Three Responses to the Gospel: Red, Yellow, and Green Lights

Photo by Francis Desjardins from Pexels

A few months ago, a South Asia Christian told me that before we trained him to share the gospel with Muslims, every Muslim rejected his message. In reality, those Muslims did not reject his message; instead, they rejected the language and culture he used to present the gospel. So, we helped this brother learn some spiritual words in Urdu. We then taught him to share the gospel in a contextual way that was meaningful to Muslims (click here for our method in sharing the gospel). 

After training, the same brother told me that 90% of the Muslims he told about Jesus listened to the gospel and wanted to hear more. However, this brother did not know what to teach these Muslim seekers next. It is helpful to use the analogy of a stoplight to talk about three types of responses we hear to the gospel. Even in the villages of South Asia, more and more people are familiar with stoplights. 

The three colors of the light represent three responses to the gospel.

Red light means stop. A red light is someone whose heart is closed to the gospel. They are not interested. So, what should we do? We should be kind and respectful to them and leave to find someone else whose heart is open. If you get a lot of red lights, you should evaluate how you are sharing the gospel! Perhaps you need to learn the language more or find a better way to share (click here for our method in sharing the gospel).

Green light means go! A green light is ready to repent, believe, and follow Jesus. When you find a green light, stop everything else and give them as much time as you can for a few days to teach them how to follow Jesus. It is ideal if you can teach them your whole basic discipleship package their first few days of faith so that they can stand in Jesus.

Yellow light means to look. A yellow light is interested in the gospel but not ready to follow Jesus. What should we do with yellow lights? We should begin meeting with them to explain the gospel more and help them become followers of Jesus.

Think about Muslims you have told about Jesus. Were they red, yellow, or green lights?

In my experience, a yellow light strategy is necessary for Muslim ministry. When evangelists become skilled at sharing the gospel with Muslims, usually more than 50% of Muslims who hear are yellow lights. Muslims often take more than one visit to comprehend the gospel, repent, and believe. More Muslims are coming to Christ in areas where more follow-up occurs with yellow lights. When follow-up to yellow lights is neglected, fewer Muslims come to Christ. 

Our Yellow Light Strategy

Most rural folk Muslims are yellow lights when they first hear the gospel. They are curious and open but have questions. In Muslim ministry, it is essential to continue to follow up with those Muslims who are curious about the gospel. Over time, these Yellow Lights will become either Red or Green. If they become Red, then we move on. However, we should pray and expect that some will become Green.

Our yellow-light strategy centers on using five stories from the Gospel of Matthew that show the uniqueness of Jesus. We call these stories the Five Unique Things about Hazrat Isa al-Masih. 

Five Unique Things about Hazrat Isa al-Masih

1. Birth: Matthew 1:18-25

2. Miracles: Matthew 9:1-8

3. Word: Matthew 7:24-27

4. Death: Matthew 27:32-54

5. Resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10

We use these five stories for follow-up with Muslim seekers who are not ready to follow Jesus but are interested in learning more. Here is more of our method. 

• If they are literate, read the story from the Injeel Shareef (i.e., New Testament) with them. If they are illiterate, either tell them the story or read it from the Injeel. 

• Repeat and re-tell the story until they understand and remember the story.

• Ask – What do we learn about Hazrat Isa al-Masih from this story?

• The purpose of this tool is to help Muslims understand Jesus and the gospel. So, make sure to share the gospel each time you meet.

Another way that I use these five stories is when I meet a Muslim seeker, I will continue in these Bible studies by WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. I ask them if they are willing to study the Injeel Sharif with me. If they say yes, I copy and paste the Bible passage for the first story into our chat. Then by text or voice message, we discuss what we should learn about Jesus from that story. After answering their questions, we move on to the next story. Then when we meet face-to-face, we discuss these things in more depth. In this way, I can determine if their hearts are open to learning from the Injeel Sharif about following Hazrat Isa al-Masih!

Even as I write this blog, I am working through this process with two men I met last week. One seeker and I are discussing Matthew 7:24-27, and the other is on Matthew 1:18-25. Both are asking questions and are open to learning more. The man studying Matthew 7:24-27 is so open to the gospel that I introduced him to a mature Muslim background believer. That introduction was also by phone to hear the MBBs testimony of what it means to follow Jesus. One of these men lives about 1.5 hours from me; the other lives about 5 hours away. Conduct follow-up virtually helps me to expand my reach in follow-up. 

What is your plan for following up with Muslim yellow lights? In Muslim ministry, it is essential to have a plan for working with seekers like these! 

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