Seed Sowing and the Home Bible Study Ministry
By J.E. Yonts
No farmer would expect to reap a crop where he had not sown. If a harvest is to be realized, necessary steps must be taken. The broken ground, the sowing of the seed, the cultivation, and the waiting are sequential steps toward a harvest. A full grainery at harvest time indicates that someone has mingled faith with works and succeeded.
We have tried to make a “chore boy” out of God. We have asked him to do what He has delegated us to do. We have asked Him to win souls when He has asked us to sow the seed. A field that is not sown with good grain will produce only weeds; it will never produce a crop. A wet field without any seed in the ground is only a muddy field. We need not expect anything but weeds to grow. If we want a crop, we must sow the seed. So it is with soul winning. Inviting people to church is not necessarily a witness. If we want lost souls to be saved, we must put the good seed of the Word in their heart.
Psalms 126:6 tells us that, “He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” This is God’s law of the harvest. It will work. It won’t fail. It is irrevocable. A few kernels of grain properly planted and cared for could in a short time reproduce themselves until you could plant a field of grain as large as the entire earth. We must reach our world. We have been commanded to do so. It is a simple matter of sowing seed for the harvest. If we want to bring in the sheaves, we must go out in the field and sow the seed. Home Bible Study is one of the finest ways to do this.
Every normal living thing reproduces itself; it is true with fish, birds, animals, humans, or the various kinds of plant life. Is it only “super-Christians” who win souls? If we are to understand God’s law of reproduction that is recorded in His Word and observed in everyday life, then we must believe that it is only normal to reproduce. The grain of corn would fill the world with corn if its increase was continually planted. If Christians would reproduce themselves, by teaching home Bible studies as well as other methods, in a short time the world would be full of Christians.
Why should it be that all of God’s creation is normal in reproduction except Christians? Have we not cried like Rachel of old, “Give me children or I die”? Have we not often agonized, travailed, knocked, and sought, to no avail? We have done everything – but sow the seed. God teaches us that if we will sow the good Word of God into the good ground of the hearts of men, it will grow.
Doubling the Membership
It is possible for a small church to double its actual adult membership in one year through Home Bible Study. It has been my personal joy to see this happen. When the tool of Home Bible Study is placed in the hands of a fervent Christian he suddenly has a proven method of becoming a successful soul winner.
The Bible Study is like the transmission in a car. It transmits the power, the experience, and the knowledge from the heart of a believer into the heart of a sinner. In the past the only reason that our gospel has not reached the entire world has been our failure to transmit it. We are transmitters. If the world is to hear the only saving gospel, it must be transmitted through those who have it. The finest of engines would not turn the wheels of the most expensive automobile if the power of the engine was not transmitted to the wheels.
When we have truly transmitted heaven’s message to a lost, hungry soul, we have connected him to a lifeline that can save.
Every church that methodically employs the ministry of the Home Bible Study is growing. Once the home Bible study is underway, effectively reaching into the homes in a given city, the church could double its membership in one year.
You as a Christian can reproduce yourself in a year through the Home Bible Study. The Home Bible Study is not difficult to teach: Almost anyone can teach it. It is simply sitting down in a person’s home with a Bible and a chart and unfolding to those present what you know about the Word of God.
Much of the Bible is written in story form. The Word of God is descriptive and beautiful; it is sometimes poetic and stately, but it is always very open and clear in that it tells both the good and the bad. Teaching a Home Bible Study is not preaching a sermon, but relating the beautiful truths of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible.
A teacher need not be a minister, a Bible school graduate, or even a Christian of long standing. Both those who have been saved for years and those who are new converts can teach a Home Bible Study very effectively (after a short period of training.)
We have won too few in our past outreaches for the lost. Furthermore, of those who were won, we have kept far too few. A true, honest evaluation would show that most churches only retain between ten and twenty-five percent of their new converts. One reason for so many failures is the lack of follow-up.
Jesus told us to go and to make disciples and He gave us an example After three and one-half years of ministry, Jesus left His entire work in the hands of twelve men, one of whom would commit suicide. Although He was in them in the power of the Holy Spirit, there is unmistakable evidence that Jesus left the future of the unborn church in the hands of His disciples. He fed the multitudes, He ministered to the thousands, but for the perpetuation of the message of Calvary He diffused His life into the lives of twelve men. Eleven of these men lived to change their world. It is the Lord’s will that His disciples make other disciples.
We have unconsciously placed the responsibility of discipleship in the hands of the ministry; however, if disciples can make disciples, then any Christian can reproduce himself. This is the key that unlocks the biblical secret of how the Early Church grew. This key also unfolds to us the possibility of reaching our entire world with the gospel before Jesus comes. We have wanted things too easy. We have not wanted to involve our time and our labor. We have merely hoped that new converts would be made and that they would remain; but it is now time that every Christian involve himself in the task of soul winning. If we are to hear Jesus say, “Well done,” then we must do well.
A person who wins a soul should not feel that his responsibility to that soul is ended with conversion. With proper understanding and training a soul winner can disciple a new convert and so establish him in the faith that he in turn will become a soul winner. The gospel will keep on working and growing fruit as long as it is continually sown in good ground.
