I firmly believe that Christ’s last command must be our first priority. I believe that every Christian individually as well as corporately with their church family should be actively engaged in sharing the gospel year round.
As a pastor, I take seriously our responsibility as a church to share the gospel, and I take seriously the spiritual maturity of our church family in making soulwinning a priority. If soulwinning and outreach times are attended by fewer and fewer people, that reveals a disconnect between what we say we believe and how we behave. Thus, we consistently give attention to keeping our soulwinning program strong.
And yet, like all priorities in our lives, sometimes we allow what is urgent to take place over what is important. Thus, every spring and fall, we press a restart button on the church soulwinning program, encouraging every member to enlist or reenlist in reaching our community with the gospel.
So, what do we do to prepare for a soulwinning relaunch? Each year is slightly different in the theming we use, but below are eight basic components:
- Preach on soulwinning. It is vital to me that our church’s soulwinning efforts are grounded in our biblical mandate found in the Great Commission, rather than in a sense of duty to the church itself. I could guilt people into attending weekly soulwinning for a while. (That would be short-lived, and it would not result in people being the faithful witnesses God calls us to be 24/7.) I want our church family to engage in reaching people with the gospel because of God’s grace at work in their hearts. Thus, I’ll preach a few messages before our fall soulwinning launch on our responsibility to share the gospel, the eternal realities of Heaven, Hell, and the human soul, and the biblical examples we see of soulwinners.
- Sing songs about reaching the lost. Use the song service to remind the congregation of the power of the gospel and our responsibility to share it. In the services preceding your soulwinning launch, include songs such as “There Is Power in the Blood,” “Jesus Saves,” “Rescue the Perishing,” etc.
- Have testimonies by soulwinners and those who have been reached by soulwinners in the past twelve months. Testimonies help us put faces to needs. Testimonies of people who were saved recently also speak to the fact that God is still reaching people with the gospel. They encourage people who have not been involved to want to be part of something that God is using to change lives.
- Conduct soulwinning sign ups. Rather than simply telling people they should be involved, provide sign up cards or sheets for people to specifically enlist (and reenlist). You can provide these sign ups either in the teen and adult Sunday school classes or as cards passed out during a church service. We have done both at different times.
- Offer training. We conduct two soulwinning classes each fall—Evangelism 101 and Evangelism 401. The first gives basic instruction for new soulwinners in using the Roman’s Road to lead a person to Christ as well as the nuts and bolts of keeping a prospect list and being diligent in follow up. (For this class, we use the book To Seek and to Save as a teaching manual and provide workbooks to all who enroll.) The second class covers more advanced training such as witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, answering difficult questions, etc.
- Encourage those who have been involved in soulwinning before to have a new partner. The best soulwinning training for a new soulwinner is to go out with a seasoned soulwinner. We ask those who have been involved in soulwinning before to invite a new soulwinner out with them, following the model of 2 Timothy 2: “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.”
- Have an organized start date for the fall soulwinning launch. When people sign up for the fall soulwinning launch, there is a specific date listed—one of the already-scheduled soulwinning meetings of the church—when it will begin. At that meeting, they pair up with their new partner for the fall.
- Be prepared with soulwinning materials. Order soulwinning materials such as tracts and training materials. Also be prepared with designated areas for soulwinners to go. For our soulwinning, we systematically work through maps of our community, with each adult Bible class being assigned a specific area. Prior to the fall launch, we highlight a fresh batch of maps.
Above all, pray. Pray for the Lord to stir the hearts of His people with their responsibility. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction in the hearts of the lost so they will be receptive to the gospel. Pray for God to use your church to make an impact on your community like never before.