How to Win a Soul to Jesus
Chapter 4 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, How to Boost Your Church Attendance
The purpose of this chapter is not to deal with witnessing in public, but it primarily concerns the winning of souls to Christ in the home. It deals with the proper approach and some practical pointers to help one be a more effective soul winner. I have tried to put these principles into practice for a number of years, and God has blessed them with the salvation of literally hundreds of souls being won to Him in homes. May God use them to bless you and make you a winner of souls for Christ.
Last year alone over three hundred of our people won someone to Christ. Each of them was instructed through the following method, which is simple and easy enough for anyone to understand.
1. Be Clean and Neat. If a person is going to be a soul winner he must not be offensive to the people with whom he talks. It is a definite asset for a soul winner to be careful to bathe often, to avoid body odor. Teeth should be brushed, and the breath should be tested. Carry mints in your pockets or some good flavored chewing gum which will help keep the breath from being offensive. One of the most damaging things in soul winning is the effect of halitosis. By all means, a soul winner should watch this carefully. The soul winner should also be neatly dressed. A lady should be dressed conservatively, and I think it is best for a man to at least wear a shirt with a tie.
2. Carry a Testament with You All the Time. One of the most effective methods that we have used is the carrying of two Testaments-one for you to read as you seek to win the person, and one for the unsaved person to read, or follow as you read. After he has given his heart to Jesus, then you may present him with the Testament that he has read from as a gift.
Testaments which are adequate for this type of work may be bought at most bookstores for about twenty-five cents each. It is our suggestion that a Testament is better to use than a Bible because it does not "give you away." As you get out of your car to walk to a house, a person might possibly see you carrying a Bible and immediately think that you are representing some cult or some false "ism" and build a mental barrier against you. Hence, it is usually better to carry a Testament in your pocket.
3. Be Soul Conscious. By this I simply mean to be aware everywhere you go that the people to whom you talk are going to spend eternity somewhere . . . the man who cuts your hair, the boy who shines your shoes, the man who fills your car with gas, the bread man, the milk man, the grocery man, the clerk at the drugstore, and the saleslady at the clothing store are all going to spend eternity somewhere. Make it a habit to ask people if they are Christians. This will be a blessing to you, and will give you a chance to witness to them. It is good to carry gospel tracts with you at all times in order that you may present one to a person who is not a Christian, that he may read it after you leave. This is effective to use when witnessing to people at work, who cannot stop their work for you to give them the plan of salvation.
Recently one of our soul winners was getting a shoe shine. Just before he asked the colored shine boy if he were a Christian, the shine boy looked up and asked the man if he were a Christian. Our church member responded with an affirmative answer, "Yes, you must be a Christian, too."
The colored boy replied, "Yes, sir, one of those Miller Road Baptist members won me to Jesus the other day while I was shining his shoes."
4. Go Two by Two. This is important! There are several reasons why God sent His disciples out in pairs, and certainly we should follow His example. Also, there is strength in numbers, and with another Christian present as a prayer warrior the soul winner is encouraged. However, the most important reasons that another person should go with you, apart from Scriptural reason, are to pave the way for absolute quietness, and to avoid any unnecessary disturbances while the soul winner is talking to the unsaved person. Such things as caring for the children, changing the baby, answering the door, turning the radio or television off can certainly be of value in the winning of souls to Christ.
5. Go with Different People. Many people think it is wise to team up with the same soul winning partner all of the time. However, this discourages the making of new soul winners. It seems advisable for a person who is an active soul winner to take a different person with him periodically so that the new visitor might actually see the winning of a soul. This is better than any study course a Christian can take.
6. Pray and Claim the Spirit Fullness before Going.
Before you go to the field you need to spend a few moments in prayer, simply asking God to bless you and to help you be a blessing to others. Also, claim His Spirit fullness by faith, asking Him to bless you as you go, and to prepare the hearts of those to whom you will talk.
