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FIRST-PERSON: Let me ask one question

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BENTON, Ill. (BP) – I left the deacons meeting one proud pastor. It had been a tiring Sunday evening filled with meetings and preaching. However, I went home greatly encouraged by how God was at work using our leaders.

In our meeting, five deacons told stories about how they had shared the Gospel with someone during the past month. Two deacons had hard conversations and shared the Gospel with family members, one deacon had talked with a coworker, another with an acquaintance and one got the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone they had been praying for.

No one had led someone to saving faith that month, but I am overly grateful to serve with leaders who are faithful to share their faith.

Pastors and leaders I admire have encouraged me to keep focused on having Gospel conversations and encouraging church members to share their faith. They will say things like, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” If I am honest, however, it’s sometimes hard to keep a focus on sharing the Gospel with so many other things filling up my schedule.

If I am not careful, I can spend all my time caring for those who are hurting, counseling, preparing sermons, planning the next ministry event and going to meetings. If I am not intentional, months could go by before I realize I haven’t shared the Gospel with anyone.

One way that I have found to keep our focus on Gospel conversations – for myself and our leaders – is to ask this question during meetings: “Who have you gotten to share the Gospel with this past week?” I ask that question to our staff almost every week and to our deacons almost every month.

I usually ask that question early in the meeting so that I don’t skip over it if the meeting runs long. Asking this one question helps me keep “pressure on the hose” for evangelism. My staff and deacons know that I’m likely to ask during every meeting. I never give demerits or shame anyone if they haven’t had a chance to share the Gospel. I ask the question to keep us all focused on looking for opportunities to have Gospel conversations.

I am always greatly encouraged when I hear how God is using others around me. When I hear their stories, it fuels my heart to not miss looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with people I come in contact with. Simply asking this question, and knowing that it will be asked, keeps sharing the greatest news in the world on the front of my mind. It keeps me focused on praying for opportunities and praying by name for people to come to Christ.

After asking the question in a recent staff meeting, I later passed by our student pastor in a deep conversation with a young man. He was sharing the story of the prodigal son, and it brought tears to the man’s eyes. His name was Kevin. He had been released from jail that morning and walked to our church. Within minutes, Kevin was praying for God to save him.

God works powerfully through the obedience of his people to share the Gospel. It is vital that we keep the main thing the main thing. So, may I ask you a simple question: “Who have you shared the Gospel with this past week?”

Pastor and Illinois Baptist State Association President Sammy Simmons will transition this month to a new role with the North American Mission Board.

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  • Sammy Simmons