SOUL WINNING AT CHURCH
I Timothy 3:15 — “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.”
Soul winning is not one of the nine gifts of the spirit. In fact, soul winning is not a gift at all. It is the responsibility and the purpose of the church to win souls. The promise of heaven is not the only reason we are saved. We are saved to win the lost.
We are seeing and experiencing a great revival within the United Pentecostal Church today. Home bible studies, Sunday School bus routes, visitation, personal witnessing, etc. are all being used to bring about revival.
One of the most important, easiest and yet most forgotten ways of soul winning, is still our local church. Someone will say about now – “Wait a minute! That’s the only method we had for years and it didn’t get the job done. We waited for people to come to the church and everyone did not come. We need to get out into the highways and the homes to tell them about the plan of salvation.” To all of this I say a big Amen. I believe that the job of the church is to get outside, where the people are, and tell them about the Lord. You see, this is where soul winning in the church becomes important. It is one thing to win a soul, to see a new convert become a member of our local assembly and another thing to keep that convert coming. It’s wonderful to see visitors in our services but the gospel must reach them.
I do not want to be a nit-picker (one that is paying too much attention to petty details) but I have traveled as an evangelist and have pastored several churches. Also I have noticed that sometimes it is very difficult for a new convert to break into our so-called circle of pentecost, (Cliques do not know age boundaries) I have also watched as visitors would come into our services and the saints would either ignore them completely or stare at them until I am sure they felt they were on some kind of display. With these and several other things I address this article to us – potential soul winners,
Here are some ways that I believe will help us to become a better soul winner. As you look over this list I believe you will see that everyone of us can help to win souls through these methods. May God help all of us to become a part of this last day revival.
I. SOUL WINNING PRIOR TO CHURCH
A. Your home. Do not wait to get to church to become spiritual. Set the mood in your home for the service that you are about to attend. One pastor told of playing religious music while getting ready for the service that night. You as a saint, a holy ghost filled saint, will create the atmosphere for the service. We are the temple of God. If the building that we are going to attend will have the presence of Cod tonight it will be because we bring the spirit of God with us. Get out of the habit of depending on everyone else to bring God with them. Too many saints go to church to receive something when in reality they should go to give. By the mood you set in your home, with getting things ready to go, you are setting the stage for God either to move or to be grieved.
B. Go early. Not on time. Don’t be late, in a hurry, upset, irritable. Someone this day is depending on you to touch God for them. How many times have I as a pastor or evangelist noticed that the visitors are in the pew early? Where are the saints? No one in the prayer rooms, no one to shake their hands and welcome them to the service. I’m talking about soul winning. Please let me say this right here – I have seen this more than once – a saint is late. He comes into the service feeling bad for being late, finds a pew and walks right over the visitor without even saying hello. Do we not even know common courtesy. They are the visitors not us, You may say I don’t want to disturb the service. One more reason for being early.
C. Pray before each service. Don’t depend on God to just bless you. We need God for this service. Our program will go down the drain without God. We need more prayer than practice. If you are going to take part, come that much earlier so you will still have time to pray.
D. Be friendly. Be friendly. Be friendly. This is most important in soul winning. Most people today are looking for a friend more than a doctrine. Hello – I’m still talking about soul winning. Introduce yourself by giving your name. If you do not have ushers help them find seating, song books, restrooms, etc. (young people – please help in soul winning. When you see a young person please go to him Make him feel at home. Treat him like you would like to be treated. If he is alone invite him to sit with you and your group. Introduce him to others.) Soul winning.
E. Look around at the building when you come in. Make sure everything is neat, clean and in place. Again – do not depend on others. You are soul winning. Visitors see more than you think.
F. If you take part – play an instrument, sing, etc. be prepared. Let the visitor know that you are happy about what you are doing. Smile, smile, smile. A radio station must keep their programs moving, They have what is called “dead air space” which is the time that nothing is going over the air. A little of this space and people wilt turn to another station. Hello – we do not need dead air space in our services. I have watched and waited for people to find the song they were going to sing, when they had been singing in that church for years. Visitors see and hear more than we think.
