I’m stepping away from my normal prophet-hearted word and sharing some practical wisdom on the great commission. A few years ago I read somewhere that only 2% of all churches are growing as a result of winning converts to Christ. All others are growing as a result of what is called transfer growth. This is when Christians leave one church to go to another. This is another one of those alarming statistics that grabs our attention, causes us to take inventory, and lets us know that much of our success can actually be a false success.
Here are the last words of Jesus:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:15-16)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:19-20)
That’s every church and every believer’s mission. It is something that always needs to be evaluated. We are losing if are not winning souls and discipling them. Here are five things that will help us better fulfill the mission Jesus has mandated for us.
1. Don’t get good at what you’re not supposed to be doing.
Too many of us are a hundred miles wide and one inch deep. We do a lot of things good but not many excellently. It’s time to do some serious evaluation. How many people are really being discipled and not just taught? How many new converts are being added to the kingdom? Who are you currently discipling? Who are you currently believing, praying, fasting, travailing for, and speaking to about Christ?
Here is the course many church leaders must now take if they are to see an increase in evangelism and discipleship. Convert more church events into opportunities for evangelism. Convert more doctrine into discipleship. Teach people to observe what Jesus taught. Go back to the gospels. Constantly evaluate everything you do by the great commission; evangelism and discipleship.
- Water seeds, not weeds.
Weeds are things that don’t work or don’t matter. We’ve all heard the saying. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Don’t let activity and schedule determine your strategy. Don’t immerse yourself into things that rob you of your time with God and with your disciples. Guard your rest, energy, and creativity. Weeds are things God never told you to do which rob you of rest, erase your energy, and kill your creativity. On the other hand, seeds are things which are stamped with eternity. They focus more on people rather than programs. Get rid of everything that hinders true kingdom increase.
- Develop a passion for prayer and for souls.
This should’ve been listed first. You won’t do much without passion. If you’re not burning up with a vision for souls you will affect very few people dramatically and permanently. This is the real reason why men falter and fail. Instead of burning up, they’re burning out. Instead of getting fired up, they’re getting tired out. Instead of moving on and moving up, they’re moving down and moving out.
Find things which ignite and feed your passion for prayer and lost souls. Read a good biography of a man of God who helped many find Christ. Read good books on holiness, prayer, and revival. Feed constantly on the gospels and the book of Acts. Read the Bible on your knees, and ask God to break your heart with the things that break the heart of Jesus. Go find somebody in pain and bring healing to them. Find the hurting and encourage them. Seek out the last, the least, and the lost and make their day. It’s in the going as in “go ye” that your passion will always be preserved. The way you keep it is by giving it out.
- Don’t separate but incorporate soul winning into church events.
Pastors, cater some of your services just for the lost. I think it would help many churches to have an extra special salvation Sunday once a month, or at least once a quarter, instead of just on Easter Sunday. Teach your people constantly to love the lost and to reach them. Within the confines of their own personality, encourage every believer, young and old, to befriend sinners and win them to Christ. Instead of posting up a barometer to gauge building fund giving, put one up to gauge the number of souls won to Christ. Encourage and disciple believers by precept and example in the art of winning the lost. Make the lost your special guests at church functions such as picnics, holiday events like Easter and Christmas, and men’s and women’s night out.
5) Lastly, scout out a good evangelist who can help you.
Find one whom you know and can trust that is not just interested in promoting his ministry or getting an offering, but who really has a passion and a faith for seeing lost souls saved. Remember also, that winning the lost is not the only function of the evangelist. Contrary to modern church thought, the primary function of every evangelist is to produce other evangelists and a spirit of evangelism in the church.
My earnest desire is that you would be infused with fresh hope and vision for new souls to be birthed into the kingdom of God.
Have you ever noticed what happens to believers when new converts are added to the Church, especially when they had a part in their salvation? There is a joy and an excitement that is ignited in their hearts. There’s new life that flows within the Church. It is like a baby that is born into a household of older brothers and sisters. There is nothing like it! And frankly, this alone will solve so many fringe problems in the Church today. It will keep us from fussing over doctrinal issues, and chasing after a new manifestation, or a big thrill to experience.
In closing, I pray that God would bless you with a broken heart and tears for the lost. May He make you a faithful witness and give you true kingdom increase. May He take pleasure in your life and help you win many to Christ.