Jesus Invited the Unlikely; Will You?

An invitation to BSF can change a life for eternity

Brooke Sims

BSF Chief Ministry Development Officer | Sep 7, 2023

I was the last person you would expect to say “yes” to a BSF invitation.   

In my early 20s, I had little Bible knowledge and had never done a Bible study. I did not believe in Jesus, and I was working long hours in a high-pressure public accounting firm.  

Who would have invited me? It would make more sense to invite someone who knew more about Scripture or who had more time on their hands. Right? Well, maybe not. 

Jesus invited the least likely. Who would have chosen a fisherman or tax collector for a disciple? Jesus chose the least likely to follow Him and the world was forever changed.  

Someone chose to invite me to BSF even though I was busy, inexperienced, and skeptical. And to my surprise and theirs, I showed up. Without that invitation, I would never have come to saving faith in Jesus. I am eternally changed because someone extended a simple invitation.   

What is holding you back from inviting your “least likely” friend or family member to BSF?

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Jesus chose the least likely to follow Him and the world was forever changed.

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Are they too busy?

Most people in the world today are busy—busy with work, children, caring for aging parents, pursuing an education, and much more. But Jesus is needed every bit as much in a busy life as He is in a quiet life.  

When the disciples were called to follow Jesus, many of them had bustling careers. Simon Peter was a busy fisherman who cared for his wife and family. Did this stop his brother Andrew from telling Peter about Christ? Absolutely not. Scripture tells us, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus  (John 1:41-42a).  

We often think people may be too busy for a Bible study. Thankfully, Jesus is never too busy to reach us. God works in every season of life and faithfully calls His people in unexpected circumstances. 

Does BSF seem too difficult?

When you consider inviting someone new to BSF, maybe you worry that the questions will be too difficult. Perhaps the in-depth approach will be too challenging for a new believer or unbeliever without Bible study experience.  

When I first joined BSF, my understanding of God and the Bible was pieced together from the world, not the Word. Until I studied Scripture for myself, the idea of Jesus as Savior and Messiah seemed illogical.

However, the daily, personal questions from BSF gave me the courage to open my Bible. The guided study helped me to learn what the Bible said for myself. In community with others, I had the freedom to express my confusion and ask questions. The lecture and notes were like water for my parched soul. God used the study of BSF to bring me to salvation. 

As someone who has studied with BSF as a non-believer and then as a dedicated follower of Christ, I can confidently say that God uses in-depth study to mature people wherever they are in their faith. The Holy Spirit does the work; we are simply called to extend the invitation.  

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The Holy Spirit does the work; we are simply called to extend the invitation.

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Are they too skeptical?

God may be calling you to invite someone who has questions that you simply cannot answer. You are not alone.  

In John 1:45, Jesus’s disciple Philip extended an invitation to his skeptical friend Nathaniel, saying, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  

When Nathaniel exclaimed, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Philip simply said, “Come and see” (John 1:46). This faithful disciple relied on Jesus’s truth to answer Nathaniel’s questions. He simply extended the invitation, trusting God to do the rest.

When I entered the doors of BSF for the first time, I was skeptical. I had questions about Jesus that none of my friends could answer to relieve my doubts. Only when I opened God’s Word did I discover the answers I truly longed to find.  

One of the most effective ways to reach skeptical people is to let them read the truth for themselves. 

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The world offers endless suggestions; only Jesus has the solution.

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Regardless of life-stage or church experience, all people seek answers the world cannot provide. We long for meaning and purpose. We want to be truly known and truly loved. We need forgiveness and a path forward. The world offers endless suggestions; only Jesus has the solution.  

When we do not invite others, eternal life and abundant life on earth are at stake. Too many of our friends and family walk through hard seasons without the truth and hope only Christ can give. How will we respond? 

What if you invited your “least likely” friend or family member to BSF this year? Who might come? Who might believe? How might a life—and the world—be changed for eternity because you invited that person to “come and see”? 

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About the Author

Brooke Sims joined the BSF staff in 2022. Brooke has her master’s degrees in accounting and biblical and theological studies. She has also worked as a Certified Public Accountant. Brooke has a heart and passion for BSF because God used the study to draw her to saving faith in 1999. Over the past 22 years Brooke has served in several BSF leadership roles, including a Children’s Leader, Group Leader, Substitute Teaching Leader, Teaching Leader, and Area Personnel. Brooke’s husband serves in the United States Air Force, and she is mom to two college-age adults. Knowing the impact BSF has had on her own life, Brooke’s hope is that BSF continues to be a place where believers mature and unbelievers can hear the truth. 

