Robert grew up in the church and believed he had a good sense of Christian beliefs, but he struggled with whether he could have faith in the Jesus people often preached.
When Justin Knippers, a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his wife, Michaela, started their evangelism efforts with Robert, he often came to them with a long list of questions about faith. So, over the course of about three months this spring semester, the couple established a team effort in their evangelism, patiently answering Robert’s questions and presenting the Gospel.
Michaela works with Robert in a grocery store bakery, where long shifts afforded them numerous in-depth conversations about their lives. As Michaela and Justin discussed how she could more intentionally engage with Robert as well as other co-workers, she started inviting Robert to attend a church service and connected him with Justin for more personal conversations.
Robert eventually began attending Lane Prairie Baptist Church in Joshua, Texas, where Justin serves as the student pastor. Meeting in person for the first time, Robert eventually asked Justin to disciple him.
Though Justin knew that discipleship is primarily for believers, he nevertheless said yes. “I started this idea of evangelizing him through discipleship,” Justin says.
Justin and Robert started meeting regularly for these “discipleship” moments, while Michaela continued ministering to and sharing the Gospel with him. Throughout these meetings, Robert continued to struggle with his faith and what the idea of “faith” even meant.
Robert showed up every week with a list of questions and doubts about faith, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. Justin remained patient and answered the questions as he was able.
One day, following a Sunday morning church service, Robert sent Justin a list of questions longer than usual. Though Justin was able to answer each one, he ultimately confronted Robert directly.
“You can ask all the questions in the entire world, and you can have all of them answered with biblical reasonings and things like that,” Justin told him. “But at the end of the day, having all the facts answered won’t bring you to faith. There is some faith that has to be involved to lead you to Christ.”
A few days later, Robert admitted that Justin’s words had weighed on his mind and often kept him up at night. He eventually came to the conclusion that he could either accept Christ as his Lord and Savior or reject Him forever.
Robert shared with Justin and Michaela that he had chosen the former, putting his questions and doubts aside and, through prayer, placing his faith in Jesus, surrendering his life to Him.
Justin and Michaela immediately celebrated Robert’s salvation and praised God for the opportunity to see the fruit of their months-long evangelism efforts. Justin says Robert is excited to be a new believer and is already eager to share the Good News with his own friends.
“Discipleship has now moved from evangelistic discipleship to believer’s discipleship,” Justin says. “Now we are meeting up to encourage and help him develop his theology. He’s really enjoying it and very thankful.”