Broken Hearts for the Lost
Here is a sobering fact. Almost 700,000 people die every day, nearly 30,000 die every hour, and approximately 500 die every minute. That number is increasing every day. Now understand the fact that only 33% of them are Christians. So today, 462 thousand people will die and be separated from God forever. How many hear the gospel is up to those 33%.
For years the church has been living in the sin of silence…the Great Commission has been the “great omission.” Despite the fact that Jesus told believers, five times by imperative commands, to go into all the world to make disciples, fewer than 1 in 10 will ever share their faith with someone who is lost. Even worse, only 1 in 20 have ever led in their entire Christian life more than one person to Christ. How tragic! Believe me, I was no better. That is why today I have a fire for evangelism. I must share the gospel because as Jeremiah 20:9 says, “his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I am going to share some of the experiences that I have had in my many years of evangelism. You can learn from my mistakes. You may have better ways yourself, but what I have learned the hard way, you can learn the easy way.
Learning From Mistakes
People learn more from their mistakes than their failures so I am offering you my mistake-laden advice free of charge in what was costly to me. I trained several years with an evangelist. I have had years of training sessions and trained multiple churches in methods of effective evangelism. The greatest thing I learned was that the power is in the message and not in the messenger. God the Father draws sinners, the Holy Spirit convicts the lost, and Jesus saves them. I am not involved in the saving. God saves, I only bring the message. The power is in the Word of God…in me there is no power. Saving is His responsibility, not mine. It is not their response to my ability but their response to His ability. Even the worse job of witnessing is still better than no witnessing at all. You are still being obedient to Christ’s command.
I have learned from experience that when I knock on someone’s door, I am invading their free time and I must respect their privacy. If no one answers, I do not look through a window or through an opening in the door. I ring the door bell first if there is one and I give them a few seconds to answer the door. If no one answers, only then do I knock and then only twice.
After a few seconds, I leave a Bible track that has the plan of salvation on it and a card with a name, the church’s phone number, address, and website if there is one.
Never walk across anyone’s yard. It shows disrespect when you do. People’s yards are like a nation’s sovereign territory. It is their private property and I respect it. What if they had just planted new grass or they want to keep their grass in great shape (and who wouldn’t?). What if they have just watered it or fertilized it? Respect is always important.
I never take risks like walking into a yard that has a dangerous looking dog in it or a “Beware of Dog“ sign on it. Either there really is a dangerous dog in the yard and I don‘t see them or it is there way of saying “Keep Out“. In any event, it is not worth the risk. And I do respect a “Keep Out” sign because they have every right to keep out whomever they want.
If there are children present in the yard I might wave but I never speak to them but go directly to the door. Do not ever engage children in conversations during visitations because if those are my children or grandchildren, I’m probably calling the police or coming out to meet them and ask them what they want.
When someone answers the door, the first thing I do is to apologize for intruding. I say, “I’m sorry to trouble you”…or because I am invading their space and walking on their private property. My first line is “I apologize for taking some of your time but I am (your first and last name) from the (church name) and we are out trying to find what we can do as a church to serve the community.” “Is there something that you feel that we as a church can do to help this town?” This is very non-threatening. It gives them an easy out and doesn’t try to cram religion down their throat. If they give you an answer, I usually write it down and say that we are trying to help the community as part of our church’s Outreach. If they have a church home I say “That’s great!” “As long as you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and have a church home, that is the main thing. If they do not then of course I hand them a card with the church’s address, times of worship, and a phone number on it. Our church has business size cards that tell the times of Sunday school, worship services, Wednesday night Bible Study, the phone number, website (if any), and the phone number on it. If they don’t have a church home and are willing to accept both a Bible track and the church’s card, then by all means give it to them.
You may discover that there are better times for you to go but from my experience, I have found that the best times are around 10 a.m. to around 12 p.m. and the best days are Saturday mornings. Another great time is around 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday nights. Those days are best I have found since most people are in a much more receptive mood than Monday night which they have children to feed, homework for them to do, there are tired or not the most cheerful on Monday’s anyway. Most people work 1st shift too so the majority of people will be home on Friday nights. And whether someone works 1st shift or 2nd shift, they are usually home on Saturday mornings and they are often awake after 10 a.m.
Also it is always preferable to go with someone else. Men with men and women with women is ideal. Mixing a married man with another married or single woman is not ever appropriate. Plus with two people you have one person that can be praying while you talk. And the fact that if you meet someone at the door and they are dressed inappropriately, you have another witness with you to testify about what, if anything, happened. Respect their right to say no. If they are not interested, you can say thank you for your time and offer them a Bible track and the church’s business card but if they refuse that, then don’t try to force one into their hand, stick one on their fence post and of course never put anything from the church in a mailbox. That is illegal.
Obedience to the Call
Again its good to remember that the worst job at witnessing is still better than not witnessing at all. The power in the message and not in the messenger and God is the One Who calls and draws men and women to Christ and not you or me. You are simply being obedient and God draws people to Jesus Christ and does so by the Holy Spirit so you are not responsible for their rejecting or accepting the message (John 6:44). Sometimes you plant and someone else will water. At other times you will water what someone has planted. But as always, God gives the increase. As Paul said in I Corinthians 3:6,7, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.“ It is their response to His ability. Below is a simple decision card that you can use or the ABC’s of salvation will work too.
Please understand that Decision Cards, the ABC’s of salvation, or leading someone in a sinner’s prayer is not going to save anyone. God alone saves. No one is saved by walking down an aisle, or filling out a Decision Card, or praying a prayer. They are saved only when the believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, as Lord and Savior. Believing in Jesus is not just believing Who He is. Believing in John 3:16 means relying on, leaning upon, trusting in, and putting their reliance in.
I pray this inspires you and equips you. Matthew 9:37-38 says that, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I pray you will be one of them.
ABC’S OF SALVATION
A. Admit you are a sinner. “There is no one righteous, not even one … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 and 6:23. Ask God’s forgiveness. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
B. Believe in Jesus. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (See John 14:6.) Become a child of God by receiving Christ. “To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (See Revelation 3:20.)
C. Confess that Jesus is your Lord. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (See verse 10.)
THE FOUR A’s OF SALVATION
I Admit – that I am a sinner and in need of a Savior
I Abandon – self-effort and realize I can not be saved by my works or efforts
I Acknowledge – Christ as payment for my sins now and forever, done by His work
I Accept – Jesus Christ as my personal lord and Savior
The Holy Bible, New International Version
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