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Helping people pursue God doesn’t always start with someone’s spiritual needs. If you really want to make a disciple, you might need to consider a person’s felt needs first.

Key Points:

  • What kind of felt needs? If you are available to help when people feel a need, you show that you care and that you can be trusted when something more personal arises.
  • Felt needs can lead to spiritual needs. Jesus typically started with felt needs in order to demonstrate his concern for people. He healed and fed people. At times this led to deeper conversations – but sometimes it didn’t. When it did, it was natural and not forced. The conversations flowed out of the practical help Jesus gave.
  • Be patient in the relationship. What this means is that you don’t have to have all the answers to whatever questions people might have before you can start helping them. To help people pursue God, you can be patient. You don’t need to try to pry into their spiritual lives right off the bat. Start where they are at, love them in practical ways, build trust, and see where the relationship goes.

Quote This:

Matthew 9:35-36 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

See Also: Evangelism

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. What are some of the practical needs you’ve noticed in people around you during the past week?
  3. Read Matthew 9:35-36. Why did Jesus take time and energy to address people’s felt needs?
  4. Why is it helpful to build trust and demonstrate genuine care before sharing spiritual truth?
  5. Are there times you can address spiritual needs without starting with felt needs first? Explain.
  6. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.