Week of spiritual revival and evangelistic training

The most important secret of Effective Soul Winning

– What is the secret to effective soul winning? What would make a follower of Jesus be successful in leading others to Christ? Pastors and church leaders have long looked for the answer to this question. Some believe it is a particular strategy, one relevant to the needs of the people we’re trying to reach. Others may say it’s more about resources: if we had the manpower as well as the financial means as well as the time needed, much more could be done. And a third group may focus on the church’s own level of spirituality. “The church is asleep,” they would say, “how could we reach out to a world in the dark when we’re asleep in the light?” All of the above contain important elements of truth. But is that the bottom-line answer? When you look at Jesus’ ministry, He was very effective attracting souls to God. Why? Jesus was a magnet to a great number of people. When in Galilee, a region less influenced by Pharisaical society, entire cities would come out to hear Him, and bring their sick for Him to heal. We know His ministry was made up of three categories: a healing, a teaching, and a preaching ministry. And out of these, He spent much more time healing than anything else. So, is healing the key to soul winning? Do we need to go about focusing on our health message more, or more efficiently? While that would greatly help, that may still not be the bottom-line answer. What, then? We forget that Jesus’ work on earth, day in and day out, must have been exhausting to the Son of Man. Up very early in the morning, to commune with His Father. Down very late at night, after talking with perhaps dozens of people one-on-one and healing and teaching multitudes all day. (So, my busyness is no excuse, is it?). True, a key factor was the strength He received daily from God, something that allowed Him to make prudent decisions (see Mark 1:21-38). So, one hint to this key we’re looking for may be His dead-set determination to daily seek the will of His Father, and set out to do it (John 5:30). But there is more. Can you visualize Jesus on the cross? Instead of complaining, of cursing people out,were doing crucified next to Him were
doing (Matt 27:44), His struggle was not about His own pitiful situation but about whether or not His connection with God was still as strong as ever. He didn’t think of Himself, His pain or His suffering. Instead, He thought of the thief on the cross, His grieving mother, and the soldiers who treated Him so cruelly. He thought of the lost, and His concern was whether His sacrifice would be sufficient—so great was the darkness of sin in human beings! Thus, Jesus on the cross teaches the relationship between self-sacrifice and soul winning. The more willing we are to sacrifice for others, the more effective we will be in attracting others to Him. This is not about having a martyr’s complex or about self-beating to elicit attention. This is about how we handle the tough spots in our lives. For instance, the thief on the cross surrendered to God as he contemplated the behavior of Jesus. The more He watched His sacrifice, the more his heart was strangely warmed to the Master. The same thing with the Centurion who couldn’t help but say: “Truly this was the Son of God!” He was won to Jesus by watching Him at His darkest hour. Perhaps he heard Jesus speak before. Perhaps he witnessed some of His miracles. But what did it for him was watching Him on that cross and all that that implied. Simon of Cyrene became a follower of Jesus after he carried His cross. He watched Jesus handle the pain, the rejection, the scorn. He realized this was a different kind of a Man. The turning point for all three of these men was their contemplation of Jesus at the cross. When was the last time you brought three people to Jesus in a few hours? Jesus did it while on the cross!! Here is the secret of effective soul winning: your willingness to sacrifice for others. Are you willing to put in the time? Are you willing to pray faithfully for the lost? Are you willing to cooperate with God regarding whatever needs to be done in order to reach someone? Are you willing to do what your flesh is so naturally set against doing? Self-sacrifice is the key. And the more we contemplate Christ on the cross, the more willing we will be to sacrifice self for the sake of others. ■

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