By Ray F. Dively
Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Today church members believe all they have to do is erect a building, keep it open three times a week and the people will come in. The purpose of the church is to save lost souls and edify the saints.
The real reasons we have not evangelized our neighborhoods or this world, are (1) we have never convinced ourselves that the world is lost without the gospel, and (2) we have never convinced ourselves that we are lost if we don’t take it to the world. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every branch that beareth fruit he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit” (Jn. 15:2).
One may go to a foreign country and another may go to his neighbor, but everyone of us must go with the gospel if he would go to heaven. How wonderful it would be if every Christian would be not just a convert, but a converter.
Every Christian has the personal responsibility to preach the gospel to the extent of his own capacity and opportunity. That responsibility cannot be shifted to another.
The person who has never had the experience of being a part of bringing a soul to Christ has missed one of the most precious experiences of life. It is God’s word which does the converting but we must do our part by teaching. As I Corinthians 3:6 states, “I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
The world cannot be reached by the public assembly alone. A survey showed that 95 percent never win a soul to Christ. The best method of reaching lost souls is from house to house. The Scripture says, “and daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42; 20:20).
The church members have not their talents, time, or opportunities to teach the lost. Each of us must reach the lost. Those of us who are not able to go with the gospel to other lands, must take the gospel to our communities.
The most effective way of making contacts is for the local church to make a door to door religious survey of its community. You will get the opportunity to teach some of these people.
There are many other ways of making contacts. Make the most of opportunities you have with the people you come into contact with each day, the people you work with and your neighbors. The greatest influence that you will have with these people is by living the Christian life. They are watching us.
Visit the sick in the hospitals, whether you know them or not. If someone mentions to you of a friend or relation in the hospital, take time to visit him. We are overlooking the hospitals as a source of making contacts.
Many Christians do not even mention Christ or his church to friends and relations. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). These people will not be reached if we will not do it.
One of the best ways given to us to do personal work is the visitors who attend our services. They had some interest or reason for attending the services. First, get the visitors to sign a visitor’s card and then follow up with a personal visit to their homes.
Every congregation should have a personal work program. There is nothing that will make us more consecrated and dedicated than working to win souls to Christ. Personal work is the heart of the church. Without it the church will not grow. Whenever a church has a personal work program, it grows in members and other phases of the Lord’s work increases.
After a person has been baptized, do not forget him. A large percent of our converts are lost after baptism because we fail to teach them further. Let us take time to visit and teach them the Scriptures.
Christians have the responsibility of teaching lost souls. Do you care enough to do personal work that some lost soul may be saved, also your own?
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 23, p. 717
December 3, 1992