God Works In People’s Hearts [ARTICLE – Chris Grimbilas]

(Editor’s Note: Bro. Chris Grimbilas is doing a fantastic job reaching and shepherding people in rural Maine.  Having recently made a connection with Heartland Baptist Bible College through the Church Planting Conference, Ministry Refresher Institute, and through GloryBound visiting New Life Baptist Church where he pastors, Bro. Grimbilas is now sending a student to HBBC this fall.  Bro. Grimbilas’ zeal for soul-winning comes through clearly in this challenge to fellow ministers.)

…And Soul-Winning is the Key.

God has placed us in the mountains of Maine where the people are independent, the winters are harsh, and the land is rugged. Yet, I have realized that regardless of where I am, God still works in peoples’ hearts, and soul-winning is the key. What surprises and saddens me is that there seems to be many who have forgotten God’s loving desire to save the lost.

“What Works for You?”

This is a question I hear bantered around among a lot of pastors seeking to find the magic formula for bringing new people into their churches. I cannot speak for any other pastor or church, but there is one thing I have realized…

Soul-winning works. Period.

The approach to soul-winning may vary. It did for Jesus. He approached the Samaritan woman in John 4 in a completely different manner than He approached Nicodemus in John 3 or the maniac of Gadara in Mark 5. Yet, though three different approaches were used, the result was the same. Those Jesus approached, He won to Himself.

So, why do I regularly hear of churches and pastors that have abandoned soul-winning? They don’t want to do what Jesus did?

There are a lot of reasons folks offer–everything from being “culturally relevant” to “it can’t be done like they used to do it.” Because I am a church planter in Maine, I hear those same objections over and over again. Yet it really grieves me when I hear them from pastors – good men who love people.

Here is my challenge. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” The person of Jesus and a relationship with Him never lose their power. If Jesus went soul-winning, and Jesus won people to Himself, and Jesus could make it work, then so can I. How do I know that? I know that because the Bible commands us to go, and God does not give us a command that He will not empower us to do. So If Jesus did it, and I am commanded by the Lord to do it, then God will enable me to do it.

It’s About What God Does In Hearts.

I was visiting the home of a teenager in our church who was hit by tragedy. She had friends at the house when I arrived. In the midst of the tragedy, a teenage young man was saved. The next day, he was in church. I followed up at the young man’s house the following week. I opened the Bible with his mom, and she got saved.

On a Thursday afternoon, I knocked on the door of Donald and Keri. They were hurting because of a difficult family situation. I opened the Bible and shared the love of Jesus Christ with them. Donald came from a Pentecostal background and had a lot of questions. I answered them with Scripture. They both got saved and are now coming to church for all of the services.

Last week, I came across a single mom who I had run into previously. She was now at a different address, and her two children were older. In the past, she had been resistant, defiant, hard-hearted, and unwilling to hear what God would have for her. This time, however, her response was different.

She said, “Nothing I’ve tried has worked. Maybe I ought to give God a chance.”

She did. She bowed her head and trusted Christ. The next day, she was in church with us.

A couple of months ago, my wife dealt with another single mom, named Felicia. She was addicted to alcohol and had been arrested and jailed for robbery. She trusted Christ and has been on fire for the Lord ever since; she has not missed a service. She fought for, and regained custody of, her two children. This week, I had the privilege of talking to her son about Jesus, and he accepted Christ.

For each one of these stories, the approach was different because the people and the situations were different, but the need was the same.

Let’s be clear. I am not talking about a “1-2-3, pray with me” salvation experience. That is not biblical soul-winning. People need to know what they are believing. People must understand the Gospel. I take time. I offer the opportunity for them to ask questions. It is time invested in eternity, and it is worth every moment. There is no attempt to trick them into saying a quick prayer and assuming they are saved because they mouthed a few words. When you make sense, people listen, and the Bible always makes sense.

The formula is simple: The more folks I talk to about Jesus Christ, the more I realize that people are still hungry for Jesus Christ.

I am in a small town in a poverty-stricken area. The people here need Jesus. Someone has to tell them, and it is the Lord “who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1 Timothy 1:12) Every week, I go. Almost every week, I see someone trust Christ. I don’t get all of them to come to New Life Baptist Church. I wish I did. Yet, it seems that, even though I don’t get all of the ones I win, God brings in others: those who are hurting, those who are empty, those who just need to know there is a God who cares.

It’s the Best Investment of Time.

What works for me? Soul-winning. It is the same thing that Jesus did. Your area may be different from my area, and your culture may be different than my culture, yet the Bible is the same. The message of the Gospel is the same. The need for Jesus is the same. May I encourage you to start soul-winning, get back to soul-winning, or keep soul-winning?

For those who might say that soul-winning is a waste of time, that it doesn’t work anymore, or that it doesn’t produce much result, I offer one more example from Jesus.

When you study how Jesus reached the maniac of Gadara in Mark 5, you find that, because of the storm, it was an extended trip to get there – over 8 hours. Then, Jesus was there for a few hours. Then, Jesus and the disciples crossed back over the sea. All in all, you could say it was a 13-hour trip. Jesus invested 13 hours to see one person saved, and He obviously thought it was worth the time and effort.

For those who think soul-winning is a waste of time, perhaps they should consult with the Lord about that. I would say that soul-winning has been the best investment of time I can make. If you were to come to New Life Baptist Church and ask our folks if soul-winning works, they would shout out, “Yes! Praise God!”

Soul-winning works.

It is worth the time.

It is worth the effort.

It yields results.

It receives the blessings of God. And, since I need the blessings of God, I need to go soul winning.

It is my great privilege to go soul-winning and to be a part of God’s miraculous work of salvation in the hearts of those who trust Him.

 

Chris Grimbilas is a church planter in Jay, Maine, where he started New Life Baptist Church in September of 2015. He and his wife, Michelle, have been married for 30 years and have five children. They have made Maine their home and have a great burden to reach the rural regions in the mountains of Maine.

 

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1 Comment
  1. Thank you for the article! It is more than an article, it is the message of God’s purpose for his people – to get the news out before Christ returns! And the purpose Jesus came – to seek and save the lost! I am one of those who have been very discouraged by rejection or a loss of what to say at the door and have been disobedient to God because of it. But after considering a short time ago how Jesus went about his ministry (as you pointed out) I was convinced that it was my calling to do the same. God help me and more to believe what we believe and love people for Christ’s sake and his reward.

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