7. Go Believing. The thing that transformed my soul winning life more than anything else was this one thing! Many times I would go to the fields to witness for Christ, not expecting to win anyone. When and if someone was converted I would actually be subconsciously surprised. However, it dawned on me one day that God wants to save people, and that as God was sending me out, He would save people. So, rather than going out defeated, an effort was made to go expecting to see someone saved. The increase that God gave to this attitude of faith was amazing.
8. Be Nice. Remember that the person to whom you are talking did not ask you to come. You are a guest in his home, and many times, an unwanted guest. A soul winner in a home cannot use the same frankness that the preacher can in the pulpit. It is necessary that a soul winner be nice and courteous, kind and understanding, as he goes into someone's home to talk to him about the Lord.
9. Be Careful about Going In. If a person is busy and obviously does not want to be disturbed, many times it is wise to tell him that you will not come in at this particular time, and suggest that you make an appointment for a later date when you may come back and talk to him about the Lord. This has proven effective in many cases.
10. Be Complimentary. As you enter someone's home, it is always good to be complimentary. If the children are sweet, tell them so. If the home is lovely mention it. It is good to be complimentary.
11. Let the One You are Visiting Talk of His Interests for a While. Ask him about his work, about the family, about his home town, and things of that nature. He will enjoy talking with you and speaking of his interests. One of the best points that a person can use is to be a good listener.
12. Have Only One Person Do the Talking. As you seek to win the person to Christ, let only one soul winner do the talking. Do not interrupt with your "two cents." You keep the road clear and keep the way paved for their privacy and pray! Do not pray with your eyes closed, however, as you may miss a chance to be of help by giving a child a drink, answering the door, or other things which might cause the lost person not to be free to listen carefully to the soul winner.
13. Stay on the Subject. Many times as you try to win a person he will ask questions that are irrelevant to salvation. When such a question is asked, it is usually good to say, "That is a good question. Remind me in a moment and I will answer that." Then, continue talking about the plan of salvation. Do not let yourself be sidetracked on less important issues.
14. Stay in the Same Book of the Bible. It seems that it would be confusing to a sinner for a soul winner to go all over the Bible in trying to explain his point. With isolated verses taken from all over the Scriptures anything can be proved; however, when a person stays in the same book of the Bible, near the same pages, the lost person can readily see that you are not trying to confuse him by taking isolated verses to prove your point. A good book to use is John, another one is Isaiah; however, I have found the most effective book to be Romans.
15. Draw a Map in Your Testament. Many people are young Christians and do not have the Scriptures memorized, nor can they find the ones that they must use to deal with the plan of salvation. To aid in this, a plan has been devised of drawing a map in the Bible or Testament one is using. For example, start with Romans 3:10. Then, beside Romans 3:10, write Romans 3:23, the next verse you will turn to. After you have explained Romans 3:23, have written beside this verse Romans 5:12, which shows you where to go from there. Then, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, and finally Romans 10:9-11.
The lost person will not necessarily see what you have written in your Bible, as he will be looking on from the other Testament which you have handed him to use. This way you can direct yourself to the next Scripture, even though you may not know a single Scripture by heart, or do not know where to find the Scriptures pertaining to the plan of salvation.
16. Three Basic Questions Should Be Asked in the Conversation. First ask, "Are you a Christian?" Second, "Would you like to be a Christian?" Third, "If I were to show you in the Bible how to be a Christian, would you be willing to do what God says?"
The first of these three questions has often been disputed. Some prefer to ask "Are you saved?", or, "Are you born again?", or, "Do you know Jesus?" However, the simple question, "Are you a Christian?" might lead to asking other questions. The way the person answers your question would determine whether or not you should inquire further as to the sincerity of his profession. Then, if he wants to be a Christian, you may proceed. Remember this-it is God's business to prepare a soul. You cannot argue anyone into being a Christian. He must be ready; if he is not ready, you cannot argue him into it. Then, if he commits himself by saying he would be saved if he knew how, you have a definite committal that he will respond. If he says he will, then proceed immediately to show him the aforementioned Scriptures.
