If there is one thing that is clear in the New Testament, it is that the gospel doesn’t end with receiving it. It is a truth to pass on to others.
From the woman at the well who immediately “left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:28–29) to the Thessalonicans who told everyone they came in contact with about Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:8), it’s clear that spreading the gospel is the normal response to receiving the gospel.
Many spiritual leaders who lead others to faith in Christ stop a little too soon—they miss involving a new Christian in the Great Commission as well.
Our responsibility does not end with leading a person to Christ and seeing them baptized and on their way in spiritual growth. We are to teach them to likewise share the gospel and lead others to Christ.
What can you do to obey the Great Commission by engaging new Christians in it?
Involve Others Intentionally
A new Christian has a natural desire for others to hear the gospel. A wise soulwinner will involve a new Christian in sharing his faith and in learning how to do it effectively.
Encourage a new Christian to invite others to church. Better still, invite a new Christian to go soulwinning with you! (If you are already committed, ask another seasoned soulwinner to take them out.)
Let them watch and learn as you engage people in gospel conversations. In many ways, soulwinning is better caught than taught. You can teach someone a gospel presentation with specific verses, but what they learn from actually going with you allows them to capture something more than a memorized plan. They will learn from you to have a burden for lost souls, to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as you present the gospel, and to be a good representative for Christ and His church.
Also, when you lead someone to Christ, ask them about their friends, and offer to help them witness to their friends. This may be by making a visit together, or it may be by coaching them through how they can share their testimony with their friends.
Pray for Them Privately
Sometimes we pray more fervently for people to be saved than we pray for them after they are saved. This should not be. All throughout Paul’s epistles, we see him telling those he had led to Christ that he still prayed for them.
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;—Ephesians 1:16
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,—Philippians 1:4
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,—Colossians 1:3
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;—1 Thessalonians 1:2
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,—Philemon 4
If you want to see the person you led to the Lord continue growing in grace and become fruitful in their witness, don’t neglect to pray for them.
Maintain a Consistent Testimony
Finally, if you want to see the gospel multiply, remain faithful yourself. The greatest gift you can give a new Christian is a good example. And one of the most discouraging things for a new Christian is when the person who led them to Christ ceases to be faithful—to the Lord or in sharing the gospel.
Remember that those who you lead to Christ tend to look to you. Make sure then that you are living in a way that points them to Christ. No one is perfect, but we can be faithful and we can work to have a consistent Christian testimony.
But even beyond your testimony as a Christian, remain faithful as a soulwinner.
The person who taught me how to lead people to Christ was my mother. When I was still in elementary school, she would bring me with her every Saturday as she would go from house to house sharing the gospel.
Today, my mom has Alzheimer’s and is losing memories that are important to her. She forgets names and even people. She can’t remember dates or how to do basic activities she used to enjoy.
But there is one thing my mom hasn’t forgotten—the gospel.
Several weeks ago, I was with her in a hospital waiting room while a family member was having surgery. In the three or four hours we were there, my mom witnessed to several people and led one to Christ. To hear her share the sweet story of salvation—when she can’t remember her address or phone number or even her birthday—brought tears to my eyes. Here was the person who taught me how to share the gospel almost fifty years ago…still sharing it.
Make it your goal that those you lead to Christ will see you continuing to be faithful as a soulwinner through the years—whether it’s the following afternoon or the following decade, they will see you continuing to seek out those who are lost and tell them that Jesus saves.
This post is adapted from my soon-to-be-released book, Take It Personally: A Practical Guide to Owning and Obeying the Great Commission. This book is a soulwinning manual to teach Christians how to share the gospel and to follow up with new believers. It will be available next week from Striving Together, along with a student workbook for local churches to use in soulwinning training classes.
For more encouragement and training in soulwinning and outreach, join us for Spiritual Leadership Conference June 12–15, 2016. In addition to preaching services, this conference includes practical and equipping sessions that provide training and encouragement for local church soulwinning, follow up, and discipleship training.