Our culture has been consumed with the NOW. We want our food fast, we want everything convenient and we fuss because the microwave is taking too long to cook our meal. We are focused on the NOW. We buy on credit, we rarely think about saving money or even retirement. Why? Because we are focused on the NOW! Our culture does not think about the future and it certainly does not dwell on eternity.
The result from a lack of concern for eternity has come a decline in the effectiveness of our evangelistic efforts. The people in our pews and in our classrooms are more concerned about making it through the day than with the thought of where they, their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. will spend eternity! Most people live with the focus on today.
We’ve got to be reminded that this life is only a preview of what’s to come. This is not all there is and it is a very short period as compared to eternity. We need to be reminded that heaven is real and it will be a place more wonderful than what our words can describe. We also need to be reminded that hell is very real and our worst nightmares do not even come close to describing it. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s what motivates me to share the Good News. Not for me to gain eternal life in heaven but that others could spend eternity in hell.
I- The first thing we’ve got to do if we are going to develop soul winners is help our members understand that it’s about heaven and hell!
When I was young I enjoyed fishing with my father and grandfather but it was always fishing from the bank. When I 12 my father came home with a new fishing boat. Years later I asked why he bought a boat when we were accustomed to bank fishing. His reasoning was that I was getting older and we need to talk. I pushed further by saying we could talk while we fished from the bank and his response was that I couldn’t go anywhere in the boat!
I love to fish even forty years after that first encounter with fishing from a boat. I got my love for fishing from my father and I developed that love/passion because of my father. He taught me the skills I have for fishing. I would not be the fisherman I am today without my father showing me how to be a fisherman. I don’t think my passion nor my skills would be where they are today if all we had done was talk about, watch the ESPN fishing shows or go to Bass Pro Shop for all the training events.
II- The second thing we’ve got to do if we are going to develop soul winners is to model it before them and let them see us in action. Could it be that the reason our churches are not growing faithful people that share their faith is because our Sunday School teachers, deacons, staff and even pastors are not modeling it but only talking about it?
As a Sunday School leader you can equip your people with two basic skills in sharing their faith. The first is their personal testimony. Gather your group and begin by asking, “What are some good reasons that a testimony is an effective witnessing tool?” Write the members’ responses on a white marker board or poster paper and discuss them as a group. Then move onto the next question, “How a testimony should be developed?” Again record the response and discuss but make sure that the following are included…well thought-out, short, clear and to the point, positive, does not brag or boast about “Before Christ” sins, uses words that an unchurched person can understand and is current and update. The next step is to lead members to prepare their testimonies. Use the following outline to prepare their story.
- What my life was like before I received Christ
- How I realized I needed to receive Christ
- How I received Christ and became a Christian
- How Christ has helped me and is helping me day by day
To bring this to an end have everyone pick a partner and practice sharing their testimony.
The second tool you can train your members to us in witnessing is a marked New Testament/Bible. Have your members find the following and write the page numbers to the next passage at the bottom of the previous passage. An example would be in my Bible I’ve written the statement at the top of page, highlighted the passage and written page 1320 at the bottom of the page. This tells me what the passage is about, the passage and where I’m going next.
1. All people have rebelled (sinned against God) (Romans 3:23).
2. The price of rebellion (sin) is high (Romans 6:23)
3. God loves us in spite of our rebellion (sins) (Romans 5:8).
4. Repent, turn toward God, and have your sins taken away (Acts 3:19).
5. By God’s generosity (grace) you receive His free gift (eternal life) through faith which is also from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
6. Confess Jesus and believe that He was raised from the dead by God (Romans 10:9-10).
7. Call on (pray to) the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13).
Train your members to connect with people in a conversation, share their story and then ask, “Has this ever happened to you?” Then say, “Can I show you what the Bible says about this?”
1. Help the person find and read Romans 3:23. Read the passage and give any additional brief explanation.
2. Move quickly from one passage to the next, reading the Scriptures and then the statements.
3. When you have completed the last Scripture and statement, ask, “Does this make sense to you?”
4. Ask, “Have you ever considered asking Jesus Christ to come into your life?”
5. Say, “Let’s read again the last Scripture, Romans 10:13: Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
6. Explain, “This means that if you pray for Jesus to come into your life, He will at that very moment!”
7. Ask, “Are you ready to receive God’s free gift?” Say, “If you are ready to receive God’s free gift, you need to call on Him in prayer. You may pray your own prayer or use the following:
8. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I know you died on the cross for me. I now invite you into my life. I now trust you as Savior and follow You as Lord. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”
9. Ask , “Will you pray this prayer alone or after me?”
10. Ask, “Did you ask Jesus to forgive your sins?”
11. “Did you ask Him to save you?”
12. “Did you give Jesus control of your life?” If so, welcome to God’s family!
III- There are some basics that every believer needs to help them share their faith. I recommend that every Sunday School teacher equip their members in how to share their testimony and use a marked New Testament.
“If the Sunday School is to be the church reaching, teaching, witnessing, and ministering; it must be a GOING Sunday School. General and departmental officers, teachers, and members must go where the people are and share the good news. REACHING is going. WITNESSING is going. MINISTRY is going. To do the work of the church is to go.” – Harry Piland
Dr. Tim S. Smith serves as a state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Convention and is the Sunday School/Small Groups Specialist. Visit their website at ssog.gabaptist.org for more information and other resources to aid your Sunday School.