Ingredients of an Evangelistic Church

AS I DRIVE along tonight in my car from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Hammond, I am thinking of the condition of the churches in America and meditating upon the services in which I spoke today. I am more convinced than I have ever been that the great need of America is soul-winning churches. Perhaps nothing could do as much for our sick nation today as for every city, town, and hamlet to have a real old-fashioned, soul-winning church within its boundaries.

AS I DRIVE along tonight in my car from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Hammond, I am thinking of the condition of the churches in America and meditating upon the services in which I spoke today. I am more convinced than I have ever been that the great need of America is soul-winning churches. Perhaps nothing could do as much for our sick nation today as for every city, town, and hamlet to have a real old-fashioned, soul-winning church within its boundaries.

I am thinking that soul-winning churches must be made up of soul-winning ingredients. One cannot use pink and white brick in a building and have a red brick building. A housewife cannot use sand, red clay, and mud and make an an gel food cake. Neither can our churches leave off soul-winning ingredients and have in the end soul-winning churches. Let us notice the necessary ingredients if one is to have a soul-winning church.

1. A Soul-winning Pastor

It is utter folly to think that a soul-winning church could exist without a soul-winning pastor. Someone has said that everything rises and falls on leadership. If a church is to be a warm, evangelistic, soul-winning institution, it must be led by a soul-winning pastor. Would God that every pulpit committee in America when seeking a pastor would settle for nothing less than a man who is an active soul winner.

"Is he married?"

"What seminary did he attend?"

"How old is he?"

"How many children does he have?"

"Is he handsome?"

These and many other questions are asked concerning the choosing of a new pastor when a pulpit is vacant. Oh, may God help us to ask, "Is he a soul winner?"

2. Soul-winning Deacons (Elders)

The second of these ingredients must be soul-winning deacons. . . . Literally hundreds of churches do not have one active soul winner on the board; and yet hope somehow that this kind of an ingredient, added to others of similar weaknesses, will in the end bring a soul-winning church. This, of course, is foolishness.

At the First Baptist church in Hammond, we have sixty fine, consecrated deacons. These men are not chosen because of their financial standing, their social position, or educational background, but rather because of their love for the Word of God and their compassion for lost souls. Let us choose soul-winning deacons.

3. A Soul-winning Staff

The idea of hiring specialists for a staff is a dangerous one. To be sure, a music director should know music. A secretary should be able to type. The youth director should have a heart for young people. And the custodian should own a broom, but this should not end their responsibilities.

At First Baptist church, we require every staff member to be a soul winner and spend at least four hours a week in personal soul-winning. We would not want someone leading our choir in "Send the Light," "Rescue the Perishing," "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow," and other great songs who is not a soul winner. I would not want anyone typing my letters who was not a soul winner. . . .

4. Soul-winning Members

According to the Great Commission, we are to teach new converts to go and get others converted. How sad it is that in many churches it is years before a Christian knows how to be a soul winner. And many a Christian, it is sad to say, never learns to be a soul winner. He simply is not taught. . . .

At our new members' reception, when we welcome new members into our church family, we give them a copy of my book, Let's Go Soul Winning. This gives them a step-by-step set of instructions as to how to win a soul to Christ. The following Sunday night they are taught how to win souls. It is not unusual for a person to be winning souls to Christ within the first week or two after he is saved and many of our converts will win a dozen or more in the first month. . . . Let us teach our new Christians how to become soul winners, and have a soul-winning membership.

5. Soul-winning Worship

A pastor chosen because of his good looks, a deacon board chosen because of financial position, a staff chosen to be a group of experts and specialists, an untrained membership, and a ritualistic, formal Sunday morning worship service, do not equal a soul-winning church. If we are to have the pie, we must have the ingredients. If we would reach the result, we must use the means.

Perhaps nothing hinders soul winning any more in our churches than our misconception of what worship really is. The Old Testament idea that God lives in the church house and that we come by to see Him every Sunday, making us enter the church as we would enter a morgue, and behave ourselves as at a funeral, is certainly discouraging to New Testament evangelism and personal soul winning. If we plan to have Billy Sunday results, we had better have Billy Sunday services. If we plan to have an evangelistic end, we had better use evangelistic means.

