Last night I was in a conversation with a friend until the early morning. Near the end of our long conversation I said, “Most Christians never win even one person to the Lord in their lifetimes.” Imagine that when we make it to heaven, if we are granted entrance, and we listen to all the testimonies of souls saved by our fellow citizens of that bright city. We may witness countless souls come to greet individuals that were instrumental in their salvation. But no one may come to us because we have no testimony of winning even one soul.
What if when we stand before the Judgment Throne God were to ask us, “How many souls did you win to Me?” If our answer is, “Not one, Lord”, He might ask, “Why not? After all, I gave you My word. You had several Bibles in your home, office, and even had one in your car. I gave you the most powerful force in existence. I even put Him inside of you. You had preaching and teaching, and I met many needs in your life including critical ones. I gave you prayer. What else could you have needed that I didn’t give you?”
Imagine what a difference it would make in the world if each Christian would win just one soul in his or her lifetime. But isn’t that too low of a goal with all that God has given us? What if each Christian would win one soul each year? Of course, each church would double in attendance and quadruple the next year. I challenge each Christian that reads this to accept at least the lowest goal, the bare minimum in fruit bearing, and win at least one soul in his or her lifetime. Since we do not know when we are going to die, I would advise them to get started on that goal right away. The truth is, you may only have a few days to reach your goal.
I believe the reason why Christians do not win souls is because they do not intend to win a them. They attend churches that are designed to maintain the status quo of doctrinal Christianity, but ignore its practicality. Most professing Christians come to church meetings to get something to help them recover from the past week and get them started to face the next week. Most of what the men received was cashed out that Sunday afternoon watching sports. The concept of “church” is meetings with ends in themselves rather than a means to an end of evangelizing our world. It is all about them, not about God’s will. The expectation is that if anyone is saved, the pastor or the altar call must do the work. I have had numerous calls over three decades of pastoring from church members who encountered people who wanted salvation. They wanted to bring them to me or for me to come to them and complete the process. That is not scriptural. Further, most professing Christians attempt at soul-winning is to invite them to church. They truth is that they never think of winning a soul, are not sensitive to opportunities, and are completely unprepared when an opportunity is presented. Thus, they are caught off guard, stammer about searching for words, are embarrassed, and usually invite them to a church meeting or call the pastor to do the job.
In Ephesians 4, God gives us the perfect church growth plan. Forget the gimmicks, this plan is the most effective and beneficial plan. First, He says “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift”. (7th verse) That is a powerful statement. Grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift is enough grace to look beyond the superficiality of every individual and recognize their need for salvation. The truth—we each have enough grace to win a soul.
Next, God declares that He gave us five offices of equippers (11th). These offices are under the auspices of the Head Equipper, the Holy Spirit. Don’t call them ministers and their offices the five-fold ministry. They may indeed minister, but they are in essence equippers and the ones they equip are ministers. That truth is unambiguously stated in God’s word; “…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (12th).
Can we not realize that clearly that God intended each Christian to do the work of ministry? If so, then everyone is a minister. Everyone has a part in ministry and a share of the workload. Each soul must do his or her part or the body will not increase. “…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (16th) We should not ignore the fine print between these important scriptures, the part about growing up, not remaining childish, not being susceptible to false doctrine and heretics, and about speaking the truth in love.
The greatest sin of Christianity is that we have allowed Satan to out produce us. While we are content to complain, he is working. While we build buildings, write books, go about the business of religion, he is sending his emissaries out to go face to face with the message of slavery and death. While churches are borrowing his music to lure in his victims, we offer them watered-down gospel that cuddles up to their diabolical worldview. They come in bound and go out unchanged. We mark them down on membership lists as points of victory. The more Satan gathers them into his kingdom, churches today are modifying their doctrine and meetings to accommodate the satanic harvest. We call it soul-winning, Satan calls it great joke. It’s not a joke; it is a sin. It is the sin of abdication of the responsibility of productivity for the purpose of being comfortable, compromised, confused, content, and complacent.
Ephesians 4 presents a vibrant picture of the spiritually healthy Christians, which compose a spiritual healthy church. It is an indictment of the anemic and diseased Christians today that compose weak and sick churches that bear no fruit. Although some of them grow numerically, the harsh truth is that they simply grow like hospitals or morgues. In fact, even during so-called revivals most churches are as hospitals and morgues during times of catastrophic tragedies. Instead of increasing life, they increase the number of the sick and the dead. More harsh truth is that the equippers are not equipping. They are not obeying the Equipper. Instead, they are simply dispensing pabulum in quotients only enough to maintain a decrepit status quo. The Equippers believe that they have completed their duty even though their congregants are pew-bound and empty. No wonder that many churches have been sustained only by biological conversions and even that has now failed them. Please have a godly sorrow about this brutal picture of our failure.
I did not sleep well last night. The words that I had spoken to my friend were convicting my heart. I kept hearing the words, “Just one?” in my mind. Each day I pray for souls. Every day I go out into the public I pray to be an effective witness and win souls. But my productivity has of late been slim. To set a goal of winning even one soul each year is an embarrassingly low goal. My heat breaks to think that I would settle for such a goal. My eyes are running with tears so that I can barely type these words. How can I have 36 years of experiencing God and be so unfaithful as to believe that I cannot win or be actively involved in winning souls daily? I do not count the ones saved by preaching, teaching, or writing. I want to win souls in personal encounters. Why am I not winning souls? It is obviously a lack of intention. I intend to either plant, water, or reap today.
If we are in the last days, if this is the dark hour when no one can work, then the harvest is past and a gleaning process has begun. I should still be able to glean souls, to effectively bring them to the point of conversion by the word of God and the Holy Spirit. I decided that I must step up my productivity. I expect to have won more souls to the Lord Jesus Christ this year than I did the previous year. I will go out prepared every day, expecting to have an opportunity, and eager to take advantage of it. I’m not going to hand out tracts and coerce individuals into saying the “sinner’s prayer”. Instead, I intend to hunt for the ripe ones and bring them to Christ in genuine salvation. I will sow or water seed in the unripe ones.
How about you? Have you ever personally won someone to Christ? If not, do you intend to win at least one soul to Him during your lifetime? When do you intend to begin planning, receiving the equipping, and going out with the mission? Are there any optimistic Christians out there that will win at least one soul each year? If we cannot do this one command of Christ, what is our purpose on this earth? If you are on my friend list, expect to hear those words in your mind repeatedly, “Just one?” I will pray for you and me daily that we will not disappoint God and the Lord Jesus Christ with our lack of harvest.