We’re in the midst of constructing the largest building to date on our campus. Every foot of construction progress represents multiplied hours of preparation and planning.
Buildings don’t just happen. And neither do churches. As spiritual leaders, undershepherds of Christ’s churches, it is our responsibility to labor with purpose and intention.
One of the greatest indicators of the health of a church is its heart for souls and diligence in outreach. Christians who love the Lord and are grateful for their salvation want to share the gospel message with others!
So if we want to labor with Christ to build a soulwinning church, what are the supplies necessary?
Supply #1: A Burden
It’s always amazing to me to read in Acts 17 as Paul went to Athens, presumably for a few days of respite while waiting for his helpers to join him, that his burden for souls was so real, he could not get away from it.
Paul didn’t see Athens as a tourist would; he saw it as a soulwinner—as a man with a burden for the eternal souls of others.
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.—Acts 17:16
We can try to incite a burden in others, but only God can really stir our hearts to the level of sharing His burden.
Supply #2: A Vision
A burden is developed by seeing the eternal needs of people.
If you’re convicted, as I often am, of your lack of a burden for others, pray for a burden. Let God stir it within you.
And meanwhile, share the gospel. Sometimes our lack of burden is because we simply aren’t out in the community seeing the needs of people. Sometimes my burden and passion increases once I pull away from my desk and go out into the community to find someone with whom I can share the gospel.
When Jesus saw people, He did not see them as a crowd or as a nuisance. He saw them as individuals, and He was moved with compassion for their spiritual needs.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.—Matthew 9:36–38
See people with the eyes of Jesus, and His burden will be your burden.
Supply #3: A Time
The best intentions in the world only make a difference if we follow through. And the best way I know to follow through on a good intention is to schedule it. What gets scheduled gets done.
If we will see people saved, we need a holy urgency—a fervency—that insists on making soulwinning part of our regular routines.
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
I truly believe that if we are too busy to regularly tell others about the Lord, then we are too busy. Soulwinning must be one of the “big rocks” in our schedule.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.—Ephesians 5:15–16
Supply #4: A Partner
Have a regular partner with whom you go out on a regular basis. This provides both encouragement and accountability.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.—Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
As spiritual leaders, taking someone else out with us also provides an opportunity to invest in and mentor another Christian. I like to go soulwinning with my wife (and I do), but I also intentionally take newer Christians out with me. I would encourage you to do the same. Perhaps this would be someone who’s not even going out now but would if you would ask them to be your partner and offer to train them.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.—2 Timothy 2:2
Supply #5: A Process
When Christ gave the Great Commission, He commanded us to go to “all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This is an assignment that requires more than “putting in the time.” It requires a careful and strategic plan.
We all understand this in relation to missions, but we don’t always see it in relation to reaching our own communities.
As Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he indicated that he had been thorough in his approach to reaching people in that community and following up with new Christians.
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ….Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.—Acts 20:20–21, 31
A process with this level of care requires strategy and purpose. It requires a plan—as a church and personally. It requires goals. It requires keeping a list (sometimes called a “prospect list”). It requires prayer and faithfulness. It requires Spirit-filled soulwinners who are tenacious in their obedience and diligent in their efforts.
Ultimately, it is Christ who builds the church—His church. He positively declared, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
But He has chosen to make us His co-laborers (1 Corinthians 3:9). May we labor faithfully as wise builders with a clear goal in mind.