We must determine what we want to do with our life. We must know where we want to go and what we want to accomplish. This involves setting priorities. What is the most important thing in your life? If soul winning is secondary or even farther down the list, then we no longer have to wonder why we are not a soul winner. How much of your life would you give to win a soul? Would you give a year, and if so, after that year would you give another year for another soul?
Soul winning is addicting. Real soul winners continue to win souls. They are not super-Christians; they are just Christians who are normal in God’s eyes and who want to share their new love-life with the whole world.
Let’s ask ourselves some questions. Why did God save me? What does He want of me more than anything else? Am I willing to take time to win a soul? How do I fit into world evangelism? The answer to all of these questions is wrapped up in soul winning. When God gathers His jewels into His great kingdom, do you not want some souls to be crowned by Him who have your fingerprints on them? Do you not want some sheaves that your hands have touched in the gathering? The fields are still white, but laboring hands must touch the harvest.
Sunday Morning Blues
Most outreaches are designed for church attendance with the ultimate goal being that of saving souls. Sunday morning is a time of peak attendance for most churches. It is to this service that most people are invited. How discouraging it is on Sunday morning when we call those who have promised to come, only to receive a negative answer! How disappointing when we hope to see their face in church only to find out that they did not come! The “Sunday morning blues” is created by people who promised to come to church, but did not. Many Christians have wept and many pastors have lost the inspiration for their message because sinners, who promised to come, did not attend.
The Home Bible Study does not wait for people to come to church. It takes the Word of God into their homes. Properly instituted, Home Bible Studies will cure the absentee problem in any church. You will not have to plead with the sinner to come to church. When you teach him the Word of God, it will grow in his heart. The Word of God will work a transformation in his life.
When the Word has done its work it will cause people to come to church. They will get saved. They will live for God. There will be sinners in every service. Revival spirit will prevail. Altar calls will not be lengthy and pleading because the Word of God has already been planted and conviction is resident in the sinner’s life. When the invitation is given, they want to pray, they want to seek God, and they will come. Faith has already been generated and they will want to be a child of God.
In this type of atmosphere, the church blazes with revival, attendance problems are solved, and a constant inflow of new converts is experienced. Churches which become stalemated in growth often times become problematic because of internal conflict. But the soul winning church is a happy church. Is it not time to show the true face of Jesus Christ, reproduced in the life of His children, across North America? He wants to save lost souls in every service: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Youth night, Bible Study night – it makes no difference to Him. Soul saving is the real business of a true church, and the Home Bible Study is the real cure for the “Sunday morning blues.”
Did you ever witness to a soul until they were under conviction, only to have them join another church? We have populated churches of all denominations with people that we have witnessed to. This story can be drastically changed through employing the method of the Home
Words of Wisdom
You will experience great difficulty in instituting the program of the Home Bible Study. The devil hates it. He knows the conquering forces that are aimed at his kingdom of darkness through the Word of God. To begin this program effectively, therefore, will be one of the hardest things that you have ever tried to do. You will say, “I can’t get it started.” Some people have said, “It hasn’t worked.” Every success story has its stories of failures. This is also true with the story of the Home Bible Study. There will be some failures. There will be great opposition in getting it started. It will require much prayer and fasting and labor. But don’t give up-keep trying.
It looked as if all of Jesus’ successes were failures when He was crucified, but time proved that the Word of God invested would be productive. Your time is not wasted when you teach God’s Word although for the moment it may appear that you have failed. If you will continue, you will succeed, because God will honor His Word.
Revival does not come by the lottery system. God is not stopped and His help obtained, by the accidental positioning of a turning wheel or the drawing out of a box. Revival is a result of praying, believing, and working. How often have we prayed for a hundred soul revival, not realizing that we could not handle a hundred-soul revival in our church? Did any mother ever ask to be the mother of triplets or quadruplets or quintuplets? Most probably the answer is “No.” Why not? Do mothers not like babies?
It is not that they do not love babies but the simple answer is they can’t take care of so many of them at once. So it is in the church when converts are born; they are babes in Christ. Someone must nurture and love them. Without this special care, they will perish. If we are to experience large revivals of many souls, we must build our base wide enough so that we can handle all of these new spiritual babes. A church of forty members could not handle a hundred-soul revival.
The roots of a tree must be as wide as the branches in order for the branches to bear the proper fruit. We need to expand our base by everyone becoming a soul winner and reaching out into a lost world to bring sinners from their dark world into our world of light. This can be accomplished through the Home Bible Study.
If the program is to operate successfully in a local church, it has to begin with the pastor. The pastor must teach it first and be a soul winner. It was my happy privilege, during approximately one year’s time in teaching this study, to watch eight beautiful people baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost. Of these eight, most of them became teachers of the same study and soul winners themselves. It will work, it will work, it will work, and it will work if you will work it!!!
This article is from the book “Spiritual Reproduction Through the Home Bible Study” By: J.E. Yonts; Home Missions Division UPCI, 1974