The dial reflects the number of people the congregation expects to win to Jesus next year. Earlier this year more than one hundred had turned in pledge cards saying that by faith they would trust God to use them in reaching one or more persons for the Lord in the year to come. By midsummer these individual “faith-promise” pledges totaled 308.
For a number of years the church has applied the “faith-promise” concept at its annual missionary conference. Members are urged to ask God in prayer what He wants them to give to missions during the year. Many respond by pledging far beyond what they feel they can afford to give, humanly speaking, trusting God somehow to provide. Those who have taken this step of faith then have often seen God provide the income in astounding and unforeseen ways.
Now they have applied the concept to evangelism too.
It all started early this year when I was speaking in a conference on evangelism at one of Chicago’s southern suburban churches. Suddenly it struck me–why not ask for a faith promise for soul winning? I challenged the congregation with the idea–then later issued the same challenge at Meadows Baptist.
In April I asked students in my practical Christian work class at Moody Bible Institute to try it. One girl prayed about her faith-promise and was almost stunned as the Lord laid it upon her heart to ask for one hundred souls! One weekend alone she led seven people to Christ and was overwhelmed at how easily each one responded–simply because they were prepared of the Lord. Her studies, her whole life, suddenly took on new meaning and purpose.
At a Grace Brethren pastor’s conference in California this year a number made faith promises. One pastor, really “turned on” for the Lord, began claiming by faith souls for Jesus Christ. In less than a month he had led six people to a first-time decision; he had seen no fruit for months before.
Christian students from Western Michigan University took me up on the faith promise challenge at a weekend retreat. Many went back to the campus with new vision. One fellow felt impressed immediately to witness to a particular friend. He entered the fellow’s dormitory room scared and uncertain about his approach, only to have the friend mention what a hypocrite he had felt like while in church the previous Sunday. Within fifteen minutes the two were down on their knees in prayer as the friend invited Christ into his life. The next day he won the second convert of his career–the friend’s seventeen-year-old kid brother.
Every Christian ought to be able to win one person to Christ in a year’s time. Surely each Christian could trust God for at least one soul a year–then pray him to Christ, if nothing else! If every Christian did, think what would happen. A church would double in a year!
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C. Sumner Wemp. Taken from Moody Monthly Magazine, September, 1968.