I have been a lot more aware of the fact that we are not seeing many people get really “saved” in our ministry. We see a few people get saved but I am aware that there can easily be many more. I believe we could easily experience people getting into loving relationships with God every week. My question is why is this not happening? Obviously the problem is not from God. I know that God delights in the salvation of lost sinners like me. I know how I got saved and began my relationship with God. There was no drama, but Jesus became very real to me even though I was less than 10yrs old. So I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with the way I am doing ministry.
Could it be that Canada is too hard? – Well it is true that humanism and secularism is quickly attempting to take over Canada, and a lot of people have become disillusioned with “the church”. However, I still believe that the power of God is still available to save the lost. I do not think that Canada is harder in any special way than other areas of the world where people are anti-Christianity, however I think that those of us sent to minister in Canada must understand the perculiarity of Canada and go to God for a strategy that will be effective in bringing in the harvest.
Is the harvest really ready? Yes of course! Jesus declared many years ago that the harvest is ready. This is the first work that the Lord did in my heart and ministry. I am convinced beyond all doubt that there is a big harvest in Canada. It does not matter what province, city or town, there is a harvest in Canada. The problem is not that the harvest is not ripe. The problem is the labourers!
So what is the problem with the labourers? – The most obvious problem is that there are not many labourers. Very few people are reaching out to the millions of people out there who are lost to the love of God. I am not talking about people not standing at the corner of the street giving out gospel tracts. There are a few of those; although they are still not enough. What about gospel campaigns? There are many of those but I believe that these impersonal methods of reaching out to people can only be as effective as the Christians are reaching out to their neighbours and colleagues in the love of Christ.
I believe the problem with us labourers is that we have focused on impersonal approaches of evangelism or witnessing and ignored the more personal methods of reaching out. We have wrongly assumed that if we stay on the street corner handing out tracts, or set up a tent or rent a hall and just preach the “undiluted word of God”, the non-Christians will rush in and get saved. Well maybe this approach has worked in the past for great evangelists like Charles Finney, DL Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham and more, but the more I think about our situation as a church, the more I realise that even this evangelists started out as personal workers before being launched into the ministry of mass evangelism.
What can we do now? Well the first thing is that I am so much more aware that if we are going to enjoy weekly salvations in our ministry, all of us (members of our local assembly) and all of the church nationwide must actively engage in the work of loving our neighbours and sharing the gospel message. If we all love the non-Christians around us and clearly share the gospel message with them when the opportunity arises, although this people may not get saved right away, they will eventually meet with other Christians or attend a less personal evangelistic events where they would accept Jesus as their Lord.
As a pastor, I choose to make personal evangelism my focus – By this I mean that as a church we will invest in resources geared to helping our members learn about personal/relationship evangelism, and to participate in it. I will set a personal goal to meet someone new every week and to share the love of God with them. I am not suggesting that we put an end to all other methods of evangelism, but that we add this very powerful method of reaching out to people to our strategy.
It is more expensive – Yes it is true that making friends and sharing the love of Christ with them does not cost lots of money, however it cost more time and more personal resources. I am discovering however, that although is costs more, it is also more rewarding. I am making some great friendships, praying for more people by name, learning more about my weaknesses and going to God for help. To do this work well, we must become more and more authentic as Christians. What do you know? Relationship evangelism will help you grow as a Christian than any thing that you may have done before. I am already enjoying some of its benefits and I look forward to seeing those weekly salvations in our ministry. I also look forward to seeing the joy in the eyes of some of our members who will start to see people come to faith in Christ Jesus.