Question: I know that soul winning is supposed to be a really important part of the Christian life, but can you explain further about what the Scriptures say on this subject?
Response: It is certainly true that Proverbs:11:30 tells us, “He that winneth souls is wise.” Further, in Luke:19:10, our Lord declared, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In 1 Corinthians:9:16, Paul wrote, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
The principle of soul winning and its necessity is there. That’s the challenge and admonition our Lord left when He gave the commission in Matthew:28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations;...”
What we aren’t given is a “methodology.” We are given examples of the disciples preaching the gospel: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts:5:42).
Consequently, some people don’t seem to believe they are soul winning unless they are preaching publically or house to house. Yet the Lord Jesus had many meetings with people who came to Him to speak. And, while the term “friendship evangelism” is a popular focus today, too often it can be an excuse for never confronting someone with the claims of the gospel. The gospel by its very nature is an offense (1 Cor:1:18).
Also, we need to remember that the Lord uses circumstances and often will bring us to places where the gospel can be shared with individuals. The point is that we are to be ready. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pt 3:15).
In Acts 8, Philip was given an opportunity to minister the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch whom God had prepared. Philip simply had to be ready both to minister and to obey the Lord’s command to “join thyself to this chariot” (v. 29).
Paul always went to the synagogues or places “where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither” (Acts:16:13). He went to these places both to minister to his people and to join with those who clearly were pursuing spiritual things. In short, they were alert to and took advantage of opportunities that presented themselves.
There certainly are good reasons for keeping tracts available to give to people. We may not always be going door to door, but we should prepare by praying and asking the Lord to give us a heart for evangelism and study to know the gospel message. As much as possible, prayerfully seek to build relationships with neighbors, friends, and relatives, and be alert for opportunities. Finally, if no opportunities are readily available, then prayerfully seek to create them as led by the Lord and be content if you only plant a seed, trusting Him to water and give the increase.