Summary

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61 Comments

  1. Brooke Sims vividly and heartfeltly depicts the power of an invitation. Her transformation from skeptic to devout Christ-follower shows that faith journeys can start anywhere and anytime. Her eloquent statement, “Jesus chose the least likely to follow Him,” reminds us that an invitation to study God’s word is never wasted, regardless of a person’s spiritual journey. The article urges us to abandon our preconceived notions about faith seekers. By inviting, we allow God’s word to transform. We only need to invite people to hear God’s message; God will do the rest. Well done, Brooke, for sharing your personal journey and inspiring us to take action.

    Reply
  2. This brings so much encouragement to me! There is a friend I’ve been hesitant to invite, but this post helps answers those questions and addresses the fears I have in inviting her. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. I would like to know if BSF offers an online group that might be a good fit for women born in Ukrainian and now lives in the US and has married into a Christian family.

    Reply
    • Hi Rick! You can search for BSF Online groups at bsfonline.org. There are many groups available that have people from different areas of the world different languages. You can also contact the help desk from bsfonline.org to help you find the right group. Thank you!

      Reply
  4. I would like to order the workbook.

    Reply
    • Hi Sallyann, please visit mybsf.org to access the BSF Store and purchase your lesson book (if you are in a BSF online group, visit bsfonline.org). Thanks!

      Reply
  5. BSF The place be.

    I was looking for a Bible study at the church I was attending they directed me to BSF praise God.

    I believe it was around 2009 when I started BSF I love the format. I have not missed a year since

    I started. I served as a leader for a few years and I am a student now.

    Reply
  6. What an encouraging piece – challenges me to seek out the ‘unlikely’. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. I first came to BSF because I saw what a change it had made in my neighbor’s attitude and behavior. BSF has been the greatest catalyst in my spiritual growth and walk with God. I look forward to going back each fall because I know that I will learn and grow more intimate with God, my Heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know the Holy Spirit will teach me new truths through God’s word. I encourage anyone who wants to learn about the Bible the culture and Biblical history to join a group. They will never be sorry they joined. God has definitely used BSF to change me into the person that I want to be and I just keep on growing and learning!

    Reply
  8. Outstanding article. Thank you!

    Reply
  9. I found BSF in 1987 and was truly saved, and have been in Leadership for several years. Now I have been praying about inviting a friend who has been led astray from Jesus. I am not equipped to discuss with her how misled she is, but I pray that the study of John will be God’s true voice in her ear, to prove there is only one God, one Jesus, who, when he comes again, the whole earth will see and hear, so there will be no doubt who He is. Please help me lift her up.

    Reply
    • Jodie – praying for you and your friend! Your patience, endurance, and resilience is inspiring for those of us who continue to pray for unbelievers in our lives. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  10. Thanks so much for for sharing your story. I’m encouraged because sometimes I just want to give up. The questions are too many and sometimes difficult to understand. I was even contemplating quitting BSF altogether because I feel I can’t cope with a lot of readings and answering so many many questions. Your encouragement has helped me!

    Reply
    • Comfort, If you don’t already have a Bible app on your phone or computer, I highly recommend downloading one. So when you feel that you can’t cope with a lot of reading, you’ll be able to listen to the Bible being read. You can also listen to the BSF notes and questions on the BSF website. This has helped me a lot. When I’m driving, I can listen to the Bible and the notes. Then when I sit down to do my questions, I’ve already done my reading and can reflect and answer questions.

      Reply
  11. I will be forever thankful that someone invited me to BSF. Though I believed in salvation I now better know why I believe and feel empowered to be bold.

    Reply
  12. A long time ago my local BSF children’s leader was trying to get members to volunteer for the children’s ministry. She said that every child learned that the one answer to every question, the answer that could not be wrong ever, was “Jesus.” That same focus marks all of BSF.

    Reply
  13. Thank you for sharing your story Brooke. I have a few people I would like to invite to BSF. Your story has convicted me to simply ask and leave the rest up to God.

