Saturday, February 4, 2023

Soul-Winning Isn’t a Spectator Sport

 “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others."
– 2 Corinthians 5:11

When I was a student at Pacific Christian College in the mid-’90s, Steven was a student at the university across the street: Cal State Fullerton. But he wasn’t your average underclassman. For starters, Steven had a very interesting sense of style—rumpled clothing, scruffy hair, and thick eyeglasses that he repaired with duct tape when the frames broke. But there was something else unique about Steven. He was 40 years old and had been enrolled as a student at Cal State for more than 11 years, taking just one class a semester. Steven stretched out his time in college as long as possible—because he wasn’t there to get a degree. He was there to tell students about Jesus.

Every Friday at lunchtime, Steven wheeled a small portable grill onto the campus quad, where he grilled free hamburgers for students. He just had one rule: No burgers to go. If you took a free burger, you had to sit down and join him for lunch. And once you did, he’d tell you about Jesus.

I saw that Steven had a burden for lost souls, so I joined him one Friday and gave him a hand. And it took all of about 20 minutes for me to start criticizing his technique. His mannerisms were awkward. He came across a little pushy. And Stephen seemed ill-prepared to respond to students’ intellectual arguments against Christianity. I almost quit. He just wasn’t doing it right! But then I sensed the still, small voice of God speaking to my heart: “Dane, he is doing more to lead people to Me than you’ve EVER done. Shut up and help him.”

One of the greatest evangelists in American history was D.L. Moody. In the 1800s, he shared the gospel (in person or in writing) with at least one hundred million people. A man came up to Moody once and criticized him for the way he went about winning souls. Moody listened politely and then asked the man, “How would you do it?” The man struggled to answer Moody’s question … then admitted that he didn’t do it. Moody’s response was brilliant: “Well, I prefer the way I do it to the way you DON’T do it.”

Steven taught me a lot about being a soul winner for Jesus Christ. He taught me that it’s not about having the perfect words and methods, or even about having an ounce of fashion sense. It’s about having #1: A love for Jesus. #2: A heart for the lost, and #3: A willingness to obediently go and be used by God.

Some Christians may wonder why God doesn’t just take us up to heaven once we’ve made the saving decision to follow Jesus Christ. The answer is simple: We’ve got work to do! As the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5, we “would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (v.8). But God says, “No. Not…yet.” So, what do we do in the meantime? Paul answers in verse 9: “We make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” And according to verse 11, we please Him by trying to persuade others to accept Christ—to turn from death to life. If you love Jesus and you know that He loves the spiritually lost and dying people around you, His love compels you to act: “For Christ’s love compels us” (v. 14).

And if you love Jesus, certainly at some point you’ve desired to be a part of an important ministry for Jesus. Congratulations! You’ve been given one: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (v.18). It’s the ministry of bringing people with no purpose to the One who gives their life purpose. Bringing those who have no peace to the Prince of Peace. And bringing individuals who have no hope to the God of all hope: Jesus Christ.

Don’t buy into the lie from Satan that sharing your faith and leading those around you to Christ is some OTHER Christian’s business. It’s not. It’s YOUR business. Soulwinning isn’t a spectator sport. You can’t just be an enthusiastic cheerleader. Christ’s love compels you, it constrains you, it moves you to be His witness to the people around you.

I know that for many Christians, this seems SO daunting. So intimidating! So scary! “I’m an introvert. I’m not GOOD at striking up conversations with people. I don’t know what to say. What if I say something stupid? What if I mess it up and scare people away from Christ? What if my coworkers or neighbors laugh at me and I make a fool of myself?” Believe me, I get it. Like you, sometimes it scares me to share my faith. Sometimes, like you, I worry about saying something wrong. But then the Spirit of God speaks to my heart and asks, “What will happen if you DON’T tell them about Christ?” That’s a sobering thought. The consequences of NOT telling people about Jesus are far greater that the consequences of telling them and somehow failing.

You can’t just hope the people around you will come to Christ. You have to go tell them. You have to go invite them. As you’re living your life and going from place to place, you have to get out of your comfort zone and be used by God wherever you’re going. Like Isaiah, we must say to God: “Here I am! Send me!” 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

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