Love on Fire
by G. J. Chandler
R

uth came to our church in Michigan as a visitor brought by one of our parishioners. Ruth was soon saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. She then came to me and asked, “What should I do now?” I told her to go and invite someone to receive the Lord.

So, Ruth went to her sister, and she accepted Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Soon, Ruth was reaching out to other members of her family—her mother, her father, her brother, another sister, and then her friends and neighbors. In less than 12 months, Ruth had won 21 people to the Lord. Then the people she had won began bringing people in, and the church experienced revival and excellent growth.

The excitement of seeing new souls won to the Lord will ignite a new passion in the congregation to reach out to lost people. If we are to fulfill the Church’s mandate to finish the Great Commission, we need the fire of God ablaze around our altars. One of the best ways to kindle that fire and keep it blazing is by congregational involvement in person-to-person soulwinning.

How I Learned to Win Souls

I learned how to win souls through desperation. I had been saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. I felt the call to preach the Gospel, and I was appointed to go to Saginaw, Michigan, to begin a church. I had no congregation and no building.

We began with a home prayer meeting with only a few people. Soon, we moved to a storefront. That’s when I realized I had to reach out to people. The building wasn’t exactly an exciting location to attract people, so I had to go outside and reach people wherever they were. I started knocking on doors and inviting people to come to church. I sometimes led people to the Lord on their porch or in their living room. I was winning them to the Lord, but not necessarily at church.

I learned there are many people who are hungry for an experience with God but they don’t know how to come to Him. I began to study the Scripture to find out how to lead people to the Lord. l soon discovered that Jesus won many people on a person-to-person basis, meeting them one-on-one and ministering to their needs. Jesus always had the goal of bringing people to an experience of forgiveness of sin and salvation. This is seen in His repeated admonition to “sin no more” (John 5:14; 8:11).

Jesus won most of His followers by personal effort. He encountered them with the Good News wherever He found them: Matthew at the tollbooth (Matt. 9:9); Peter, Andrew, James, and John at their fishing nets (4:18-22); Zacchaeus, perched in the sycamore tree (Luke 19:1-10); and the adulteress, cowering at His feet in the dust (John 8:1-11).

The Church’s Supreme Task

The Word of God likens the Church to “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13), which means it helps to make life palatable. The Church is also called “the light of the world” (v. 14), which means it penetrates the darkness. In His teaching, Jesus likened the Church to a woman seeking for a lost coin, a shepherd seeking a straying sheep, and a father on constant watch for his wayward son (Luke 15). These are the lost, the straying, and the indifferent people God wants to reach.

The congregation whose members are not both interested in and putting forth personal effort in behalf of a lost world has forfeited its credentials and its right to exist.

The fires of Calvary were kindled by a broken heart. So are the fires of revival. The utterly unselfish love of Jesus in the heart, drenched by the oil of the Holy Spirit and set afire by a world’s need, is love on fire. People have long heard about the Man of Galilee. Now they want to see Him lived out in you and me.

Tact, Contact, and Ability

The prophet Isaiah said, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (50:4). Isaiah is describing tact: the ability to do or say the right thing at the right time. Tact is vital in approaching people for the Lord.

The fires of Calvary were kindled by a broken heart. So are the fires of revival.

Another element of success in personal soulwinning is contact. To make contact is to secure the undivided attention of another. Contact is often best achieved by showing a real interest in that which is currently engaging the interest of your listener.

The personal soulwinner must have ability as well. The soulwinner needs ability to read and understand people, ability in handling the Bible, and ability to bring about decisions as enabled by the Holy Spirit.

Opportunities

The soulwinner should be sensitive to opportunities to witness to the lost. While opportunities must not be forced, they need to be anticipated and must not be missed. As Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

It is usually best to deal with those of your gender and age group. Avoid abrupt questions, such as “Are you a Christian?” or “Are you saved?” Both are approaches that may antagonize. It is far better to begin the conversation with some topic related to the situation in which you find the individual, and gradually lead to the question of his or her relationship with God.

Every soulwinner should remember the words of Jesus: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). If the Holy Spirit is not moving and drawing the soul, it is not wise to try to extract a mere verbal acceptance of Christ. Salvation is a matter of the heart. Unless you sense there is a move of the Spirit, it is best to leave a word of Scripture with them and allow it to continue to do its work. When using Scripture, it is always best to let the person you are dealing with read God’s Word aloud. Then, the Word enters through the channels of the eye, the voice, and the hearing.

An Atmosphere of Spiritual Renewal

Person-to-person soulwinning is one of the best ways to bring revival to your church. It is a proven method of church growth. It involves church members in evangelism and discipleship. It brings new people into your congregation and promotes an atmosphere of spiritual renewal as the church is infused with newborn Christians.

G. J. Chandler has served the church as pastor, state overseer, and national evangelist. He and his wife, Carla, reside in Cullman, Alabama. He currently serves as a district overseer and leads a weekly senior fellowship.

Bishop Chandler has recently published Person-to-Person Soul-winning and a companion teaching guide. For more information, call 256-505-2541.