    Reply
  14. I am so excited to start bcf

    Reply
  15. Brooke, may the Light of the world continue to shine on you, and in you, and through you for those who seek Him. Agape!

    Reply
  16. Thank You Brook.

    No one is too old or young to learn about Jesus and His word. We must invite everyone we meet to know Jesus for themselves. The more you study at BFS and apply God to your life the better thing will be. Each one reaches one and teach one.

    Reply
  17. I have been inviting several family members to attend for years. The answer is always no for various reasons. This year I know the Holy Spirit is prompting me to invite a different close family member who is an unbeliever. I even ordered this person a study book after a prompting this spring. I have never done this before so pray with me that this person accepts the invitation and meets Jesus for the first time!

    Reply
  18. Loved reading your story, Brooke and how relevant it is, not just for
    Loved reading your story, Brooke.
    Just yesterday, the two most “unlikely” people, on fire for the Lord, joined BSF just by me talking about it. They said, it’s the sort of Bible study we want to get stuck into! Some times we never know who the Lord is calling to come to Him or to know Him more fully! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  19. I have been a TL for 17 years and taught 1000s of people but only two family members have been in the class I teach. This summer I invited family, sisters, sister-in-law laws, nieces and my three daughters to do the Ephesians word go study via zoom. 15 said yes to the invite. One sister in law said she didn’t know a thing about the Bible. I told her she was coming to learn. She responded, “The what do I have to lose? Sign me up!” She didn’t know the tears I cried out of pure joy that she would join us. So for the past 3 Thursdays I have gotten on line with family from Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin and Indiana. I have led 100s of BSF lessons over the past decades but nothing has meant as much to me as seeing MY family on the screen in front of me! I got off our meeting over three hours ago and am still so wound up and excited that I can’t fall asleep! I would strongly encourage you to ask your family and friends! You may be just like me, smiling from ear to ear as you watch the people you love talk about Gods Word together. There isn’t anything better than this!! Be courageous and invite them, you won’t regret it!

    Reply
    • Laura, I just want to say how grateful to hear this testimony of the Holy Spirit moving in the lives of your family and friends. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Reply
    • Amazing!! What a beautiful testimony!

      Reply
    • Awesome!

      Reply
  20. Brooke, thank you so much for sharing your story, inspiring many to search their hearts on who to invite to BSF. I needed to read this. Blessings to you!

    Reply
  21. I like bsf.was waiting to hear from a leader this month.

    Reply
  22. Very encouraging! Yes and amen only Jesus has the solution 🙏
    I truly needed the reminder @this time to continue inviting people to BSF
    Many thanks for sharing!
    God bless you 🙏

    Reply
  23. Brooke, thanks for sharing your experience and challenging us all to never forget the eternal gift God offers when we invite others to ‘come and see’!! Like you, BSF was the vehicle that brought me the confirmation that I was ‘born again’ and I’m eternally grateful. Can’t wait to again study the Gospel of John as God always delivers more… 🙂

    Reply
    • My daughter and I attended BSF in Richmond from
      Jan23-June, and we loved it! We are now living in Pacheco area and hope there is a BSF nearby. Please let me know! My daughter is 41 and has a slight cognitive disability so she has some difficulty with understanding.

      Reply
      • HI Diane! You can research classes near you at join.bsfinternational.org. We are so happy you loved BSF!

        Reply
  24. Very true, encouraging, inspiring, and convicting. Praying many invite others and as a result many will come study Scripture. May God prepare hearts and souls to hear the gospel, and may surprising numbers receive redemption through Jesus Christ our Messiah, Redeemer, Savior.

    Reply
  25. Shalom BSF! It has been a “wonderful privilege” to attend BSF. I didn’t start until I retired in 2020, but had heard about it several years before then. I praise God that He allowed me to “catch the wind and be faithful in attending.” Looking forward to an exciting year!

    Reply
  26. I thank our Heavenly Father for Brooke Sims! and others as myself who were invited and answered “yes”! It is sad for me that a new friend has declined my invitation to BSF this Fall. Her response is that she is not religious and has her own beliefs…and ” not having a formal religion, I believe the compassion and kindness we share are sufficient to live a good life.” She is Japanese, from a family where all members except she are”in a cult”, of which she disapproves. No relatives in USA, except her husband with whom one does not discuss “Religion”. Please pray for her, “E”, a dear and patient, sweet friend. Thank you! It is truly the Holy Spirit who changes hearts…Your testimony encourages us to carry on faithfully in prayer for “E” and all others.

