In a previous post I listed a number of different seekers I’d come across in pastoral ministry. Today I’ve got some tips for dealing with seekers. First some reminders then some questions.
Remember the person’s background: If no church background, he may speak very differently about what he’s experiencing compared to a churched person.
Remember the person’s age: Don’t expect mature spiritual vocabulary. If a child, you may need to involve/inform parents.
Remember the person’s education: Use words and sentences appropriate to their mental abilities.
Remember the person’s theology: May have picked up bits and pieces of theology here and there. May be using same words as you but with different meaning attached to them.
Remember the person’s vulnerability: It is very difficult for most people to speak about their inner spiritual struggles and desires.
Remember the person’s uniqueness: Christ dealt so differently with so many kinds of sinners – Peter, woman at the well, Syrophoenician woman, etc.
Remember the person’s prejudices: If you are a pastor the seeker may think you are perfect, that you are nothing like him. Maybe tell parts of your own story to show that you are like them in many ways.
Remember the person’s need: Point them to Christ early and often. Don’t dwell all the time on their inner feelings and thoughts. They may have lesser needs you can help them with in the meantime.
Remember the person’s fears: Give them early hope through texts like John 3:16-17 and 1 Timothy 1:15.
Remember the person’s eternity: Their eternal future is at stake. Be serious, thorough, careful. Don’t be dismissive or casual.
Remember the person’s suspicions: May be skeptical of you or of pastors/counsellors in general. Base all counsel on the word of God.
There are three groups of questions to ask seekers
1. Do they know the Gospel?
What do you think of the Bible? Inspired? Inerrant?
Do you understand their sinfulness, depravity, inability? What do you think about that? What does God think about that?
Are you a good person or partly good?
What do you know about God, especially God as Three-in-one.
Do you know the facts of the history of redemption? Do you accept them as true?
2. Do they understand the Gospel?
Do you understand grace? Substitutionary atonement? Regeneration?
Why did Jesus have to die?
Do you understand what faith and repentance are?
How is a person saved? How does a person get to heaven?
3. Have they accepted/received/appropriated the Gospel?
If not, what’s holding you back? Obstacles, hindrances, attitude? Proud, humble teachable, evasive?
What have you done to seek and find salvation? What has helped or not helped?
What other questions would you ask?