Now it may be that you do not want an evangelistic church. If this be true, then you certainly have a right to use non-evangelistic methods. But for one to say he wants an evangelistic church and use methods foreign to such results is inconsistent. Let us have dignity in our services. Let them be planned decently and in order. Let there be true Bible reverence, but not the ritualistic order of service we have borrowed from Catholicism which tends to deaden our services, drive away the common man, and lessen soul winning and evangelistic fervor.

6. A Soul-winning Mission Program

If we are to build soul-winning churches, we must build them abroad as well as at home. It is not enough to give great sums of money to foreign missions and not see to it that the foreign missionaries are winning souls. . . . We should see to it that the kind of work our missionaries do overseas is typical of the kind of work we are trying to do at home.

For a number of years now we have required each missionary supported by the First Baptist church to fill out a questionnaire annually. He must sign a statement as to his doctrinal soundness, personal separation from the world, and loyalty to the First Baptist Church. He must give a re port of his soul-winning and evangelistic efforts. A missionary who is not majoring on soul winning is dropped from our budget. . . .

7. Soul-winning Music

Few things in our churches have done as much to steal the spirit of evangelism as has our music. If one would have Billy Sunday results, perhaps he should try Homer Rodeheaver music. If one would want the results of Moody, perhaps he should sing the songs of Sankey. The kind of music that tends to build soul-winning churches is that kind which has been tested and tried in revivals the kind which the people know and love; the kind which moves the heart and not the head; the kind whose words bring out the deep truths of the Word of God. . . .

8. A Soul-winning Invitation

There is an old spiritual that says, "Everybody talk about Heaven, ain't going there." We could paraphrase it and say, "A lot of folks talk about soul winning, ain't doing it." If a church is to be a soul-winning church, there should be a fifty-two week a year consistency in its program of soul winning. Invitations should be given both morning and evening and a burden and compassion should be evident at every invitation. . . .

Let us train soul winners to work with converts. Let us study carefully the invitations of the great revival meetings of the past. If we would have revival results perennially, let us have evangelistic invitations regularly.

9. An Evangelistic Budget

Check the budget of the average church and you will be surprised how little money is spent for soul-winning purposes. Oh, yes, we say we believe in soul winning, and at the same time spend our money for other purposes. As we draw up our budgets, let us support schools that train soul winners, missionaries who are soul winners, local mission projects that are after souls, and pay the salaries of staff members who win souls. Include in the budget such soul-winning ministries as bus routes, rescue mission, tracts, etc.

10. A Soul-winning Schedule

I have reviewed and read many church calendars. After reading them it is not hard to understand why our churches are not soul-winning institutions. Check the average schedule of activities for a typical church. It will include a mixed bowling league, the men's soft ball team, the ladies' aid, the children's party, the youth skating party. See how many times you see any thing mentioned concerning a soul-winning activity.

The poorest attended meetings of the average church are the visitation meetings. Ten times as many people will work in the church kitchen as will work in the church field. We pastors certainly find our selves guilty as we plan our church programs. We preach on soul winning and schedule it right out of the church. We have plenty of time for all of our meetings and plenty of people attend, but so little time for soul winning. Yet we preach on soul winning and say we want a soul-winning church. . . .

11. Soul-winning Organization

Here is a sore spot and a hindrance to building a great soul-winning church. Lay men who work hard all day and have a limited number of hours to serve the Lord or the church find themselves using these hours in unnecessary committee activity and finding themselves with no hours left to go soul winning.

It does not take a committee of five to put the flowers on the Lord's Supper table every Sunday morning. It does not take a committee of ten to tell the music director what the special should be on Sunday. It does not take a committee of three to put an ad in the newspaper every Saturday. Why couldn't these same people organize soul-winning committees, rescue mission committees, tract committees, house-to-house committees, visitation committees, et cetera, thereby utilizing what spare time the layman does have in the fulfilling of the Great Commission?

