It's that time again. Summer is fading, and travelers are returning. Sunday School and church programs are back in swing, and the kids are back in school. (Do I hear an "amen" from all the moms?) The best part is that so many churches are beginning evangelism training classes. People all over this nation will be asked to join a team or a class and they will, but many with trembling hearts and anxious thoughts. But guess what? Jesus excels where we think we just cannot do it. He will bless, encourage, and give you peace when you are following Him and doing His work to reach out to a lost and dying world — as you can see in this testimony from Bill Muench, a member of Great Hills Baptist Church in Round Rock, Texas, where Michael Lewis is pastor.
I have been involved in FAITH at our church since it was introduced by Pastor Michael Lewis. This unique program has been a blessing from God for the lost and a call to the church to come and go — come to Jesus, and go and share !
As a Christian, I have tried to be obedient by sharing the Gospel in the past, using various methods. I have taken evangelism training and have gone to church visitation programs. You name the program, and I have probably tried it. When I was called to be a Gideon, I was introduced to an additional resource — the Personal Workers Testament. Gideons use a pocket-sized New Testament, with Bible helps in the front and the Plan of Salvation in the back, to witness to people and leave the Testaments in the traffic lanes of life. God bless them for all they do to reach people.
Witnessing or sharing the Gospel has always been a challenge for me in the past because people will put up barriers, or close their mind to any discussion when you approach them about religion or your faith. I found that with correct training you can approach people in a manner that allows them to engage in a conversation unthreatened and encourage them to give their opinion as a result of a key question. People are usually willing to give their opinion, and I had great success in stimulating conversation.
Through proper training, I have now been equipped to share my faith in any setting. As an insurance salesman and owner of my own business, I have operated with God as my supervisor, and I claim from Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel. But until I received proper training, I had not been able to do it with ease or without putting people on the defensive.
I have been blessed to facilitate the salvation process for many people in my office. On one occasion, a client in my office told me he was facing cancer surgery. I shared the Gospel with him and asked him key questions, and he received Christ. After surgery, he called me to tell me how much it meant to him that I would take the time out of my business day to share with him. There is no greater joy as a Christian than to be a part of someone coming to Jesus!
Sharing the Gospel has been a reminder to me and the church that we were saved to tell people about the Savior. God is faithful, and He continues to prove Himself each time we go on a visit. One of the most memorable visits, I recall, was when we were returning to the church after we had just witnessed a father and son receive Jesus. We were rejoicing and praising God, and I made the statement, "It doesn't get any better than this!" Then I received a cell phone call from my son in Houston. My son said, "Dad, Jonathan has something to tell you!" My grandson, Jonathan, said, "PawPaw, I just accepted Jesus as my Savior!" It does get better!!! At the moment I was sharing with a stranger my grandson was accepting Jesus! God is good ... all the time!
I have made the point before, and I want to make it again: the FAITH strategy isn't the only effective tool for sharing the Gospel; the North American Mission Board has several excellent approaches and training options, and there are others as well. The most important thing is not the tool, strategy, or method; it's the Gospel, and we need to be getting it out.
Some have had time off from visiting and sharing during the summer — but we need to get busy. All of heaven is waiting, people in your town need the Savior, and families need to know their local church cares for them.
Don't waste any more time not being trained to share your faith. This may be the year the Lord calls you to share with your own family. I'm begging you to be ready. Determine to be faithful in attendance one night a week even if you have to give up something else — you can never be 'too busy' to learn how to share. The Lord will give you the time or will redeem your time because this is ultimately important to the Kingdom. I'm praying for this to be your best year ever for the sake of the lost and your family!
Bobby H. Welch is a member of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the SBC Executive Committee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.