Thursday, December 06, 2007

Soul Winning

· I grew up in a tradition of soul winners. We would go soul winning every Thursday night and Saturday. Sometimes we would go and stand in front of the movie theater and pass out pamphlets, or at the entrance to the mall. We had training on all the proper techniques and proven formulas for converting everyone from atheists to Catholics to faith in Christ alone.
· Some would come back with stories of doors slammed in our faces, or tracts crumpled and tossed at our feet. We were taught that some would reject God’s plan of salvation and they rejected Christ after all.
· Some were really good at it. Once, I was with a preacher who had a couple praying to receive Christ before I knew what was going on.
· I was never too good at it, Oh, I had a few, but in reality I have always been ashamed at my win/loss percentage. Maybe by sheer determination, I could make some converts, but I have never felt comfortable with the idea of selling Jesus like a door to door vacuum salesman. You come in throw some dirt around, show how their vacuum does not fully cleanse, but how ours can make you whiter than snow.
· I never liked the debate either. As if I could by my power of persuasion convince people to accept Christ. I wish there was a better way. One where I did not feel pressured to “win” people to Christ, one where I did not feel like I had to pressure people into making a spiritual decision, and hoping that they stick with it.
· I believe that the frustration of the church today is that we are adopting the world’s system of conversion. We are trying to spread the good news by army and argument. We teach our kids to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army” and send out the troops to make disciples. And they come back wounded from the fight, discouraged from the failures of making people become disciples of Christ.
· I wonder if somewhere in this process of sharing our faith that we have taken the good news of Salvation through faith in Christ and are using the world’s system for conversion to spread it. Like broadcasting TV signals from a Radio tower, our message is not getting across because the methods we choose are the system of the world.
· Man’s system is to convert by conquering, whether it be the ancient Babylonians or the modern Islamist, the sword is awfully effective in getting people to adopt religious systems.
· Christianity is better than that you say. Yes there were the crusades, but we are more civilized than that now. We convert through superior argument. We go out to win them over by pointing out the shortcomings of their faith and leading them to Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
· When did we adopt this mindset that we are to be soul winners? That it is our Great Commission to make disciples by conquest and convincing. Is it not the Holy Spirit of god that does the winning? Is it really our place to make converts? When did we begin to equate witnessing with winning? Are we commanded to argue people to Christ or tell what great things God has done for us?
· These are the questions that we will wrestle with this coming weekend.
· Don’t forget, we will be having three services this weekend.
o Saturday 6:30 p.m. – Current Style Worship Service
o Sunday 8:15 a.m. – Classic Style Worship Service
o Sunday 10:45 a.m. – Contemporary Style Worship Service