We have trained churches full of specialists who attend every meeting except the soul-winning meeting; do church work, and yet, not the work that Jesus called us to do; and have a form of godliness but know nothing of the power thereof. The average church is so bogged down with so much organization that the people simply do not have time to carry out the Great Commission in their individual lives. Yet, we wonder why we do not have stalwart people; we wonder why the prayer meeting attendance is down; we wonder why the number of baptisms are down. We weep, and oftentimes even pray, over our lack of soul-winning fervor and at the same time organize soul winning out the back door of the church. Brethren, our people simply do not have time to win souls when they are committed to committees that have little or no purpose for existence. . . .

12. Soul-winning Liabilities

To be sure there are many liabilities that come with a soul-winning church. A soul-winning church may be a little noisier than the average church because it will have a lot of poor people there who are unaccustomed to coming to church. It will take them a while to learn how to behave as they should. Then a soul-winning church will also have more dropouts than a church that is not evangelistic. The more babies you have, the more likely you are to lose one.

The same is true in a home. If a couple wants to have clean walls, no dirty diapers, no baby clothes hanging on the line, no burping on a clean dress, no broken vases, no fingerprints on the mirrors, and no hand prints on the towels, then it is best that they have no children. With children come these liabilities.

But, blessed be God, they are worth every one of them! So are the souls of men worth the price we pay. Let us return to the big thing to which God has called us.

--Taken from The Sword of the Lord, Oct. 28, 1966. Reprinted by permission.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

May 1970

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Two Decades of TV Progress

NEVER had I been so downright scared I as when those lights glared at me for the first time on that eventful night of May 21, 1950, when I looked into the eyes of a camera without benefit of script or experience," Pastor William A. Fagal, director of Faith for Today, confessed to me the other day. He added, "I said Hello to an unseen audience I hoped, but wasn't sure, was out there."

Binding Off Bible Course Interests

HOW often we have received the names of Voice of Prophecy or Faith for Today interests with a feeling of reluctance. Too often the initial visit hasn't paid off as much as had been hoped. . .

Who Killed the Soul of James G. Thresher?

WHO killed the soul of James G. Thresher? It wasn't you, was it? God forbid that it was you. But I don't know . . .

With Unity to Pentecost

FACING death, one talks about the things that are nearest to his heart, the things that really matter. Consider Jesus and the last moments He spent with His disciples before Gethsemane. . .

The World Council of Churches: Seventh-day Adventist Conversations and Their Significance---Part 1

While in Rome in connection with the Vatican Council a WCC staff member and an Adventist representative came to the conclusion that an informal meeting of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists with an equal number of representatives from the World Council of Churches would fulfill a useful purpose Adventists being insufficiently informed regarding the WCC, and the WCC staff and church leaders being equally in need of additional and more comprehensive knowledge regarding the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Evangelistic Effort in Madrid, Spain

DURING the last quarter of 1969, Evangelist Salim Japas held a gospel crusade in the capital city of Spain. The goal of baptisms was fifty, and during the campaign twenty-two were baptized. We hope that during the first quarter of 1970, in the follow-up work, the other twenty-eight will join the church. . .

Total Evangelism for the 70's

REGARDLESS of how difficult evangelism becomes, in spite of how few may give themselves fully to it, regardless of how it seems to be overshadowed by institutionalism and departmentalism, it will increase until the world is enlightened with the glory of the righteousness of Christ for the consummation of the gospel.

To Know God in the New Testament

HOW can we get to know God? The Scriptures give a clear testimony. We have given a very brief introduction to this thought in our first article dealing with the Old Testament. A very fruitful study to be recommended is the application of Old Testament names used of the Father and applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Each of the names of God with its connotations finds its embodiment in Jesus Christ in the New Testament. . .

Faith for Today Evangelism

THE thrill of twentieth-century soul winning is unsurpassed. Truly to fulfill the gospel commission today constitutes a marvelous opportunity. How good it is to see hearts transformed as men and women come to a full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How to Deal With People (Concluded)

JESUS achieved success with people be cause He was thoughtful of their feelings. We read (Heb. 4:15) about Christ that He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." And again, "A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will bring forth justice in truth" (Isa. 42:3, Amplified Bible).* Referring to Christ's method of relating to people, we read in Steps to Christ: "He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His inter course with the people.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All