Leaders create opportunities to Connect People

Leaders connect with people where they are at, inviting them to share in the passion and vision of the vision of the leader.  The sincerity and depth of connection determines the commitment to the shared vision.

Look at this short inspirational video by Werner Joubert (pastor of Shofar Christian Church in Secunda, South Africa) on why and how to create platforms to connect with people.



Luke 5:27-29

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Observations and reflection questions

Context: Especially Jewish tax collectors were despised by the Jewish community who felt betrayed and oppressed by their extortion and disgusted by their notoriously immoral lifestyles.

  1. Why would it be strange that Jesus would invite a notorious sinner such as Levi saying “follow me”? What did the invitation imply?
  2. Why would the Pharisees and scribes grumble at Jesus’ attendance of Levi’s feast?
  3. What do you think was Levi’s motive for holding a feast “with tax collectors and sinners”, shortly after leaving all and following Jesus (in discipleship)?
  4. Why, in your own words, did Jesus attend the feast? (verses 31-32)

Personal Reflection and Application

Levi was a chief tax collector employed by the Romans to tax his own oppressed people.  Therefore, he and his fellow tax collectors were despised and ostracized from his countrymen, cut off from the God of his fathers.  Until the Jesus invited him to become his disciple.  So the first thing he did was to hold a feast where all his fellow “tax collectors and sinners” can meet Jesus, the Rabi who was not intimidated by their sinful ways, and who would gladly associate and minister to them.

  1. Do you feel uncomfortable around “sinners”? If yes – why?
  2. What is the difference before God between yourself and a “sinner” a.k.a. “bad person”? [or what makes a “sinner” bad in the eyes of God, and what makes you good in the eyes of God?]
  3. Pray that God will remove any form of self-righteousness and judgment from your heart.
  1. In which way can you set up a platform (such as Matthew’s Feast) to create a space where people can connect with God or God’s people in a non-threatening, sincere way? Discuss this with your accountability partner or mature Christian Friend.
  2. Pray that God will help you think of practical, non-threatening ways to engage and connect with people around you with the sincerity and love of Christ.

Consider this testimony by Bill Hybels as an example of connecting with people, so that you may share the love of Christ with them.

How leaders can grow in evangelistic grace

John the Baptist was “sent to bear witness that all might believe” – and we all believe in Christ today because of his effective witness. What can we learn form him?

Look at this short inspirational video by Andre Kruger on growing in the evangelistic anointing. For more on his teachings and to obtain a copy of his book Increasing Heaven’s Flow in 40 days go to www.heavensflow.org



John 1:6-8 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John 1:23  He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.“ (cf Isa 40:3-5)

John 1:29-37

29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” 35  The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36  and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

Observations and Revelation

Context: Theses sections of Scripture introduce and record the core ministry of John the Baptist.  

  1. In short, what was the main ministry of John the Baptist? [John 1:23 and 31]
  2. What does it mean “to [be a] witness”? [hint: to a journalist, or to a court of law]
  3. John was a few months older that his cousin Jesus. So what do you think he meant when he said of Jesus: “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me”? (verse30) [hint: you might want to read John 3:26-30 for some context]
  4. What do you understand under these four phrases that introduce the ministry of John the Baptist (verses 6-8)?
  • “sent from God”
  • “not The Light”
  • “sent to bear witness”
  • “that all through him might believe”
  1. What was the immediate response to John’s witness of Jesus?


Personal Reflection and Application

John the Baptist had the privileged to witness the Spirit of God descend on the Jesus and announce to everyone in Israel that This Man is the Promised Messiah – that all might trust and believe in Him for their salvation.

  1. John the Baptist witnessed and two of his own disciples followed Jesus immediately. To whom have you witnessed recently that resulted in their belief and following of Jesus?
  2. Make bullet points about your salvation testimony (or another significant thing the Lord has done in your life) and then evaluate your story in the light of John the Baptist’s effective witness of Jesus:

“sent from God” – knowing that you are commissioned by Jesus

“not The Light” – witnessing in such a way to not take the glory that belongs to Jesus

“sent to bear witness” – to simply tell of what you have seen and experienced

“that all through him might believe” ­– to witness in such a way that people will believe

  1. Pray for boldness to be an effective witness of Jesus Christ’s work in your life. Prayerfully consider whom you will witness to in the next 3 days “that they might believe”. [You might want to first share your testimony above with a Christian friend, and ask for his or her input].



