What will it take for you to go
To tell the story that they should know?
That when they draw their dying breath
Without Jesus as Savior means eternal death.
What will it take for you to share
The love of Jesus and His care?
Will you boldly proclaim God’s Word
To those who have never even heard?
What will it take for you to preach
To people who are so hard to reach?
Will you truly take up your cross
So the lost won’t suffer everlasting loss?
What will it take for you to be
Christ-like for others to see?
Jesus Christ died upon the cruel tree
So sinners can live for all eternity.
~ Jim Kelley
Winning souls begins on our knees
Crying out to God to hear our pleas.
O’ Lord, we pray save those who are lost
Send us near and far whatever the cost.
Can we not pray but only one hour?
Rescuing the dying in God’s holy power?
It is appointed unto man once to die
O’ for lost souls we must cry!
Will a man be willing to lose everything
For one to repent and the angels to sing?
O’ believer, the day of their salvation is at hand
What will you say to the Lord when you stand?
We are bought with a price and we’re not our own
The orders have been given and we’re not alone.
God is with us wherever we are
To be a soul-winner must be our par.
Some say that soul-winning isn’t in their DNA
Tell that to Jesus, what will He say?
Brother and sister what about you?
Remember Jesus died for you too.
Give me souls or I die
To the LORD I did sigh.
Cause me not to drift or sleep
Rather for souls I must weep.
The fields are white already
Guide my ship completely steady.
Many encompass me near & far
Winning souls must be my par.
LORD forgive my selfish report
While souls perish in Hell’s resort.
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
O’ God, give me souls or I die!
On my knees I come to Thee
Brokenhearted as You can see.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, LORD to Thee.
May my path be forever in You
Proclaiming the gospel whatever I do.
Dying to self, I must and I cry
O’ LORD, give me souls or I die!
Brief introduction — I had the privilege of meeting Jim when he became a member of the church my father started at RAF Fairford, England back in 1984 or 1985. Jim served and grew in that mission work while serving in the US Air Force. He would later visit me at Northland Baptist Bible College while looking at schools where he could train for the ministry. Jim lives on the East Coast now with his dear wife, and he continues to be a faithful Bible teacher as he strives to become more like Jesus Christ. Here is his testimony. It has been a blessing getting back in contact with Jim and renewing our friendship.
Having been born into a Catholic family my earliest years in life for church was the Catholic church. After my dad divorced and remarried another woman the Catholic church “ex-communicated” our family. After the ex-communication we no longer went to any church.
When I was nine years old my two sisters and I were playing in our front yard when a church bus driver pulled alongside the curb and asked us if we would like to start going to church on the bus. After getting our parents approval we started going to a Baptist church.
Sunday School was fun for me because we played games and had snacks. There was no such “monster” as children’s church in those days and we would sit together as “bus kids” with the bus captain in the adult service. I didn’t pay much attention to the pastor except on occasion and I would go forward during the altar call telling the pastor that I do bad things and he would tell me that we all do bad things and he told be to back and sit down.
Eventually our parents began to attend the Sunday morning services and we sat with our parents rather than the bus kids. At this point and time I was now ten years old and one particular Sunday morning during the adult service I was pestering my sisters. My dad looked at me and told me to shut up, sit straight, and pay attention to the pastor.
My dad was a strict father and I knew that there would be serious consequences if I didn’t do what he told me to do. I shut my mouth and sat up straight, and paid sincere attention to the pastor. As he was faithfully preaching the gospel about sinners dying and going to hell and Jesus having died and shed His blood to save us the Holy Spirit of God convicted me as a lost sinner.
Now I didn’t want to go to church anymore because I was running from God and myself. A few Sunday’s after my initial “conviction” as a lost sinner the Spirit of God was impressing upon me that I needed to get saved and what was I going to do about it? I had this all happening inwardly and I started to question whether this was really God or just “all in my head.” I decided to “test” God and find out if this was really happening or not.
As the Lord was impressing upon me as to what I would do I said, “I’m going to wait until I’m grown up, and God impressed upon me that if I wait until I am grown up that I’ll grow up hard-hearted and lost. Again, the Lord was impressing upon me “what are you going to do?” I still questioned the validity of what was occurring and I said within myself, “I’m going to wait.” It was then that I sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence leaving from me and I knew that this was real.
