I posted a question yesterday that has been on my heart lately. You can read the question HERE.
My struggle with this question has prompted me to really study the lives of some great pastors and evangelists. I want to see how their lives reflect the answer to that question. I recently read of a study on the Gospel accounts done by Pastor/Evangelist John Wilbur Chapman. Chapman is probably lesser known for penning the lyrics to the hymn “Oh, Glorious Day!” which has been made popular recently by the group Casting Crowns. But as a Pastor/Evangelist from the 1880s to 1918, it was estimated that he had preached 50,000 sermons to some 60 million people. Learning about his life and ministry has been some help to me in processing the question that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
Back to his study of the Gospel account… Chapman found that there were 40 individuals mentioned in the Gospels, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of the forty, thirty-four of them were brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to the individual. Only six of the forty sufferers found a way to Jesus without assistance. The majority (85%) of them found Jesus Christ because a friend was concerned with their health and well-being.
I haven’t done a case study to prove this, but I would say that the vast number of people who find their way to salvation in Jesus today, most of them reach Him because a friend took the time to be concerned about the welfare of their soul. I know that there are amazing testimonies of people who came to Jesus without the direct involvement of others, but the majority of salvation testimonies I’ve heard involve a friend, teacher, pastor, or parent that spent a lot of time praying for and witnessing to the person.
This thought draws me back to the question that I started with…
What if the purpose of every relationship you have was to lead the other person closer to Christ?
It also raises some questions for me as a Preteen Pastor…
How are we teaching preteens to have a concern for the spiritual condition of their friends?
How are we preparing/discipling them to be the hands and feet that carry the Good News?
How are we unleashing them to do this?
When we share testimonies or baptism, how do we celebrate the “friends” that invested in the life that has come to Jesus?
As a parent, pastor, individual, how do you answer these questions?
What’s your thoughts on the premise of the study by Chapman?