On Getting Started in Winning Souls
Over the years, I've noticed that more often than not the hardest part about the work of evangelism is simply getting started. Often the best evangelists are simply those who have learned to enjoy getting out there among the people to engage them with the Gospel message intentionally. If you can cross that hurdle you are well on your way!
I evangelize on a regular basis and I still often get anxious about it. The apostle Paul on multiple occasions asked for prayer so that he would faithfully share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. All of us need prayer to be faithful about the Father’s work in saving lost souls.
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. - Col. 4: 3-4
It's entirely God's grace that I am involved with any form of public speaking because all my life before becoming a missionary I avoided public speaking in every way possible. It terrified me. I very much, naturally speaking, just like to keep to myself. God has long been transforming me in this regard, however. (Yet amazingly, I still struggle to talk to others on a phone and I have no idea why… )
I remember when I first began to preach and evangelize. I had an inward conviction that I was indeed called to do it, but I also had much trepidation for my flesh opposed the idea. Perhaps you can relate. Looking back, I can see that one of the things that helped me the most was a healthy understanding of the doctrines of grace. It was through this that I learned it's not so much about us actually. The gospel is all about God! It was through learning grace that I began to comprehend the truth that before coming to Christ I was actually dead in my sins and unable to do anything that pleased God. Through this, I learned the lost people we evangelize are also spiritually dead. (Often we feel afraid of evangelizing the lost because we are worried about what they might think of us. It's actually quite foolish to worry about what dead people think of you.)
The doctrines of Grace also reveal to us the miraculous work of God in regeneration. We cannot change a person’s heart and make them believe. God the Holy Spirit can and does according to His sovereign will. The Lord kindly invites us into His work of saving souls to be instruments in His hands.
Our friends at The Upward Call are also passionate about helping others take up their role in the work of bringing the Gospel to the lost and the lost to Jesus Christ (they also do well in rescuing babies). Not long ago they featured this content here below in one of their emails. May some of it prove a blessing to you to either get started in winning souls or keep on!
Check out our latest newsletter segment featuring Jesse Schreck in our "Stories from the Frontline"! Signup for our newsletter here: https://theupwardcall.net/
What are "Stories from the Frontline"?
One of the ways we want to encourage you is the same way we find the most encouragement to stick in this fight, and that is to share stories of faithful men and women who are out there on the frontlines making trouble for the Kingdom.
Jesse Schreck is the founder of Practical Missions Cohort (PMc) and has been serving in Italy as a full-time career missionary since 2007. Jesse and his wife Jervee have two beautiful children and are faithfully laboring to reach the vastly unreached country of Italy. With less than 1% of Italy’s 60 million citizens being evangelical Christians, the Lord has placed the Schreck family in a prime position to work the hardened ground of Italy to evangelize, make disciples, and plant Biblical churches.Please pray for this faithful family and consider supporting their ministry. You can find out more about Practical Missions Cohort here at: https://www.practicalmissions.org
Now, here is some encouragement from Jesse:
Name: Jesse Schreck
How long have you been doing this? About 15 years
How did you first get involved in this ministry?
While taking courses on evangelism and missions at Saints Bible Institute (a place run by missionaries in Italy) I discovered the beautiful doctrines of grace and the high privilege and calling we have to evangelize the lost. I was given an opportunity to apply what I learned. The rest is history. Once you know the joy of evangelism, it's not really possible to stop.
What's the biggest hurdle you had to get over to do this?
As an introvert and reserved person, I mainly had to get over myself and the fear of talking. Sound theology helps me to understand my small role compared to God's primary role in saving souls. The Lord enables me to go and open my mouth and He directs fish into the nets too. It's not so much about us, actually. It's all about God and His glory.
How often do you do this?
On average, 3 or 4 times per week by either taking custom-made tracts from house to house in the mailboxes and to the coffee shops or by going into the piazza (town square) to hand out tracts and talk with people. When we host short-term mission groups we go out all day for about 10 days straight.
What's been easier than you expected?
I find that even though many people want to hear nothing of the things of God in Italy and some are hostile, still many have thoughts and opinions about God, the church, and the Bible. By trusting God and putting myself out there, it's great to see how God directs people to you and how you can be used by God to not just proclaim the gospel, but to answer people's questions and break down barriers.
What's been harder than you expected?
Not seeing as many conversions as one might expect. In Italy, the evangelical church is very small and scattered, basically unknown, so even when the Spirit begins to open people's eyes they still encounter many barriers and obstacles that must be traversed before you see them soundly saved and growing in grace as a member of the body of Christ. In a very real sense, it feels to them that they are joining a cult.
Do you have a favorite moment?
On many occasions, while hosting short-term mission groups from the US, I have witnessed something that just leaves me astonished. After the group performs a drama in the piazza, the gospel is presented to the crowd, and an invite to receive free literature and to chat is given. Amazingly, a piazza filled with people who came out to walk, get a gelato, have a wine, or simply do their own thing is now conversing about the things of God and hearing the gospel, most of them for the very first time.
How would you encourage others who are considering getting involved?
Make sure you know the gospel message well. Rehearse proclaiming it. Trust God and just do it. Join others who are already doing it too. Or follow ministries like Provoked, The Upward Call, or Living Waters so your heart can be stirred and inspired. Don't feel that you need to be perfect or have all the answers. You can get back to people if they have a question you are not sure how to answer. Love Jesus, obey, and go while trusting Yourself into His hands. He is with you in a special way as you go.
Join us in praying for the Schreck family as they faithfully continue plowing the hardened ground in the country of Italy! If you have a testimony about how God has used you in evangelism to the lost, either at your local abortion mill or favorite evangelism fishing spot and would like to share your story to encourage the church, send us an email and share your story with us! You just may be featured on our next Stories From The Frontline.
Soli Deo Gloria! The Upward Call and Provoked Team
Written by Jesse Schreck | founder, director, and missionary with Practical Missions Cohort
To learn more about Biblical Evangelism, stay tuned for our upcoming course at the Missions Academia.
To get involved in group evangelism, consider joining a PMc Short-term Cohort next summer.