You Can Make a Difference!

I believe that one of the lies that has been used very effectively by the enemy to deceive the church and make her far less effective at ministry than she should be is the very wrong concept that most of the ministry performed by the church should be done by the pastor. There are two main misconceptions that I have found surrounding this idea, and both are equally crippling to the outreach and ministry of the church.

The first one is "I'm not qualified," or "I haven't been to Bible college." While knowing God's Word and the truth we want to share is important, I believe that the Bible teaches us that most of the responsibility for that knowledge falls on our own shoulders. We are told in 2 Tim 2:15 to study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. This is something that we can all do in one form or another. When Jesus sent the disciples out His instructions were actually pretty simple: heal the sick, cast out evil spirits, and tell them the Kingdom of God is at hand. Nowhere do we see that He required them to get a seminary degree before they talked to anyone.

I am not trying to minimize the studying and growing in the knowledge of God and His Word, they are vital, but don't get caught up in the belief that you need to have all of the answers before you can share what God has done and is doing in your life with those around you. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will remind us of all God has taught us, and will give us the wisdom and the right words to say if we will just ask Him.

I think it's interesting that in each of the last two centuries, the people credited with winning the most people to Christ were lay people, not ordained ministers. In the 1800's the person credited with winning more people to Christ than anyone else was D L Moody. He was just a salesman who decided to give his life wholeheartedly to the Lord and see what God would do. In the 1900's it was Bill Bright, who was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, as well as other ministries. Niether one were pastors. Who will it be in this century?

The second one that I hear quite often goes something like this: "That's what we pay the pastor for," like that somehow lets them of the hook for sharing the light that God has placed in their lives with those around them. There is absolutely nothing in scripture that indicates that the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples as found in Matthew 28:18-20 and numerous other scriptures in any way applies only to "paid Christian workers." This attitude is simply ridiculous.

I believe there is absolutely nothing more exciting or fulfilling in life than doing even the smallest, seemingly insignificant things, and watching God use them to change and bring healing to someone we simply reach out to in love in any way we know how. Most people don't need to hear a sermon before they are willing to open their lives up to God. What they will usually respond to best is your simply loving them with Christ's love in whatever manner God has equipped you and gifted you to show it.

I want to share with you one of my favorite stories, the story of Mr. Genter, and how his very simple method of reaching out to those he came in contact with produced amazing results. So often the results we obtain in life are far more affected by our persistence and faithfulness than they are by the amount of education we might have.

I hope that you enjoy this story and find it as inspirational as I have. Here it is:

Francis Dixon, a Baptist preacher in England, was conducting revival services in a church in Sydney, Australia. During the service, a young man, Nowell, shared his testimony. Nowell was in the armed forces and was stationed in Sydney, Australia. He was walking down George street one day when he was stopped by a white-haired man. The man said:

"Excuse me, sir, I wonder if you might let me ask you a question? I don't mean to offend you, but if you were to die today, where would you be in eternity? The Bible says it will either be heaven or hell. Think about it. That is all. Have a good day. Toodaloo!"

Nowell thought about the question the man had asked and went and found a church in Sydney. The pastor explained how he might accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his life. As Nowell shared his testimony, another young man named Peter sat in the audience. As he listened, Peter said, "Hey, that man has my testimony." After the service Peter came to Francis Dixon and Nowell and said, "I, too, was walking down George street one day and was stopped by a white-haired man who asked me that same question. I invited Jesus into my life as a result of that man."

Francis Dixon went to Adelaide to preach in revival and told the story of Nowell and Peter and how amazing it was that these two men both were saved as a result of the witness of this white-haired man. As Dixon told the story a man in the audience raised his hand and said, "I was walking down George Street in Sydney, Australia, when a white-haired man stopped and asked me the same question. I went and found a friend who told me how I might accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Francis Dixon went to Perth and related the testimony of these three men at revival services he was conducting. After the services a deacon in the church came to him and said, "I was in Sydney, Australia, one day walking down George Street, when this white-haired man asked me this same question and went on his way. I knew I had to settle that question and went and found a church where the pastor told me how I could accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord."

Francis Dixon continued to be astounded as he traveled from city to city and related this story as he preached.

In his own church he told of the many who had come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord as a result of the witness of this white-haired man on George Street. After the service a woman came and told her pastor she, too, had been walking down George Street and made her decision to accept Christ as a result of the haunting question of this white-haired man.

Dixon was speaking at the Keswick Conference, a deeper life conference, and told the story of the white-haired man on George Street. A man in the audience came and told Dixon that he, too, had been walking down George Street in Sydney, Australia, when the white-haired man stopped him and asked the same question. As a result, he also accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord.

After the conference, Francis Dixon went on a world tour. He spoke in a meeting in Jamaica. There he met a man who accepted Christ as a direct result of the witness of the white-haired man.

From Jamaica, Dixon went to India to speak at a missions conference. One of the older missionaries at the conference heard Dixon tell of many people who had come to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord because of a white-haired man on George Street in Sydney, Australia, who had been faithful to ask the question: "If you were to die today, where would you be in eternity?" The missionary said, "I, too, was in Sydney, Australia, walking down George Street and was confronted by this white-haired man and as a result invited Jesus Christ into my life."

Francis Dixon was overwhelmed by the faithfulness of this white-haired man and became determined that he had to meet this one who had been the instrument of leading so many to the Lord. On his way home from his tour, he stopped in Sydney, Australia, and looked up one of his friends. He asked the friend, "Do you know a white-haired man on George Street who stops people and asks them, 'Excuse me sir, I wonder if I might ask you a question? If you were to die today, where would you be in eternity? The Bible says it will be either heaven or hell. Think about it. That is all.' Then he walks on his way." Dixon's friend said, "Sure, that is old Mr. Genter. He can't get around very well and he can't see very well, but I will take you to see him." The two men went to Mr. Genter's home where Francis Dixon told the old man of his travels over the world and the MANY who had come to know the Lord as a result of his witness. Mr. Genter began to cry. He told the men that this was the first time he had heard of anyone who had accepted Christ as Savior and Lord because of his witness.

Francis Dixon shared this story with Gene Warr, who lives in Oklahoma and is president of the W.D.D.F. Board (World Discipleship Development Foundation). Gene was speaking in a church here in the U.S., related this story, and a woman raised her hand and said, "I, too, was in Sydney, Australia, walking down George Street, and I invited Jesus into my life because of this white-haired man."

There are two important lessons we can learn from this story. First, it is not necessary to have a fancy presentation in order to share the Gospel. Secondly, persistence is the key to becoming an effective witness. Sometimes you may not even see the fruits of your sharing, but you should still continue to share and trust God with the results. If you reach out to others in love, striving to meet their needs, God will use you in a powerful way to make the Gospel clear to them. I believe this applies to all areas of ministry; that all God asks of us is to be willing to reach out, and we may all do it differently, but if you trust His Spirit to bring about the results, I believe you will be amazed at all God will accomplish through you.

I believe that God has some very unique and special things that He has planted inside of you as well, and I want to really encourage you to begin to seek Him and discover what they are. God desires to use you to have a tremendous affect on the world around you, and all He asks is that you be willing to obey Him, and faithful and persistent at carrying it out. A tremendous adventure in faith is awaiting you; don't wait a moment longer to jump in!

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