A passion for souls must be the norm for every biblical pastor, spiritual leader, and local church. It should be the focus of our entire life and ministry. Christ’s last command emphasized His priority for the church: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18–20).
Staying focused on souls takes predetermined commitment. It takes constant attention. Satan will try to divert you, overburden you, and fill your time with other good things. He will try to distract your church in other matters. He will try to make you turn inward. You must constantly fight a natural drift away from soulwinning.
I’ve noticed six ways that spiritual leaders (and hence their ministries) lose this focus, but there are six simple solutions for this tendency:
- Rationalization—The cure for this is to stop rationalizing and repent before God. Ask His forgiveness and covenant again to win the lost.
- Improper response to past hurts—We often turn inward because we are nursing some wound. Forgive those who hurt you, and look again to the fields that are white unto harvest (John 4:35).
- Overly interested in sports or hobbies—Often men of God spend more time watching SportsCenter than reaching the lost. There’s nothing wrong with leisure time, but make sure you limit it and stay focused on your call.
- Overly involved in a pastor’s fellowship—I’m grateful for fellowship with other like-minded leaders, but I do think we can become so involved in some fellowships that the mission of our hearts and our local church weakens. Remember your calling—to reach the lost.
- Apathy and comfort zone in ministry—If the church is doing well, the retirement fund is strong, and people are happy, we can become complacent—which ultimately is disobedience. The best way to kick yourself out of complacency is to start a new soulwinning ministry or program and personally lead it. Few things will ignite your heart and your church’s heart like fresh vision!
- Administration is choking your time—If your church has grown and you haven’t hired or structured properly, you can find that your soulwinning time is choked out by a multitude of important needs. It’s time to delegate. Hire someone, enlist a volunteer, train and equip him, and then give away some of your responsibility to free up that priority soulwinning time once again.
Many pastors attempt to win souls or lead the church in outreach for a brief time, but few actually live their entire lives in ministry focused on reaching the lost. Winning souls ought not to be some passing fad or an unusual season of evangelistic fervor. It must be the very essence of ongoing ministry until the day we see our Saviour.