II. During the service is soul winning time.
A. Take part in the service. Sing the songs. Worship and praise God. (Well sometimes I don’t feel like it. I’m tired, sick, etc.). We’re not singing and worshipping for ourselves alone – but first for God, and then allowing the Holy Ghost to be used through us that others may come to know Him. That visitor, guest, is watching you (and I should say here your family) and judging what kind of church it is by how you act and respond, if you look bored, unconcerned, in a hurry to get home, how do you think the visitor will respond.
B. You can be a soul winner with your testimony. This was Paul’s greatest tool. Yet in one church I pastored I almost did away with testimony service. I found it did more damage than good. This is not the time to tell your hurts, and paints, etc. This is the time to glorify God. To tell simply what he has done for you. Try and make your testimony up to date. Let that visitor know why you come to church and how you feel about God. This will not only reach the lost it will help you.
C. Worship! Worship! Worship! I know I have already said some things about worship – but this is the key to any service. (We cannot promise anyone the Holy Ghost, but we should be able to create an atmosphere in which they may receive the Holy Ghost.)
III. SOUL WINNING DURING THE ALTAR CALL.
A. The altar call is not a bathroom break. An altar call is not the time to get the children ready to go home. This is the most important part of the service. This is not the end of the service. (Do not leave the auditorium.)
B. Pray earnestly for God to move. Oh! For some old time travail!
C. If the spirit leads you – go to someone and ask them if they would like to pray.
D. When everyone is invited to pray, stand and pray. We are soul winning. This is the climatic point of the service. If new people are kneeling, go and pray with them.
IV. SOUL WINNING AT THE ALTAR.
A. Work with the person you are praying with, not for them. Try and find out, after a while, where he is with God – (is he praying for the first time and does he know what repentance is? Please, please – let them repent.) He does not need to know about baptism, etc. Until he repents of his sins. This is getting to be a lost art in some of our churches. You will help keep more if they really repent.
B. After you find their need – help them. Maybe a word or a scripture is needed right here. Just saying praise the Lord in their ear is not all that some people need. We must worship God to get the atmosphere, but we must also find out what the need is.
C. Keep the worship atmosphere alive. Remember the words that we say must! be directed toward God in praise from our hearts and not just in the seeker. Often times we forget this and use catch words such as Praise the Lord, glory to God only to make a noise while praying. It is our heart that must reach. God not just our words. Saying, glory to God a hundred times does not make the Holy Ghost come any quicker.
D. Try and stay with the same person, I know it is easy to see someone just about to receive the Holy Ghost and you want to
jump over there and receive some of the blessing. Remember – we are here not only to receive but to give and to win souls. The person you are working with is as important as any one else there that night. You may not see the results that night but you may understand later that your time of prayer with them made the difference for their continuing on with God. Is this not soul winning?
E. Before you leave them – encourage and pray with them at the end of the service.
V. AFTER THE ALTER CALL
A. I believe this is one of the most important times in the life of the seeker. It would be good for you to take some time to sit down in a pew with them and just talk with them. Many people long just to talk to someone about their problems. You may be able to encourage them with a scripture, talk to them about a bible study in their home, tell them about the next service of the church. Find out if they have transportation to church the next service. Ask if they own a bible, etc. Many things can be talked over in this short period after the altar call.
B. One of the best things, if possible, is to take them to your home for a time of fellowship after church. Again all of the above things can be talked over in a friendly way over some refreshments. You may want to go out with them and others of the church to a restaurant.
C. Be sure and get their address and visit them the next week. Follow up is part of soul winning. Become responsible for that soul. Sure the pastor will visit but you will never know what your visit will do to help.
Try these methods your next service. You may be surprised how easy it is to win souls. May God bless all of us in the labor of soul winning.
(The original source and/or publisher of the above material is unknown.)
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