Practical Evangelism 5 – Good news to ALL

The aim of this devotional study is to remind yourself that ALL are in need of Christ’s atoning grace, regardless of gender, class, culture or race.


Today we will do a comparative study, comparing Nicodemus (John 3) with the woman at the well (John 4) and see what we learn from Christ’s interaction with them.

Nicodemus Samaritan_Woman

John 3:1-18

1  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9  Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10  Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Observations and reflection

Note: In the gospel of John the author deliberately places two accounts of individual encounters with Jesus next to each other – in stark contrast – to highlight one truth about the universal need of all people.

  1. Compare Nicodemus to the Samaritan woman at the well with one another by studying the text above.
Comparison Nicodemus (John 3:1-18) The Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42)
Gender Woman
Ethnicity Samaritan
Morality Immoral
Education No notable education
Political Status No political status
Religious Status No religious status
Time of encounter At noon
Venue of encounter In public
Who initiated? Jesus initiated the conversation
  1. What do you learn by comparing the two people who encountered Jesus above?
  2. Although Nicodemus was an educated Jewish man of religious and political status he sensed life with Jesus that he did not know. Summarize Jesus’ answer about the key to that life.

Personal reflection and Application

By placing these two accounts next to each other John deliberately shows that Jesus is indeed “God so loved the World that He gave His Son so that WHOEVER believes in Him shall be saved…” (3:16) and “this man is indeed the Savior of the world!” (John 4:42)

  1. We mostly find it easier to witness and “share the Gospel” to the poor and uneducated – to the “Samaritan women” we encounter. But we tend to withhold our witness to the rich, educated and powerful – the “Nicodemus”-like people we live and work with.
    1. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to rich people?
    2. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to educated people?
    3. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to influential people?
    4. What intimidates you? Why?
    5. What are the big things all people have in common?
    6. Why does every person need to hear the gospel and respond?
  2. List a few “Nicodemus”-like people who work or live around you. Who will tell them of the life-giving power of Christ?


Again, thank God for the person who introduced you to Christ, and His generous gift of salvation and pray that God will bless that person.  Ask the Lord for grace to see the heart and minds of ALL PEOPLE through the eyes of God – especially those who live with more money and power in this world.  Then pray for those Nicodemus-like people in your life by name, that God will make them receptive for the Gospel and that you will be bold to speak when the time comes.

A meeting at night, a meeting at noon

One was rich and one was poor

One a Samaritan, the other a Jew

But both needed Christ

As I do you.

Practical Evangelism 2 – Who Jesus is

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on and apply John the Baptist witness of Jesus Christ.


John 1:29-34

29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  30  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  31  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  33  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  34  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Observation and reflection

Context: This event took place in the week leading up to Passover, the feast by which the Jews celebrate God’s great deliverance of the ancestors from Egyptian slavery.  During this festival every family ought to slaughter a lamb and eat unleavened bread while retelling the history of this great deliverance.

  1. List everything that John the Baptist reveals about
    1. The identity of Jesus.
    2. The ministry of Jesus.
  2. From where does John get his confidence about the identity and ministry of Jesus? [verses 32-34]
  3. Considering the context and timing of this witness of Jesus, why John’s declaring of Jesus being “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” draw so much attention? And what would that mean for the Jews who came out to be baptized by John?

Personal reflection and Application

From this portion we can learn that John’s witness has three important elements: (1) a witness to who Jesus is; (2) a witness to what Jesus has done; (3) a witness to how someone can personally know Him.

  1. Prepare to witness like John:
    1. John announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”, “one on Whom the Spirit rests” (or “the Christ/ Anointed One of God”), and “the Son of God”. Who do you KNOW Jesus to be?
    2. John witnessed that Jesus would die for the sins of the world. What do you KNOW has Jesus done for you personally?
    3. John knew Jesus by the voice of God and the Spirit of God – he had a special revelation of who Jesus was and what He would do. How do you KNOW Jesus?  And how can someone KNOW Him the way you do?
  2. Contact a Christian friend – make an appointment to share this with him/ her. Ask him/her for feedback.
  3. Find a non-believer and ask them if you can share something personal with them – then witness to them about who you know Jesus is, what He has done and how he/she can know Him.


Thank God for what Jesus has done for you.  Ask for boldness and accuracy to witness in sincerity.