christians you will lose non-Christians and if you preach/teach in such a way to reach non-Christians you will lose (bore) Christians. I think both approaches are wrong.... if we preach Christ we will reach both Christians and non-Christians for Jesus. Jesus said, 'When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.' I think we make a BIG mistake when we think Christians need more than Jesus and non-Christians something less!”
    - John Stringer, pastor, leader of Person of Jesus study
  • “People want too sharply to divide the work of evangelism and discipleship. What they should be doing is seeing that everyone needs the gospel no matter where you are. Churches have groups that are segregated (believer groups and unbeliever groups) rather than letting folks care for and struggle with each other all in the same group. If they would have more full spectrum groups, then everyone would see their need and other’s needs and use the gospel more effectively. Your material seems to be meeting that need. That’s why both believers and unbelievers are drawn to it. The gospel is for everyone and we can grow deeper and investigate the surface all in one study. ”
    - Drew Derreth, Pastor
  • “The Person of Jesus Study is a valuable tool for discipleship and evangelism. Is not that what the gospel is—both? After dinner, I like to have dessert. They each have a different purpose but I crave them both. The POJ is like the total meal. ”
    - Scott McBride, Person of Jesus study participant

Should I use the study for discipleship or evangelism?

Do both at the same time!

“Evangelize the Christians and disciple the lost. I don’t know if that works as a marketing theme but I think it fits the Person of Jesus material.”
- Pastor, leader of a Person of Jesus study

The Advantages for Non-Christians

  1. Non-Christians see that Christians are struggling with the same issues they are. Stereotypes are broken down.
  2. As the study is a “learning” event (instead of an “evangelistic” event), non-Christians are relieved of the pressure to convert. More than one non-Christian participating in a Person of Jesus study has said, “I’m so relieved that no one tried to convert me.”
  3. Non-Christians learn to study the Bible from their first exposure to it.
  4. Non-Christians learn a mindset of being a disciple of Jesus from the very beginning. This holds out the prospect of a more sincere convert instead of someone who has made a quick, emotional decision.

The Advantages for Christians

  1. Discipling is so much richer when combined with evangelism. It is such a delight to see non-Christians discovering eternal life in Jesus.
  2. Evangelism frequently gets “put off” until we are ready, and then it gets forgotten. By bringing unbelievers into our Bible study, it is not forgotten.
  3. The pressure comes off Christians, because they are not trying to convert someone quickly, but instead are developing relationships while learning more about Jesus themselves.

Reasons for using the Person of Jesus study only for the purpose of discipling Christians

  1. Learning to love is a wonderful goal in and of itself.
  2. Gives the leader time to become familiar with material before teaching it to a new audience.
    a.Gives you time to pray for non-Christians who you might invite to a study.
    b.Gives the Holy Spirit time to fill you with Christlike love.



How do I get unchurched people to come to a 48-week study on Jesus?

  1. We don’t invite people to a Bible study. We don’t say, “Would you come to a Bible study on Jesus?” The word Bible makes some people nervous. Say something like, “We’re having a four week study on what Jesus is like as a person and how he relates to people as a way of seeing what love is. Would you be interested in coming?” Even better, if you have been through one of the Person of Jesus Training Seminars or been through the Person of Jesus study in your small group at church you can say something like, “I have been through this study on what Jesus is like as a person. The study looks at him as a model for what love is and how to relate to people. It has been a help to my husband and me.”
  2. Many people are hurting and lonely, and we don’t even know it. We assume their lives are okay because everything seems normal on the surface. A Muslim woman attended a study because someone had put a flyer on her mailbox. She told the women at the study that she was so lonely she would have responded to anything. A Jewish woman in Philadelphia was willing to study about Jesus for almost twenty weeks because she was separated from her husband.
  3. The commitment is only for four or six weeks. At the end of four weeks, ask them if they want to go on for another four weeks. By that time, commitment has usually become a non-issue because they are enjoying not only the study of Jesus but also the fellowship of Christians. The Jewish woman mentioned above wouldn’t even commit to four weeks—only to coming once. But she kept doing that for almost five months, each week committing herself to only one more week.
  4. People are intrigued by Jesus. Even Norman Mailer has gotten into the act by writing a book about him.

