"You Go" or "Let's Go"?

From One Leader to Another.

Robert H. Pierson is president of the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists.

WHILE serving in Africa some years ago I visited a strong African church leader. He was a man who preached soul winning. He was also a man who practiced what he preached, and had just completed a full-scale evangelistic crusade. When he went to make arrangements for the meetings, the people of the area were surprised that he should be planning to preach nearly every night for six weeks. Others had attempted to open work in that area, but the people would not attend their meetings after two or three nights.

God honored the faith of this leader. The people came out, not just for two or three nights, but for the full six weeks. More than one hundred persons were baptized. The work was established in this new area. It is little wonder that today this field is on fire for God and that a strong program of evangelism, both public and personal soul winning, is still under way there. Workers will follow a leader who will himself launch out courageously in a difficult area. I thank God that more and more church leaders are setting the pace in soul winning.

"That is in Africa," you say. "The work goes easy there—people readily accept the message in that part of the world!"

Yes, that is Africa, but I have news for you! Africa, like the rest of the world, is changing. With the advent of radio, television, and other communication media, with the rising standard of living and sophistication that this age of advancing technology has created, soul winning is not easy in Africa. If you want results, you must preach—conduct many evangelistic campaigns! I know I have been through it! Many thousands of people in Africa were baptized during our period of service there, but it was because the blessing of God rested upon the two or three thousand evangelistic campaigns conducted every year. If we preach, we will see souls won —in most every land. Some fields are more fruitful than others, but if we preach, we will have results!

I well understand that not every leader is a natural-born evangelist. The majority of us are not Spurgeons or Moodys or Billy Grahams who have been given the special gift of evangelism. Most of us are ordinary men, fired by the Holy Spirit and preaching an extra ordinary message, who can and should be soul winners in the hands of our God.

A few years ago I found myself leading out in a field that was in deep financial trouble. We scarcely had money to meet our operating budget, let alone fund large evangelistic efforts. This did not daunt us. All of us—pastors, office workers, departmental leaders, and administrators—suddenly became evangelists, holding evangelistic campaigns in churches where the field had been prepared by church members. It proved to be inexpensive, effective evangelism. We baptized more souls than had ever been baptized in that area. What is more, a lot of pastors, departmental leaders, and administrators who thought they could not conduct an evangelistic campaign discovered they could be soul winners too—and they loved it!

Precept has its place in leadership, but example is much more effective. To say, "Let's go!" instead of, "You go!" will stimulate the thinking of those we work with and lead them into more effective action. Now is the time when every denominationally employed worker— whether he or she serves in an office, in the field, in a church, or in an institution—should be a fruitful soul winner for God. If God's work is to be finished in our day, this must become reality.

If you and I are truly evangelistic leaders, we will, under God's blessing, arouse those with whom we serve! We will kindle flames that will burn and spread like fire in the stubble until every worker and lay member is also set ablaze for God.

I challenge you as leaders of God's church in our changing, emerging, exploding world to launch out for God this year, and by precept and practice, lead the church, her members, her ministry, and her church officers into the greatest program of soul winning planet Earth has ever witnessed.

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Robert H. Pierson is president of the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists.

July 1976

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