Following is the structure of the conversation that I have found helpful in dealing with most unsaved people with whom I talk:
Soul winner: "First, Mr. Blank, if a person is going to be saved, he needs to be saved from something. Let me show you why a person needs to be saved. Notice in Romans 3:10, `As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.' The word righteous means good; hence, there is none good, no, not one. If there is not one good-then I am not good. Is that right? If there is not one good, then you are not good. Is that right? Now, let us turn to Romans 3:23, `For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' If all have sinned, then that means that I have sinned. If all have sinned, that means you have sinned. So, you see that all of the people in the world are sinners. There is none that doeth good. We are all gone out of the way; we are together become unprofitable, and we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
"Now, Mr. Blank, may I show you where the sin came from? Notice in Romans 5:12, `Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' You recall that one man brought sin into all the world. You will also remember that this man was Adam in the garden of Eden. God made Adam and Eve. He put them in the garden. He told them that they could eat of every tree in the garden but one, and if and when they ate of that tree, they would die. Do your remember, Mr. Blank, whether or not they ate of that tree?"
Mr. Blank: "Yes, they did."
Soul Winner: "Yes, they did. When they did, they were separated from God. They died spiritually, and they became sinners. So, when they had children, their children were sinners, and their children were sinners, and their children were sinners-until finally, Mr. Blank, one day you were born, and the Bible says that you were born in sin. Though you were not accountable for it until you realized that you were a sinner, you were born going away from God. Mr. Blank, you are still going away from God; hence, you are a child of Adam.
"Now, would you look at and read Romans 6:23, `For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'?
"Mr. Blank, God, in order to be a just God, must make us pay for our sins. God has said that you will not get by with sin-so, God must make us pay for sin. The price on sin is death. This death is a spiritual death which culminates in the second death, mentioned in Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 20:14, which is the Lake of Fire. Therefore, the ultimate price that man must pay for his sins is to suffer in the Lake of Fire-or to go to hell. That means, Mr. Blank, according to your own statement that you are not a Christian, and according to the Word of God, if you died today you would go to hell. Is that right?"
Mr. Blank: "Yes."
Soul Winner: "Mr. Blank, I am happy to tell you that God does not want you to go to hell. God loves you as you love your children. Just as you would make a way to save any wayward children of yours, even so God has made a plan to save you. Here is His plan. Please read Romans 5:8, `But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Mr. Blank, God looked down and saw that you were a sinner, and saw that you were going to hell. He did not want you to go to hell, so He came to earth in the form of a Man. His name was Jesus Christ. For thirty-three years He lived upon the earth-not once did He sin. Mr. Blank, if Jesus had sinned once, and the price of sin finally is the Lake of Fire, where would Jesus have had to go when He died?"
Mr. Blank: "To the Lake of Fire."
Soul Winner: "Exactly so. But He did not sin, did He?"
Mr. Blank: "No."
Soul Winner: "He was perfect. Not once did He have an evil thought, not once did He say a nasty word, not once did He drink a bottle of beer, not once did He do anything that was contrary to His Father's will. But Mr. Blank, on the Cross of Calvary Jesus Christ suffered spiritual separation from God, or the same thing that the sinner must suffer in hell. If He was not suffering it for His own sins, then He must have been suffering for someone else's sins. Do you have any idea for whom He was suffering?"
Mr. Blank: "He was suffering for you and me."
Soul Winner: "Exactly so. Now, if He was suffering for you and me, He was paying our debt. Is that right?"
Mr. Blank: "Yes."
