It seems that for many people, coming to Christ is a process. They hear the gospel several times before responding. Or they may have spent several months or years thinking about God. There are only a few times in my life where someone responded to the gospel the first time I gave it to them. As I think about those exceptions… they were already in the process of coming to God and I happened to intersect their life at that moment. Others had been talking to them about the gospel all along.
There are of course exceptions to this. Sometimes it is within minutes that a person abruptly stops everything and realizes their need for a Savior. It could be a crisis that causes someone to get serious. There is a moment in time when all the pieces fit and a person responds… but it is often a process that leads up to that point.
Paul was witnessing to King Agrippa but got the following response: “do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28-29). It is understandable that it could take some time for a person to make the most important decision of their life. We shouldn’t expect immediate results from our witnessing. Knowing that evangelism is a process should help us in two ways:
1. Never give up. Just because someone does not respond today doesn’t mean they have permanently rejected Christ.
2. Relax. It isn’t our job to convert anyone… we are merely the messengers.