The Rainer Scale is basically a “gospel receptivity scale”. Named the Rainer scale (see below), after head researcher Thom Rainer, it features a scale of 5 different "faith stages" — U1 to U5, where "U" stands for the unchurched, referring to those who go to church less than five times each year. Every stage within the scale represents a group of people with similar levels of receptivity toward the gospel. (1)

*In this study we will be particularly looking at the category U1 and also at leading someone to Christ .

The U1 Persons (2) 

“What must I do to be saved” , is the cry of the U1’s. This category of unchurched people are highly receptive , they are the most open to the gospel and church of all groups (U5-U1). More U1’s have some church background than any other group. 
It is seldom that you meet a U1 that has not attended church at some time in their life. Very few U1’s stopped attending church due to a negative experience, quite the contrary their memories of church are generally positive. The main reason that U1’s do not attend church today is basically because they are too busy, they site many commitments that hold them back from church attendance. U1’s have an affirmative attitude toward church, raising a conversation in regard to church is most likely to result in a positive exchange. In fact, research shows that any conversation about church or invitation to church typically yields a favourable response. U1’s also have an optimistic outlook on ministers; their experience of the clergy has generally been a good one. When it comes to doctrine, the Christian believer and the U1 have much in common. A huge 94% of U1’s believe in hell and 100% believe in heaven. Discussions on Jesus and who he is are extremely orthodox. The one differing understanding is that of salvation, U1’s have a works mentality. They talk about having faith in Christ yet also espouse a belief that good works get you into heaven. They are somewhat confused over this crucial message of salvation. Overall, they are a nice group of people, they are positive toward the church, they believe in heaven and hell, they understand God to a degree, they are open to a discussion on faith, yet they do not understand the way to salvation.

The U1 is simply waiting for a believer to explain and invite. Explain the gospel to them and invite them to church. Many U1’s receive salvation when the gospel is clearly articulated to them, those that do not will come along to church and after some personal reflection will receive the free gift of salvation. It is vital that this group of unchurched have the gospel clearly explained to them and that they are invited to church. The barriers that we see in all other groups (U5-U4) do not exist with the U1’s. They are highly receptive, our job is simple: explain and invite. 97% are likely to come to church IF invited! The main reason why this highly receptive group are not saved is because the believers have not witnessed to them or invited them to church. The body of Christ has not succeeded in this respect. Have a one on one conversation with a U1 about the gospel, invite then to a Bible study or invite them to church , they are very open and waiting for the believer to approach them.

Leading Someone to Christ (3) 

  • Do love your friend with the love of Christ which empowers you to love them unconditionally. 
  • Do listen to your friend's story and authentically come to understand where they are coming from in life. Get familiar with their journey – Listen with excellence. 
  • Do affirm the positive attributes of your friend's life and personality - specifically tell them what things you see in them that are strengths and blessings. 
  • Do give your friend SPACE and RESPECT. Do this by showing compassionate sensitivity toward their struggles and shortcomings. You do not have to agree with them, but we are called to love them. Always respect their God-given right to take their time in making a decision for Christ. 
  • Do share with them what Christ has meant in your own life, but do not set them up for an inquisition or questioning session. When we give a personal testimony, think of it as an OFFERING to offer up to them with NO strings attached. 


  • Don't use fear or coercion to manipulate people into choosing Christ. This is not what Jesus used, why should we? 
  • Don't quote scripture addresses to someone constantly like you are impressing them with your own memorization of the Bible. They will be impressed but not the way you are thinking. 
  • Don't be pushy with others, regardless of where they are in their faith experience. Even if someone is a Hindu or in Islam, be respectful and open to share the Good News of Christ with them - not in a condemnatory way. Don't shove tracts or materials into someone's hands as though you are doing a literature dump on them. Evangelism is not DOING SOMETHING TO SOMEONE but BEING WITH SOMEONE. There is a big difference. 

Skeleton outline of the Gospel to share with your friend. 

  1. Creation
    A. God created and called it good
    B. Adam and Eve -- Free Choice
  2. Sin
    A. Anything (good or bad) that separates us from God
    B. We can never remove sin alone (repentance)
    C. God made a merciful provision
  3. Jesus Christ
    A. Jesus died on the cross for our sin
    B. Receive Jesus as Savior
    C. Receive Jesus as Lord of all
  4. Transfer our Trust
    A. Not just belief in God, but trusting in Him
    B. Prayer is the way to start this new personal relationship

For a great visual presentation of the gospel go to:

Sample Discussion Questions 

  1. Have the group share stories of U1people they may know or have known. What was proven to be most effective with these people? 
  2. U1’s are highly receptive. Discuss what stops people from reaching out to others. How can we move forward? 
  3. Discuss the times when you have been involved in leading someone to Christ? 
  4. Finish with prayer for friends, family members or work associates who are not Christians. 

(1) From LifeGroup Study, Reaching The Unchurched Next Door by Mark Conner, February 11th-12th, 2006.

(2) Rainer, Thom S. The Unchurched Next Door (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 2003),173-194

(3), accessed 25 Feb 2006
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