When listening to a sermon recently, I was stirred by this statement: “The unsaved are not our enemy, they are our mission field.” If we listen to the Fox News Network excessively, we may get so politically energized that we shut out half the people of the U.S.A. We must be careful in the manner in which we look at people.
The mission of every believer is to “make disciples.” Jesus is our example.
- At age thirty, Christ set Himself apart for the work He was called to do. He requested to be baptized by John, and the Father vindicated that decision.
- For His disciples Christ chose men who He believed would be faithful and able.
- Christ lived His life with those men for at least three years and then confidently left them to build His church.
Matthew 28:19 and 20 tell us to make disciples to all ethnicities. To make disciples we start with raw product—unsaved, lost, disinterested, and spiritually blind people. Too often pastors see disciple-making only within the church, but the commission is go into the world (not only the church) and make disciples.”
Pastor, the Lord has commissioned you to share the gospel with unbelievers and make disciples. At times you may feel isolated in your role, but you can use what you already do to connect with the unsaved. Consider the following ideas to make connections:
• When making hospital calls, commit to conversing and praying with someone you do not know before you leave the hospital.
• For using counseling as an outreach, publish an ad to let people know that you do free counseling. Unsaved people will show up.
• When studying for your messages, at times go to the library or coffee shop to be around unsaved people.
• For making friends with people with whom you do business, determine to learn their names. Calling them by name will open doors. Don’t be in a big hurry; stop to converse. Get their prayer requests.
• For getting to know people better, take them out for lunch, or visit the local coffee shop each morning to visit with the regulars.
• When searching for unsaved people, use your hobby as an opportunity to get together with people who have the same hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, get one in order to make connections.
• For developing an open-door atmosphere, use your home for evangelism.
Throughout my ministry life I saw people come to Christ, but not many because of my direct and personal witness. Two key times in my pastorates brought about vital changes. The first key time was when I began focusing on making disciples rather than building a church. If you build a church, you have a tendency to use people; but if you build people, you will have a church. The second key time was when I committed to eagerly looking for opportunities to converse with the unsaved and to spending a certain number of hours for evangelism. I must ask you, When was the last time you led someone to Christ because of your personal involvement with that person?
Dr. David C. Little, President
Baptist Church Planters