Two years ago our teaching pastor, Ted, began to meet with a couple with considerable intellectual reservations about Christianity. They agreed to read some Christian apologetics if Ted agreed to read their books. While they read Letters from a Skeptic, Ted read Stephen Hawking's latest, A Brief History of Time.
But Ted didn't see real spiritual progress after they read the books—only more questions.
Then this past fall we launched a new six-week small group study: "A Taste of Community." We recruited hosts and launched 50 new small groups. The skeptical couple decided to join one of these groups, but only for six weeks. Six months later they were baptized, and they are still in that small group.
Their spiritual breakthrough didn't result from intellectual arguments; it was the fruit of being part of a spiritual, loving community. Interestingly, their group host is a new Christian and had never led a small group before. However, God used him to bring this couple to faith.
Clearly, a loving Christ-centered community can break down intellectual barriers to the gospel.