Soul Winner: "Mr. Blank, if I went to the bank today, and paid off all of your debts at the bank, they would send a representative out to tell you about my payment. You would have one of two choices. You could say, `No, I will not accept his payment; I will pay my own debts.' If that were your answer, even though I had paid the price, you would still be in debt. However, on the other hand, you could say, `Of course, I will accept payment. I will receive the gift that Mr. Soul Winner gave me.' That moment, Mr. Blank, you would be free of debt. That moment the bank would wipe your debts completely clean. Now, Mr. Blank, you are in debt to God. You have sinned. Your record is in heaven. Jesus Christ went to the bank of heaven, as it were, and paid the full payment for all of your debts. He has paid for all of your sins. He sent me as His representative today to tell you about this. You can say one of two things: You can say, `No, I will pay my own debts. I will go to hell for myself.' Or, you can say, `Of course, I will accept a Saviour like that. I will accept His gift of eternal life, and receive Him as my Saviour.' That moment, Mr. Blank, you become a child of God, by receiving Christ as a Substitute for your sin, and taking Him in your heart as your Saviour.
"Now, Mr. Blank, let us sum up what we have said. Do you realize that you are a sinner?"
Mr. Blank: "Yes."
Soul Winner: "Do you realize that if you died today you would go to hell?" Mr. Blank: "Yes." Soul Winner: "Do you realize that Jesus died in your place, and suffered spiritual separation from God in your place?"
Mr. Blank: "Yes."
Soul Winner: "Do you realize that if you were to bow here, and seek God's forgiveness and take Christ as your Saviour today, by faith, God would make you His child?" Mr. Blank: "Yes."
Soul Winner: "Then, Mr. Blank, could we just bow our heads and hearts in prayer, and let me pray for you? While I pray you can consider giving your heart to the Lord Jesus. Shall we kneel?"
(Turn to Romans 10:13-read it to him and have him put his hand on that Scripture. You pray. Pray sincerely, simply and briefly. As you conclude your prayer, do not say "Amen.")
Soul Winner: "With our heads bowed, Mr. Blank, wouldn't you like to ask God to forgive your sins right now? Tell Him that you are sorry for your sins, tell Him you want to receive Christ as your Saviour now. Will you do it?" (Mr. Blank may pray a simple prayer. If not, you might ask him to pray after you sincerely.)
Soul Winner: "Mr. Blank, if you are willing now, the best you know how, to turn from sin, and give your heart to Christ in faith, would you please take my hand as if it were the hand of Jesus as a token thereof?" (Mr. Blank takes the soul winner's hand. The soul winner, while holding the convert's hand, should offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for saving him.)
Soul Winner: "God bless you, Mr. Blank. Now, let me ask you a question. If the Bible is true-where would you go if you died now?"
Mr. Blank: "I would go to heaven."
Soul Winner: "Isn't that wonderful? Isn't God good to give eternal life to those who will receive him by faith?"
17. Lead Him to a Profession. After the person has been converted, ask him to promise to come to church the next possible service, and walk the aisle and let the pastor tell the people that he has been saved. It seems unwise to ask him to be baptized until he has made his profession. Then, at the altar, when he is making his profession, or later, the minister can speak with him about baptism.
18. Go by and Get the Convert the Next Sunday. It is an unusual experience for many new converts to come to church. Many of them have not been to church for months, or years. It would be much easier for them to come if you will offer to go by and bring them with you.
19. Sit with the Convert in the Service.
20. At the Close of the Service Offer to Go Down the Aisle with Him.
21. After He Has Made His Profession, United with the Church and Been Baptized, He is Still Your Child. Continue to watch over him, and help him. Ask him over to your house for refreshments. Fellowship with him, and make him feel at home in the service of the Lord.
22. Appoint a Committee to Go by and See the New Converts, as Well as the New Church Members. The week after they join the church, it is good to have a committee to go by and see the new converts and new members.
This group may carry a certificate of baptism, a copy of the church budget, a copy of some book advising young Christians how to grow in grace, any books written by the pastor, etc. These will be helpful and appreciated by the new converts and new church members.
23. Use the "Buddy" System. After the Sunday services each week, call someone who lives near the new convert and "assign" him the new convert. It is good for him to have the new convert over for refreshments, to make a visit into his home, and perhaps have his family over for a meal to try to get him acquainted with some of the church members.
This person's job also would be to help integrate the convert into the church program, and introduce him to as many people as possible.