At that moment as I was still sitting in the pew I surrendered myself to Jesus Christ and acknowledged myself as a sinner and with a true heart of repentance I placed my faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood to wash my sins away. I didn’t understand at that moment that I had indeed been saved right then and there. I thought that I had to go forward to the altar to get saved.
When the altar call was given I couldn’t get there fast enough and when the pastor asked me why I was there I told him that I needed to get saved. He said, “excuse me?” I cried, and told him that I needed to get saved and that I didn’t want to go to hell. We knelt down at the altar and he did not tell me to repeat after him. He prayed that God would saved me and as I was praying in agreement the Holy Spirit confirmed within me that I was already saved in the pew.
When the pastor and I stood up we faced the congregation and he announced that I had just gotten saved. The pastor looked at me and asked me, “now that you’re saved what do you want to do with your life?” I told him, “I’m only ten years old and I don’t know what I want to do with my life.” The pastor encouraged me to tell the folks something since I now know Jesus. My reply was: “I just want to do what Jesus wants me to do.”
As a newborn babe in Christ at the physical age of ten I was telling everyone about Jesus. When my mom would go to the grocery store with my two sisters and myself I would tell the clerk at the check-out about Jesus. I went on and on to the point that I drove my dad crazy and one day he told me to stop talking about Jesus because he’s heard it over and over again. I stopped talking about Jesus to my dad but I never stopped talking about Jesus to others.
To God be the glory to save a sinner such as me!
I wonder if a person can truly be converted if she doesn’t understand how truly vile she is without God. Is this why many who grow up in church look the part a long time before they realize they are not truly saved? We like singing songs like, “I am so glad that Jesus loves me” as we subconciously think, After all, how could He not?
I know how easy it is to make verbal claims about “All have sinned” and “I’m a sinner saved by grace” while mentally going down the list of sins and thinking that I must be okay since I don’t do these things, all the while forgetting one of the worst sins–pride.
If you think about it, pride is probably the root of every other sin there is. If you kill someone, you are not thinking about the person whose life you are taking; you are more concerned with how you will feel after that person is not around anymore. If you have an affair, you are not worried about the family you are hurting; you are preoccupied with what will bring you pleasure. If you are a glutton, you are more than likely not thinking about anything other than satisfying your cravings. Pride and selfishness are not little sins.
I would encourage you to compare yourself to Scripture instead of to other people. When you truly see yourself in the light of God’s Word, you cannot honestly think that you are OK. You might even find yourself crying out with Peter, “Lord, depart from me for I am wicked.” Once you hit that place, you will finally understand how amazing God’s grace really is and then you will be singing from your heart, “I once was lost, but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see.
One of the things I am passionate about is closing the gap between Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers within the body of Christ. We have become so segregated in our roles that it is almost as if they never overlap. The Pastor is in charge of the sheep, and the Evangelist is in charge of bringing the lost sheep into the fold. My dear readers, this is wrong! Just as equally wrong is the idea that the Evangelist is incapable of preaching on any other topic other than evangelism, that the burden of biblical counseling should only be left upon the head Pastor, or that Eldership belongs only to the pastors or teachers of the congregation. In accordance with Ephesians 4:11-15, I would encourage all of us to view the roles/gifts these kind of men bring to our local congregations and the universal body of Christ.
I remember an illustration a famous preacher gave one time about how the sheepdog is like the Evangelist that barks at the sheep and the sheep run into the sheepfold. Meanwhile, the sheep are taken care of by the pastor(s) of the flock. I submit to you that I have a better illustration. The Evangelist and the Pastors and Teachers are all sheepdogs. And whether they hold to the office of Elder within a particular church or not, they are going to be called by God to gather the lost sheep, rally the sheep, guide the sheep, discipline the sheep, and keep the sheep bonded in the unity and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. But you know what, they do it all underneath the command of The Shepherd! Don’t miss this point. The Shepherd guides and gives commands to the sheepdogs as to what He wants, in accordance with His will. Let me further explain what I mean.
