Special days, such as Easter Sunday, are a great time for extensive soulwinning in your community.
But sharing the gospel is not just a once-or-twice-a-year responsibility for the local church. It is to be our great priority. It is the mission with which Christ left us.
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
If your church is going to be consistently focused in soulwinning, thorough in saturating your community with the gospel, and diligent in follow up, you will need a soulwinning director—someone to coordinate the soulwinning efforts of the church family.
This may be a paid staff member or a layperson. It may even be, as it was for our church in the early years, the pastor.
How can a soulwinning director effectively engage the church family in outreach? Below are seven practices:
Because the mission of the church is Christ’s Great Commission, we should always be working to engage new people in learning how to share the gospel with others.
On a personal level, one of the best ways to recruit a new soulwinner is to simply ask, “Will you come soulwinning with me?”
A soulwinning director, however, can also create specific times over the course of a year for a church-wide emphasis on enlisting new soulwinners. At our church, this includes signup opportunities in adult Bible classes and church services and then a particular night when people meet their new partner and enjoy a meal together before going out to share the gospel.
Having specific enlistment times is a great opportunity for those who are newer to the church to signup, and is a good time for long-time soulwinners to renew their commitment to share the gospel. It also challenges experienced soulwinners to be continually training new soulwinners.
Three or four times a year (usually in conjunction with new signup opportunities), we offer a four-week soulwinners training.
We’ve done it at different times—sometimes as a Wednesday night elective during the Bible study, sometimes Saturday morning before the regular soulwinning time. Both are very effective.
In these classes, the soulwinning director teaches how to share the gospel, be an effective witness, make follow up calls, encourage new Christians, etc. For years, we’ve used the manual To Seek and to Save for this training, although I am currently writing a new training resource which we look forward to releasing at Spiritual Leadership Conference this June.
A soulwinning director can organize partners for soulwinning times—partnering new soulwinners with experienced soulwinners and partnering people according to which soulwinning meeting they are able to attend (Thursday/Saturday mornings, Thursday night, etc.).
At Lancaster Baptist, we partner people through their adult Bible classes and encourage people to keep the same partner through a six-month season, until our next church-wide new signups.
Before people even arrive at the soulwinning meeting, the soulwinning director can have maps prepared for doorknocking areas and follow up visits prepared for class teachers or others to make.
We have mapped out our entire community and assigned various areas to different classes. At each soulwinning meeting there are maps printed with streets highlighted for people to take. This enables our church to saturate our community without going to some areas every week and neglecting other areas entirely.
Keeping attendance of soulwinning meetings, keeping track of how many collective doors have been knocked, how many people are getting saved, and how follow up visits are going provides helpful information for a soulwinning director.
Every contact—whether reached through doorknocking or as a guest to the church—is a person who needs the Lord.
These follow up visits should be stewarded with utmost care and should be tracked tenaciously in terms of making sure contact has been made and someone is consistently working to reach that guest—either to share the gospel (if unsaved) or to fully engage them in the church.
I encourage soulwinners to use a prospect list as a tool to help in stewarding contacts. This is part of what we cover in our regualar soulwinning training mentioned above. (Also, we’ll be releasing a newly-designed prospect list booklet as part of the 4Outreach program at Spiritual Leadership Conference.)
The soulwinning director can encourage soulwinners to be diligent in using a prospect list for people they meet out doorknocking and following up on these prospects. He should personally monitor the follow up efforts for assigned calls for people who have actually visited the church.
Finally, a soulwinning director should work to encourage soulwinners. At each soulwinning meeting, he should give a brief and encouraging challenge for those who have come. But he should also be observant to a soulwinner who may be getting discouraged or who had a difficult visit.
Consistent encouragement requires consistent observation. As I often tell our staff, “Don’t be guilty of not noticing.” A soulwinning director is in a great position to notice when someone needs extra encouragement and to give it.
A Church-Wide Responsibility
The Great Commission was not given just to pastors. It was given to the local church. As pastors, it is our job to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12), and this includes the work of witnessing.
Whether you do this personally or with the help of a soulwinning director, it is vital that you engage your church family in making Christ’s last command their first priority and that you equip them with the resources to do so.
(Two additional resources that you may find helpful for yourself, your soulwinning director, or to recommend to your church are the book Out of Commission: Getting Every Christian Back to the Great Commission and the soulwinning sessions at Spiritual Leadership Conference.)