This is the most frequently asked question. Christians are skeptical that non-Christians would want to come and study about Jesus because we have felt “the wall” when we mention any thing about Jesus, the Bible, Christianity, the gospel, or church. Often, non-Christians will change the subject, tell us flat out they aren’t interested, or say they have other commitments. Frankly, they get nervous when religion comes up.

But non-Christians are willing to come to this study. What is my evidence? 90% of the people who try Person of Jesus studies are able to get non-Christians to come more than once. Why would non-Christians want to come?

Someone spoke a heresy or untruth.

    1. Pray to know whether you should respond.
    2. Sometimes it is best to say nothing. Your goal is to have people surrender their life to King Jesus and believe the gospel. Be careful not to be sidetracked on side issues, especially in the beginning of a relationship.
    3. Sometimes you should respond
      a.If you have gotten to know him or her and have built up some trust.
      b.If he or she has repeated the idea several times.
      c.If others in the group are being influenced by it.
    4. How to respond
      a.Throw the question out for others in the group in such a way that a Christian can respond. I.e., “Have any of you thought about this question?”
      b.Answer the question. Remember you do not have to share every angle on an answer. An answer you might give in church or seminary might be different from an answer you would give to a seeker. Check out our Apologetics page for more ideas.


    a.Ask him or her if you can take time to research an answer and get back to it next week.

Someone asked a hard theological question that I do not know how to answer

  1. Pray silently to yourself. The Holy Spirit is the best teacher.
  2. Ask the person why he or she asked the question. This is important because for some people the question may stem from a deep heart issue, for some it may be something they heard, and others may just be testing you. When Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king, Jesus asks Pilate if he is asking the question on his own initiative or if it is hearsay from others. Jesus is probing Pilate to discern his motive.
  3. If you know a good answer, then share it. You do not have to share every nuance of Biblical truth.

People seem to be making little progress. What am I doing wrong?

When you are sharing Jesus, expect things to get messy. Here is an email from a woman who is leading a Person of Jesus study:

“Let me update you on the non-Christian girl coming to our Bible study. She says she ‘accepted’ Jesus after class the first day. She has continued coming, but she has pulled back from me a little. She lives with her baby and her boyfriend, the baby’s father. She asked me to look into a place she could go so she could leave her boyfriend. After I made an appointment for her to just go see the place, she gradually backed out and then away from me.”

Look at the messiness: Is the woman truly a believer? Why is she backing away? How do you relate to her when she has backed away?

When you bring Jesus where he is not known, you enter territory long held by Satan. Satan resists intrusions into his kingdom. The friction of two kingdoms at war results in messiness.

Von Clausewitz, the military thinker, writes in his classic book, On War, that one of the characteristics of the battlefield is “a fog or moonshine [that] gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.” [Von Clausvitz, On War (New York: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 189.] Military strategists call this the “fog of war.”

What does fog do? It makes visibility not only poor, but also distorted. A tree several feet in front of you may be clear, while the cliff just to your left is totally invisible.

It is easy to think that this messiness means you’ve done something wrong. You might have, and you need to look at that, but often it just means you’ve made contact with the enemy and you are in the battle.

This kind of suffering is particularly unnerving for Americans. We like a tidy world that works reasonably well. A secret of Satan’s power is using confusion to unnerve us. He has little recourse because the kingdom of heaven is so powerful. Satan has no power to create, to bring life. Jesus does. Satan can only destroy by bringing confusion through his lies.

In short, the inevitable feel of spiritual warfare is confusion. When you feel confusion, slow down, dig in, and pray—it is your air support. The weapons that God has given us (prayer, the Holy Spirit, the love of Christians, the Word, and the gospel) are relentlessly victorious against Satan if given time. We mustn’t get discouraged because we don’t see progress. We just need to stay in the fight.

People aren’t becoming Christians.

You have been meeting for a year and your friend is still not a Christian.

Relax. Billy Graham became a Christian after attending about 40 evangelistic meetings. (It was an 11-week crusade that met every night. He started at the end of the first month and became a Christian near the end.) He was sixteen years old at the time so since age three he had already heard about 676 sermons, 676 Sunday School lessons, and about 4,700 daily family devotions. In other words, he had been to about 6,000 Bible studies before he became a believer. The lesson? Be patient!

You are not sure if someone is a believer.

That is typical. Some are believers but are just untaught and some are not believers. You cannot always tell. But the same gospel works for both Christians and non-Christians so do not worry about it. Give them both the gospel.

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