    Reply
  27. Wonderful testimony, Brooke, that Jesus invites even the least of these. I love how Jesus loves to love.

    Reply
  28. I am so excited to see Brooke as Chief Ministry Development Officer. She was the Substitute Teaching Leader for at least a couple of years in the BSF class I was in a few years ago. She was one of the best I have ever been under. It is so great to know she has continued to serve. Love and blessings!

    Reply
  29. I have been struggling with this “least likely” phenomenon and had shut out involvement of the Holy Spirit in it. God bless you for the inspiring testimonies.

    Reply
    • What an encouraging story!

      Reply
  30. As an older adult without a home church, it would bring me joy being a part of Bible study with other adult women.

    Reply
    • That sounds wonderful, Crystal! You can join BSF at join.bsfinternational.org.

      Reply
  31. Hi
    Thanks for the encouraging article. I am curious to know why Brooke said ‘yes’ to attending BSF even though she didn’t believe in Jesus? I have used invitation with little success.

    Reply
    • Hi Diane! I think Brooke would say the Holy Spirit was at work in her life to accept that invitation. And the same Spirit is at work in you! Don’t give up on those people.

      Reply
    • Diane, Just to encourage you to never give up on inviting someone…only the Holy
      Spirit can prompt their ‘yes’ but it’s our job to care enough about them to just extend an invite.
      I share this with my experience of inviting my next door neighbor for five (5) years and much to my surprise she finally said “Yes”! Then, after the third week in class, she shared how much she was loving this and turned to me saying “How come you never invited me until now?” I was speechless…but praised God!!

      Reply
  32. Thank you for the encouragemant.

    Reply
  33. God is supreme

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  34. Thank you so much Brooke for sharing your experiences. I feel like fresh oil has been added to my spiritual tank. I have a couple of people God keeps bringing to mind but I have hesitated inviting because they truly are “least likely” to consider attending BSF. After reading your story, now I know that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. Mine is to invite. I choose to obey.

    Reply
  35. I too came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior through an invitation to BSF’s study of Romans in 2017/18. Praise God for BSF!

    Reply
  36. Thank you, Brooke! I love your story and the way God called you to Himself. Delighted our paths still cross occasionally.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to keep inviting others to love Jesus and others.
      May God’s minitsry grow to be mature and fruitful

      Reply
  37. when does bsf mission veijo start back up?

    Reply
    • Rogelio – to contact a class administrator directly go to https://join.bsfinternational.org/. Search your class and click more info. There is a contact button on that class page!

      Reply
  38. I will with the help of the Holy Spirit father invite friends to BSF

    Reply
  39. I invited my friend to join very reluctantly. I know she is a very busy lady. I have been planning to do this when I joined the BSF. I prayed about it as I love my friend so much that I wanted her to experience the Joy, peace that I experienced after I started. I invited her this time to join and without any hesitation she said yes. I know it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prompted her to say yes. I am praying through this study from the gospel of John we both will be drawn close to the Lord.

    Reply
    • Rebecca – thank you for sharing! Praying for you and your friend as groups begin!

      Reply
  40. I do get discouraged when I invite people in my community and receive responses such as “I’m too busy…my church already has a Bible study…I don’t have time…I have too much on my plate already”. Thanks for the encouragement to not give up!

    Reply
    • Dorinda – I’m so encouraged by your heart to invite others! Will continue to pray for you as you seek to share Jesus with those around you. It took 4 different people inviting me to BSF before I joined- and I’m SO grateful for those who persisted!

      Reply
  41. I cannot find the start date for the lessons on John that start this year anywhere on mybsf.

    Reply
    • Hi Kenneth! I’ve sent you an email personally but to answer the first question – In the United States, most classes begin their study Sept. 11-15. We do not have an official start date listed on any of our sites because each class can make choices about day, time, and when they begin.

      Reply
  42. Everyone invited so far are busy with their own church activities and studies. Pray someone
    will step out and trust God to grow in His Word.

    Reply
    • Sandra – praying with you!

      Reply

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