When I visited a farm in Washington, they were having a Scottish Border Collie demonstration. They showed how these dogs rally the sheep and guide them into the sheepfold underneath the command of the shepherd. The shepherd would whistle and call out commands that would inform the dog to run, lie down, or walk at a specific pace or in a certain direction. It is really a sight to see. I wanted to upload the video I captured, but my phone crashed before I could. So I could only find this video to give some visual illustration of what I am talking about. If you watched the video, you will notice that even though the dog may have some natural instinct on what to do, the sheepdog, nevertheless, must still be underneath the guidance and direction of the shepherd. And this is where Ephesians 4:11-16 comes in.
In the work of the ministry, all those who are gifts to the body as Ephesians says overlap in some way concerning their work among the sheep. I hope to write a book about how the Evangelist needs to be reclaimed and reintegrated back into our local churches, but for now, understand that true Evangelists are not lone wolves. They are sheepdogs, just like the pastors and teachers, among the body that listen to the voice of The Good Shepherd, my Lord Jesus. Although there can be street preachers who may not necessarily be Evangelists in accordance with Ephesians 4 (which isn’t a bad thing), and there may be some who claim to be Evangelists but preach a false gospel and disdain the body of Christ (which is a bad thing), an Evangelist called by God will fulfill their ministry not just by calling the lost to repentance and bringing people into the fold, but by building up the body, perfecting the saints, teaching sound doctrine, and many other things that seem to be only “the pastors job.”
If you think about this, this is one of the reasons why the plurality of Elders is not just biblical, but essential wisdom. I strongly assert that Evangelists are an essential piece on God’s chess board. Even if it was just one man in a small congregation, he should nevertheless do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5). Also, even though an Evangelist may be typified by church planting, missionary work (local or overseas), and/or proclaiming the gospel among the heathen in the local area, the pastors and teachers among us should be doing some of the very same things! And if you’re thinking consistently about the Great Commission, every Christian is called to do their part in the work of making disciples. But regarding our ministerial duty to the body, as sheepdogs, we are called as a team that heeds the voice of our Shepherd to do the joyous labor of serving the body while we endeavor in the very same mission. And whether it is building up the body by adding to the church, or by edifying and perfecting those already added, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers must rally together more than ever underneath the sound of Jesus’ voice to protect, guide, unify, and edify His sheep.
I am pleading with those of you who are leaders to stop putting Evangelists in the evangelistic sand box to play outside the church as if that is their sole domain. We can do better than this! There are many Evangelists who are fit to lead and exegete the Scriptures and can provide relief to their fellow sheepdogs. Their heart may lie in a passion for lost souls, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a passion for God’s people either. We may differ in personalities, strengths, and abilities, but so do the many of pastors and teachers in our congregations. Evangelists are no different. We desire to train and build up and lead the sheep just as much as any of the others who are called to the work.
One thing I remember about my time at that farm was all the sheepdogs on the sidelines, chained to the fence, aching to get in the field and work among the sheep. They were zealous, eager, knowledgeable, and would jump up and down while they watched their fellow sheepdogs do the work they were also bred for. But when they were let loose, they all attentively obeyed the voice of the Shepherd. And if either them stepped out of line, or did not obey, they would be disciplined just as much as the sheep. And this applies to all sheepdogs! Some of us have been standing on the sidelines waiting for our local congregations to let us join in on the work for too long. Although anyone called by God will fulfill their calling whether blind leaders recognize it or not, they nevertheless desire to work hand in hand with other sheepdogs. The problem is, we have too many wolves in the pulpits who desire to devour the sheep and not obey the voice of the Shepherd. And unfortunately, there are too many goats that don’t mind serving themselves up on their plate every Sunday.
But that aside, if you are reading this, and you are a leader/elder/pastor among your congregation, I plead with you to join arms with your fellow sheepdog, the Evangelist. I’d love to help you on how you can best approach this. You can contact me here, and we can correspond through email. Or if you are reading this and you feel like you are called as an Evangelist, I would love to help you to study thoroughly what that means and equip you to know how you can support and approach your local church. You can also contact me here. Keep in mind, though, that in some churches, their ecclesiastical government may require that you submit underneath the Eldership. In other congregations, the Evangelist may be appointed as one of the Elders. But whatever government your church may have, one thing remains true – there are sheepdogs that are eager and called to do the work of the ministry within the body of Christ. Some are already obeying the voice of their Heavenly Shepherd. As a church, as leader, as a Christian, will you do the same?
-Until we go home