Sharing Starts Now
Published on 07/01/2023 |
My friend Steve Dickman shared some sage advice with me. When initiating any new endeavor, one should start small, start simple, and start soon. These principles work. I’ve applied them in my efforts to become an effective soul winner for Christ, and I recommend them to you.
I’m no expert. I’m just one thankful beggar sharing with others where to find food. Most of what I do in my office I learned from two main sources—others who have gone before and my own personal soul winning mistakes! One of the best books I’ve read on soul winning is Winsome Witnessing by Gary Gibbs. I highly recommend this book!
In this article I want to share with you some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Fishing is a great metaphor!
Jesus introduced us to the concept of fishing as a metaphor for soul winning.
Fishing is a science.
An experienced fisherman uses the right kind of lure or bait to attract the hungry fish. He knows when and where to find the good fishing holes. It’s where the fish are congregating. He understands fish behavior and adapts his approach to increase his chances of landing a fish.
What is the best way to become a good fisherman? There’s no substitute for getting out there and trying. And the more you go fishing, the more you learn what to do and what not to do. It’s natural to make mistakes, but these may prove to be the greatest teachers.
Ralph Nader stated it succinctly: ”Your best teacher is your last mistake.”
Fear of failure stands in the way of many taking even the first step toward winning others to Christ. We serve a God that can take curses and turn them into blessings. He can take our failures and turn them into wins!
Soul winning is intentional and deliberate.
I’ve learned that being an effective soul winner—just like achieving success as a fishermen or anything else in life—requires one to be intentional and deliberate.
When you go fishing, the fish don’t just jump into your lap. A fishermen has to cast a line.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 (KJV) says: “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
Bread represents the word of God, or Jesus, who is the “bread of life” (John 6:35). Water represents “people, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15). We are instructed to “cast” or offer Jesus to the people.
In fishing, the more often you cast a line the greater the likelihood of landing a fish. It’s a numbers game. This applies to soul winning as well.
“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
We’ve all heard the quote: ”I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
This is akin to a quote credited to William Temple: “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.”
These quotes underscore the point that when we are intentional and deliberate, the opportunities and blessings naturally follow.
Successful soul winning requires being intentional and deliberate!
Like everything else in life, the key to success is to start small and simple.
To be successful at running, you do not want to sign up for a full marathon for your first running event and get overwhelmed, demoralized, and fail. The key is to start with a 5k and build up to a 10k, then a half marathon, then a full marathon. In dental school, we first started learning to place simple one surface fillings before doing more complex procedures. We practiced on mannequins before proceeding to a live patient.
I first learned about placing a prayer box in the office lobby from one of the board members of AMEN. I liked the idea and placed a prayer box in my office. Then, I purchased a literature rack from Amazing Facts and stocked it with neat literature. Both of these things were very simple to implement and did not require much engagement. The key is to start simple and small, as I know that it can be daunting to try and engage our patients in spiritual matters if we have never done this before!
One of my patients took a picture of our prayer box and sent it to her pastor on the East Coast. When she was moving to the West Coast her pastor had told her that she was “moving to the land of heathens.” She wanted to let him know that there were non-heathens on the West Coast!
Currently, I have a GLOW literature rack in my lobby.
I have a number of books that I like to personally share with my patients. If any of my patients disclose that they are going through a health crisis or some kind of a trial or difficulty in their lives, I like to hand them Alistair Huong’s book titled, Struggling with “WHY?” Lessons From My Brush With Death. This encouraging little booklet is a great sharing resource and in a very winsome way outlines why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
For patients with whom I have already established a relationship, I like to hand them a Great Controversy. My goal is to try to get a Great Controversy into every one of their homes.
The best time to hand my patient a Great Controversy is when they are thanking me profusely for our services, when they are in a really great mood, or when I need to give them my personal cell number.
