I’m writing a book titled Out of Commission. This is the first book I’ve written that deals comprehensively with the philosophy of soulwinning, why our local churches are neglecting it in this day, and how we can get back to making Christ’s command our priority.
If there is one thing I’ve learned regarding writing it is that priorities matter. The best of intentions don’t write books; only writing writes books.
Similarly, the best of intentions in our soulwinning and outreach don’t get the job done. Only direct and active obedience to the command of Christ gets the job done. Below is an excerpt from the book that speaks to this very issue of priorities in evangelism. It will be a few weeks yet before the manuscript is completed, but I wanted to share this excerpt with you now:
We live in a crazy busy time. We live at a faster, fuller pace than our grandparents would have believed possible—perhaps to our detriment. Whatever the case, we’re busy.
There are so many urgent needs pulling us in so many directions—the greatest of these needs being reaching men and women for Christ. Christ commanded it in what we call “The Great Commission”:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.—Matthew 28:19–20
This is our first priority, right?
The answer to that question depends on if we are speaking in terms of should be or is.
Perhaps in your heart of hearts, you believe the Great Commission is your priority. But if you want to know what in actuality is your priority, there are two easy places to look: your to do list and your schedule.
I think an honest look at the schedules of most Christians today contrasted with the urgency of the Great Commission would reveal an uncomfortable diagnosis: we’ve made Christ’s priorities our options.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33). We’re happy to seek the advancement of His kingdom…if we have time. More often than not, however, we only seem to have time to seek it second or third…or not at all.
Our schedules are always full. There are always important responsibilities and opportunities clamoring for our attention. But at some point, we have to step back and say, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). At some point, we have to say, “Evangelism is my priority, and I’m going to make it happen.”
Like you, I have a full to do list. (I even have a “someday/maybe list” for the projects that I know won’t make it on my to do list.) And like you, not everything on my list gets done. Sometimes I never move past the first few items.
This is why evangelism must be our first item. It has to be a priority. I urge you, don’t say, “I’ll get around to it.” Decide that you will do it.
There are some things that we make time for. And I believe the Great Commission of Christ should be on the top of that list.
The mandate of Christ is an active mandate. He simply said, “Go.”
Do you want to go? Make time for it. Schedule it.
Living by priorities means that we have to let some things go. But it means we make those as purposeful decisions, not as regretful happenchance. It means we decide what we are going to let go and that this letting-go list does not include Christ’s last command to the local church.
From the very beginning of Christ’s ministry, He called men to turn from their pursuits and follow Him: “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-17).
What do you need to turn from—or at least bump down on your priority list—to follow Christ in reaching the souls of men?