Jesus said: “You MUST be born again.” It wasn’t a suggestion but a statement from the only Savior known to mankind. The Scriptures note in Proverbs: “He that winneth souls is WISE.” The Bible says in Daniel 12:3 “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” In Proverbs 14:25: “A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” Those totally in tune to God desire daily to see someone (if not EVERYONE) come to Christ.
The term ‘soul winner” to many may be a complaint but to Christ and the commited Christian is a compliment. The sole focus of ministry should be souls. Yes, we are to make disciples but a decision precedes the practice of discipleship. Like that old hymn: “I have DECIDED to follow JESUS!” Seeing souls saved should not be secondary but primary in church, ministry and our personal walk with Christ. Saved people should want to see people saved. Not just clergy but Christians! What good is missions if it doesn’t lead to The Great CoMISSION. #Hello
My college buddy, Clayton King is teaching pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC and also campus pastor at Liberty University. We met almost twenty years ago as students at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Last week, I was scheduled to be with one of my mentors and heroes of the faith Dr. Luis Palau in Portland, OR with my friends in NGA but God had other plans. Ruth and I had hoped to fly to attend the Conference on the West Coast but God basically gave us a FREE vacation on the beach in South Carolina.
This enabled us as a family to spend some much over due time together and we had a blast! I saw a tweet from Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring that he was going to be in town that night in Myrtle Beach, SC. Pastor Perry and a dozen of his friends sat in his living room just over a decade ago and desired to reach their region for Christ. Today, running over 32,000 (not a typo) in worship each weekend they are not only reaching their region but across America and around the globe!
I shot a tweet back asking for directions and faster than a Ferrari with no brakes Pastor Perry replied personally with directions. It was our last night at the beach and I was able to catch Perry preach and his message blessed me. First of all, no less than a dozen people said “hi” to me and shook my hand from the time I got out of my car to finding a seat in the auditorium. Not because I am special but they serve God with excellence and want EVERYONE to feel special (especially first time visitors). After the praise team led us to the Throne of God, Pastor Perry shared His message and his vision to see over 100,000 people worship in one weekend by the year 2020. Talk about 20/20 vision!!
Over 22,000 reside in Anderson, SC but amazingly 11,000 of them call NewSpring home! That is PHENOMENAL to reach HALF your hometown!! Perry shared that my buddy, Clayton would be preaching all their services over the weekend and they hoped to see 3,000 souls saved into the Kingdom of God. At age 14, Clayton prayed that he would see firsthand God save three thousand just like at Pentecost. If God never changes and did it once He could certainly do it again. Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie this weekend was blessed to see 2,600 saved on Friday night and 3,050 saved Saturday night at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, CA. It can certainly be done!
We prayed and many fasted to see God work this weekend in South Carolina. When it was all said and done exactly 1,500 souls were written into the Lamb’s Book of Life at NewSpring. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!! If the Lord tarries, I have no doubt that Clayton will see it happen one day. What made this weekend possible at NewSpring was a couple things that I would like to share that God gave me.
1) A Pastor who has a heart to not just build a church but ENLARGE the KINGdom. It is actually possible to gather a crowd and never have a connection to Christ. Pastor Perry’s heart beats to see souls saved and those far from God come to a personal relationship with Christ.
2) A Pastor and church who believes in evangelism and the office of the evangelist (Ephesians 4:11). Regardless, if you believe in evangelism or the role of an evangelist; God does and it would benefit all to get on God’s side.
3) Pastors and leadership whom realizes and celebrates the anointing and effectiveness of an evangelist. Clayton may be “teaching pastor” but without question, he makes no apologies for being a God called evangelist. The fact is some pastors would make terrible evangelists and some evangelists would make terrible pastors. God has gifted us all differently and it takes a BIG man or minister of God to allow another to serve and shine without feeling threatened. Keep in mind that Satan was kicked out of Heaven for pride and just because we praise or preach doesn’t mean we are exempt from blocking God’s glory either. I am so thankful for my dear friend and Pastor Marvin Harris who has constantly promoted others, invited many evangelists and enables me to preach several times per year at his church. We didn’t see 1,500 but we did see FIFTEEN saved three weeks ago when I preached at his church in White Plains, MD. PRAISE THE LORD! Keep in mind that 90% of most churches didn’t baptize a dozen people all of last year! Sadly, scores didn’t see a single soul saved 🙁 I’m reminded “If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.” 1,500 souls were saved by God’s grace this week in South Carolina and because a church and two clergy unselfishly worked together.
