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How to win more than ever before

By Lowell Lundstrom

Many pastors face the frustration of how to involve their people in the ministry of our church. People are willing to attend but don’t want to make a genuine commitment to evangelization.

I have discovered a biblical concept of personal evangelism which involves believers helping others seven ways Christians reach their world.

1. Ministry to orphans and single-parent children

The apostle James declared, "Pure religion and undefiled before God… is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction" (James 1:27).

Twenty-two percent of American households are led by a single parent-in most cases a woman. Think of this: A typical city block of 20 houses has four homes with children who have just one parent (usually the mom).

Hundreds of broken families surround our churches. Think of the impact members can have on the children, their relatives, and friends by helping the single parent. "The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and widows" (James 1:27, The Living Bible).

2. Ministry to widows

Visit any congregation and you find white-haired widows who are withering from neglect. They will tell you that when their husbands were alive, they were invited to all the couples’ events, but when their husbands died they were all but forgotten by many members of the congregation. At a time when loneliness is so painful, few Christians take time to visit with them.

God commissioned Christians to look after the widows both inside and outside the church. We are to help them when their washing machines break down or their roofs need shingling–help them with practical needs.

Our doctrine of grace, misapplied, contributes to our people’s inactivity. We are not saved by good works but we are saved to do good works. The apostle James declared, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20).

Unbelievers will seldom, if ever, walk into a church. Christians must bring the message to them, not just in words but in action. Then they’ll see the reality of Jesus Christ manifested through them.

3. True Christians bring strangers into their homes

Jesus said, "I was a stranger, and ye took me in" (Matthew 25:35; also see Luke 14:12—14).

Seldom do more than two out of a thousand follow our Lord’s clear-cut directive to open their homes to non-family, non-Christian people.

When pastors and evangelists call members to win lost souls to Christ, they respond sincerely, but they may simply not have many non-Christian friends. They know a few at work or school, but the majority of church members are out of worldly circulation.

How many visitors attend your church’s services? Just a few couples having families over for lunch can reach as many people as an entire church service and may be more effective because of the close personal contact.

Jesus said the point of having others over is not to preach or teach but to demonstrate God’s love.

4. True Christians feed the hungry

It will be a serious moment when Jesus Christ divides His sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31—33). It will also be a weeding time–when the Lord separates the genuine from the phony.

Jesus continued (verses 34,35) by emphasizing the need for feeding the hungry. The sad fact is that most people in our congregations do not help the needy–they don’t even know they should.

Some churches have pantries and kitchens at rescue missions. This is good but does not and cannot replace the responsibility of individual Christians helping others. As a general rule, whenever someone in the area is hurting, Christians should be the first to help.

5. Christians give clothing to needy people

Jesus said He was "naked and you clothed me" (Matthew 25:36; also see James 2:14—17).

Travel in any direction in rural America and you will find someone who is hurting and needs help. Go a block or two in our major cities and you will find those in need.

Jesus’ plan is for believers to invade areas of need and reveal God’s love. That is why the Early Church grew so quickly. Believers clearly understood their mission.

When the church is active in the streets and homes, we will take our cities for God. Jesus said the true sheep give clothing to the needy. This does not mean boxing up old clothes and dropping them off at the Salvation Army but personally giving coats, shoes, dresses, pants, shirts, etc., to people in need, not worn-out, discarded things.

6. Christians visit the sick

Jesus said, "I was sick, and ye visited me" (Matthew 25:36).

Tommy Barnett, pastor of First Assembly of God, Phoenix, Arizona, has one of the largest, fastest-growing churches in America. He told me about Alvin Booher, who has won thousands of people to Christ through his hospital visitation and other ministries.

A couple of years ago I spoke at a camp meeting in Arizona where I met Alvin Booher. When I pressed him about his soul winning he sidestepped the issue but finally gave me a small folded card that recorded his calls for the past year . It illustrates the message God is giving me for the church.

No wonder First Assembly of God, Phoenix, grows a thousand members each year. The congregation has caught the vision.

Lead and teach your people to call on the sick.

7.True Christians visit inmates in jail

Jesus said, "I was in prison, and ye came unto me" (Matthew 25:36).

Jails are not nice places for comfortable suburban saints to visit. Sullen prisoners are not the best at conversation. Weary law enforcement officers are sometimes rough and uncooperative.

I’ve been visiting prisons for many years and have grown to love the inmates and their jailers. They can feel love.

What will happen when pastors and members enthusiastically and regularly help orphans, minister to widows, feed the hungry, invite strangers into homes, give away clothing, call on the sick, and visit the prisoners? Suddenly congregations will break out of their believers’ bubbles and join the real battle for the hearts and souls of broken people.

Clearly, the Holy Spirit will help us as we take steps to reach the many in our communities who are in great need. If we truly love people, we’ll find ways to help them-even when there seems to be no way.

God did–He found a way even when it cost Him His only begotten Son.