Charles Arn writes:
“How do we identify the receptive people in our community?”
One proven way is through life events. Or, more specifically, transitional life events. Here is the principle: The more disruptive a life event is to a person’s psychological equilibrium, the more it will cause him/her to be spiritually receptive.
The “Social Readjustment Scale” below was originally developed by two cardiology researchers at the University of Washington Medical Center. The events were identified as precipitators of a heart attack. (The numbers to the right are the relative severity of the event, from 1-100.) I, and other researchers, have found that these same events are also excellent indicators of a person’s openness (receptivity) to Christian conversion. Put simply, people who rate high on this Scale will be more receptive to repentance and conversion than those who rate lower. And, when multiple events occur, in relative proximity, receptivity increases even more.
As you think and pray about responding to Christ’s command to “…go and make disciples,” use this “Stress Scale” as one way to begin identifying the people in your community whom the Holy Spirit may be preparing to invite into the Kingdom—through you and your church. Creative, caring, genuine, need-meeting Christian love—at these times when people are most receptive—will bring great fruit. Watch… listen…be sensitive to these windows of opportunity… and then be ready to “give witness to the hope that is within you” (I Pe. 3:15).
A great challenge.