A group that we often think of when we talk about investing in the souls of men are evangelists. Here are some pictures of some evangelists, in fact this group of evangelists have something interesting in common. Does anyone recognize any of these men.
The two men on the left are Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday. They both are estimated to have won about 1 million people to Christ. The two men on the right are Wilbur Chapman and Mordecai Ham. They are estimated to have won about a half million people to Christ each. All of them of course did this through large evangelistic crusades. The interesting story and connection is that Wilbur Chapman attended a Moody Crusade and received personal counseling from Moody that gave him assurance of his salvation and set the stage for him to become an evangelist. Billy Sunday was a professional baseball player who began assisting at the Chapman crusades. He heard Chapman’s sermons so often that he had them memorized and asked to fill in for Chapman once when he was sick. His sermon was so effective, that the crusade was extended and people started asking him to hold crusades.
One of those who went to his crusades was Mordecai Ham. Mr. Ham was already a Christian, but he was struggling with assurance of his salvation. He was able to meet with Billy Sunday and received personal counseling from him after the crusade meeting, resulting in him gaining that assurance and going on to become an evangelist himself, winning a half million to Christ in his crusades.
One evening in 1934 when Mordecai Ham was holding a crusade in Charlotte, NC, two young men, recently graduated from high school came forward to accept Christ … Grady Wilson and Billy Graham. They teamed up together in response to God’s call to hold evangelistic crusades and ultimately led over 5 million people to Christ. So together these 5 evangelists have led over 8 million people to Christ. So what am I telling you? Am I telling you that God wants each of us to become evangelists holding crusades around the world? No, I’m not … let me tell you, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.
Dwight L. Moody did not come to Christ through a crusade. He had moved to Boston as a teen where he lived with his uncle and worked for him in his shoe store. He started attending a local church and became part of a Sunday school class there. How many people here are Sunday school teachers or lead a small group? This Sunday school’s teacher was named Edward Kimball. Mr Kimball made it a practice to get to know each of his pupils personally and to visit them to be able to share the gospel with them personally. He visited Moody one Saturday in the shoe store and Moody responded to his invitation to accept Christ. Over 8 million souls who have come to Christ because one Sunday school teacher obeyed the call of God to share the gospel.
I believe that this is what God is calling each of us to … to be ready and willing to share the gospel with those around you. I’m not talking about being obnoxious and feeling like you have to pounce on everyone you meet. I’m simply talking about being prepared, knowing how to share the gospel, and looking for opportunities to share, recognizing where God is working and there are open doors. And not only that, but investing in other Christ-followers by helping them to learn how to replicate the process.