4) Church members from all over the NewSpring family prayed and invited friends to join them personally to their services this weekend. The statistics now show that 95% of most Christians will live and die never leading anyone to JESUS. This is a travesty! The blessing from this weekend was not just a preacher on a stage but untold thousands who worked together, took a risk, invited loved ones to be in proximity to the hear the Gospel proclaimed. Some of us preach and others teach but we all must REACH! Defense may win championships in sports but OFFENSE builds the Kingdom of God. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said it best: “Yes, I preach to 5,000 on Sunday but all 5,000 of my members preach at their place of employment Monday-Friday by their walk and witness.” The moment we learn as the Body of Christ that we are IN THE MINISTRY regardless if paid or not will we then and only then turn the tide and our world upside down for Christ. We have too many titles and not enough testimonies. The Bible says: “We overcame the evil one (Satan) by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.” We find POWER in the blood of Jesus and our personal testimony. If you CARE then you must SHARE. I have come to the conclusion that most Christians have enough of Jesus to get them to Heaven but apparently not enough to keep friends out of Hell. Its one thing to “keep the faith” but its better to SHARE THE FAITH in love and with tact.
5) Members at both NewSpring and Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades by inviting friends to church were EXPECTING God to move. At family reunions it seems that those whom bring the least to the table complain the most about the party. Those whom roll up their sleeves, get self out of the way and concerned and consumed with others ENJOY the festivities more. Perhaps the reason too many churches are declining or dying is because they are not participating in the Great Commission. No greater HIGH in life is to be used by God and to partner with Him in His Kingdom building work.
6) I’m certain that NewSpring’s passion for souls will inspire other pastors and churches to STEP UP and go all out for Jesus. God doesn’t need another country club but a LIGHTHOUSE shining the love of God to a lost and dying world. Some pastors are afraid to extend an altar call for fear that no one will come. It is our job to preach and invite and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. We quench the Holy Spirit when we don’t encourage others to respond. One will never get a date if he doesn’t ask. You cannot get a job unless you put out a resume and Jesus wasn’t lying when He said “You MUST be born again.” If He invites than who are we to OBSTRUCT. Obstructing justice is a felony but obstructing Jesus is a fatality.
On Sunday, August 28, 2013 I had the privilege to officate the funeral of a well respected man in my hometown. For over forty years he served at the Waldorf Jaycees and his grown children are staples in our community for public service. One is a paramedic and other past President of Waldorf Jaycees. It was my honor to officiate his wife’s funeral a couple years ago. Several local and state elected officials (politicians) were present and I have always sensed the Holy Spirit’s Presence particularly close when I preach funerals. God never ceases to show up at hospitals, prisons and funerals. I’m convinced that the audience is attentive more than ever in these venues. Plus, God is near to the broken hearted. God gave me great liberty and power and when I finished my sermon I gave an invitation for folks to respond to Christ AT THE FUNERAL! I knew Clayton was going for 3,000 and we could at least go after someone but his efforts in South Carolina simultaneously with me in Maryland encouraged to preach the Word, lift up Jesus and offer others to come to Christ. We do the SOWING and God does the SAVING.
At the funeral, God saved SEVENTY ONE souls from death to life and once destined for Hell became residents of Heaven! The Lord was in that place!! In case you missed the memo, time is not on our side. A Rolex watch despite its value is not the best form of time because the second hand never stops. I have always perfered the Sun Dial because it points up all day to the Son and we would be wise to gain our energy from The Son of God (Jesus). Perhaps the most accurate form of time is the almost obsolete hour glass similar to the one from “Days of our Lives.” The Rolex gives an impression that time will never run out but the hour glass reminds us all that one day time will stand still.
My prayer is that NewSpring, Clayton, Greg Laurie and Billy Graham’s “My Hope” event in November coming up will IGNITE a fresh fire and focus in you to swing for the fence with a desire to see souls saved. Utilize the gifts of those on your staff and around you and extend an invite to an evangelist to draw the net and watch God reap a Harvest. President Ronald Reagan was right: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” When you are KINGdom minded you can step aside and let others serve and shine for God’s glory and watch God work.
In 1985, the blockbuster “BACK TO THE FUTURE” rocked the movie screen. As a 13 year old kid after just meeting Sly Stallone with my godmother in Hollywood we took a tour of Universal Studios and got to take pictures leaning up against the very DeLorean from the movie. The tags were almost as iconic as the car “OUTATIME.” The fact is in these last days, we don’t have to go back to the future but BACK TO BASICS and do what our Savior commanded from the onset. Just because one is smart doesn’t mean they are wise. Jesus said: “He that winneth souls is wise.”
Don’t let personal pride hinder the work of God in your midst. Encourage your congregation to bring friends and pray for souls while we still have time.