Before I hand a patient a Great Controversy, I first write my cell number inside the cover of the book. I tell the patient that this is my cell number and they are welcome to call me anytime they have an emergency. The patient is usually appreciative that I’m sharing my personal cell number with them, and it seems to make them receptive to accepting the book. I tell my patient that this is one of my favorite books and the reason why I’m giving them this book is because the world is crazy today. They invariably nod in agreement! I tell them that I believe in the Bible because of Bible prophecy and it has been 100% accurate. I tell them I enjoy giving Bible studies and if they are ever interested to give me a call. This has led to Bible studies.
Before COVID all of my Bible studies with patients were done either in my office, my home, or at a neutral place like Starbucks. With the ubiquity of Zoom, thanks to COVID, it has become so convenient and easy to do virtual Bible studies with patients. This cuts down on travel time and patients much prefer this. With the share screen function my patient can see exactly what I’m sharing on the screen and this makes for a very effective Bible study. After the Bible study is over, it is very easy to send my patient a link to the Bible study via email if a Bible study guide was used.
Soul winning is like investing—diversification is key to success.
Investors diversify to reduce their chances of experiencing losses and increase their chances of gains. In the same way the more one diversifies, the greater the chances for soul winning opportunities. For some of my patients, it is the “prayer box” that sparks a conversation. For others, it is because of literature that was shared with them. For still others, it is because they were offered Bible studies.
One day two of my staff were asking me about what I was sharing with one of my patients with whom I was doing Bible studies. I told my two staff, I will provide lunch on Tuesday. We will invite all of the staff to join us and we can do a Bible study. Ever since this has turned into a weekly Bible study. Staff are motivated to come for the free lunch, and this gives me an opportunity to share Bible truth with our dearly loved staff!
I asked an older patient of mine named Hal if he wanted Bible studies. He declined, but encouraged his grandson Jordan to study the Bible with me since Jordan was searching for truth. Jordan and his wife began to study the Bible with me and this last summer I had the privilege of baptizing both of them!
Different people will be reached by different means. By employing a variety of methods and resources we can best increase our opportunities for soul winning!
Every day should be a day for New Year’s resolutions.
There are people who appreciate a good New Year’s resolution and there are those that think resolutions don’t work and are a waste of time. One survey found that people who planned to make New Year’s resolutions were more optimistic about the future. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that those who made a New Year’s resolution were 44% more likely to succeed in that goal after six months than those who decided to put it off.
The point I’m trying to make is that people who make New Year’s resolutions are more optimistic and more likely to succeed in their endeavors than those that don’t. New Year’s resolutions are part of a phenomenon they have dubbed the “fresh start effect.” A resolution can serve as an opportunity to make new commitments and serve as a “temporal landmark.”
Think of it this way. Every morning we are blessed to wake up can be a fresh start, an opportunity to change for the better.
I believe that one of the most important things we can do for soul winning success is to begin each new day by praying and asking God to give us divine appointments. When we do this three things happen. First, we begin the day with a fresh new resolution that is focused on soul winning. Secondly, we are making ourselves available to God. Thirdly, we are uniting our feeble human efforts with His divine power!
When we pray this prayer we are taking on the mind of Christ.
What was on Jesus’s mind? In the Desire of Ages we are told that Jesus focused on soul winning. “In all men, He saw fallen souls, whom it was His mission to save” (p. 53).
Whatever is on your mind is what you are going to see, because what you focus on becomes your reality.
We need the mind of Christ.
I am convinced that soul winning is not an event, it is not a profession, or a thing. Soul winning is a mindset!
The key to being a successful soul winner is to have the mind of Christ!
As I seek to embrace and inculcate this mindset into my psyche, I find that I am naturally more intentional about soul winning and see soul winning opportunities all around me. It has changed the way I interact with people because now they are not just passersby but candidates for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sister White summed it up succinctly: “Let the mind of Christ become your mind, and the works of Christ become your works.”—The Medical Missionary, June 1, 1891.
As medical and dental professionals, every day we are given opportunities to point people to Christ! Soon there will come a time when we will never again have this opportunity.
May we recognize the privilege and honor that is ours, and may we redeem the time that remains!
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