One of the great blessings of being part of a local church that is reaching people with the gospel is the combined efforts that result in fruit. One plants, one waters, and God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). It is, of course, a joy to be part of any of those stages, knowing that all make a difference.
And yet, there is a correlating danger to this blessing—that we would get caught up in being part of a group that is seeing fruit, without investing personal effort or caring to see personal fruit.
It’s exciting to be part of what others are doing, but I believe God is pleased when we pray with old time preacher and missionary, John Hyde, “God, give me souls, else I die!” It glorifies God when we bear fruit that remains (John 15:8, 16).
So, do participate in your church’s outreach and any evangelistic Sundays, knowing that every person who serves in any way has part in the resulting fruit. But also ask the Lord to let you see personal fruit. Determine that you do not only want to be part of a group, but that you want to personally share the gospel with the lost.
What can you do to see a personal harvest of souls?
- Set goals. You’ve heard it said: “He who aims at nothing, hits it every time.” My outreach goals are primarily centered on a number of doors in the community to knock and people to personally share the gospel with. I don’t ordinarily set goals of numbers saved, simply because I know it is God who gives the increase. I can tell you, though, that He gives more increase when I plant more seeds. So set measurable goals for sowing gospel seeds.
- Look everywhere for prospects. See every contact you make as a soulwinning contact. You don’t have to force conversations, but you should be praying and looking for opportunities to share the gospel. And, if you carry gospel tracts, you’ll often have an easier time starting a conversation.
- Go into the community. No advertising, social media campaigns, or mailers can replace a man or woman in the power of the Holy Spirit going door to door in the community witnessing for Christ. At Lancaster Baptist Church, we do advertise, use social media, and send mailers, but the majority of people in our church today were reached through door-to-door soulwinning and the faithful witness of friends and family members.
- Keep a spirit of faith. I love the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:23: “Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city….” Everywhere Paul went, he suffered, simply for preaching the gospel. What gave him the courage to go on was faith that the Holy Spirit was witnessing in every city. We know that technically we are not the real soulwinners—the Holy Spirit it. Remembering and believing that He is using your witness will give you boldness to speak and faith to continue.
- Follow up with every prospect. Be diligent in recording the names and contact information of those who have shown interest in the gospel or church. Be faithful to pray for them and to follow up with a note, call, or visit weekly. This kind of follow up is often where you will see the greatest fruit.
Do you desire a personal harvest of souls this fall? That desire is a great place to start. From there, believe the Holy Spirit is witnessing, share the gospel faithfully, and steward every contact that God gives you.
The fall is a great season for many activities—but above all else, ask the Lord to let it be a season for you of a personal harvest.