Jesus called His Father, the ‘Lord of the harvest.’ “…when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”” (Matthew 9:36-38)
Those words tell us a lot. It tells us that God the Father is leading the charge to win souls. We then join Him in the harvest. It is a good reminder to us never to be intimidated by California culture. Yes, there is hostility, perversion, and hardness of heart. But none of that is a match for God.
Satan does not want you to believe there is a harvest in California—a vast harvest. If we only knew how many people God has right now on the verge of being converted to Christ, it would truly shock us all!
Here are five proven ways to win souls in California.
1. Be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was given, first and foremost, as a gift to empower soul winning. Every other benefit, while glorious, is secondary. The primary reason for this gift is: power to be a witness.
The Baptism will put wise words within you and boldness to speak those words. You may think you are too shy to witness. You may find it impossible to picture yourself sharing your faith. But the Holy Spirit will rise within you and make you a powerful and effective soul winner. Consider the difference the Baptism of the Holy Spirit made in Peter. He went from a man who was so afraid, to the point that he denied Christ three times, to a man who was as bold as a lion and who converted thousands on the day of Pentecost.
2. Write a short summary of your testimony. Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives unto death.” The most effective weapon you will ever use to win souls is your own account of how Jesus saved you. Memorize it. Make it a habit to refer to it often.
E. Stanley Jones was the Billy Graham of his day. He developed a debate forum where atheists and intellectuals were challenged to face off with Christians. Often he would not divulge who was going to defend the Faith before these prominent atheists. Then he would introduce his team: new converts. Time and time again the intellectuals would be stymied by the simple power of a changed life. No matter what they threw at these new believers, they would get the same answer back, “All I know is, once I was lost, but now I am found.” That is your edge!
We have all been told we need ‘ice breakers’ and deep theological statements in order to witness. Not true! What we need, and what the hurting soul needs is the simple story of your transformation.
3. Identify your harvest field. A better name for this is your circle of influence. These are people you deal with in your everyday life. They are hairstylists, waiters in your favorite restaurant, classmates, friends, and even family.
They know you. They have seen you on your good days and on your bad days. They already know what you believe, and they respect you. While it’s true that the whole world is our mission field, this is your primary harvest field.
It won’t be strange if the subject of your walk with Jesus comes up. This will happen because they have been watching your life. They can tell a difference between how you respond to problems, and what problems do to them. This is why we must live what we preach. They see the power of Christ in how we handle a crisis.
It is inevitable that an opportunity to share your miracle will present itself.
4. Reap the ripe harvest. Don’t argue with fools or angry people. It is a total waste of time and worse. Mark Twain said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
The Bible says it this way: “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” (Proverbs 26:4)
Why waste your time trying to convince someone who only wants to fight? Especially when you are surrounded by people overwhelmed by their life and who have great anxiety about the future. They are asking deep questions. That is a harvest ready to be picked.
But there is another gigantic reason to discern the harvest, and it’s in the following two verses.
Joel 28, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh…”
John 16:8, “And when (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…”
The first verse tells us something wonderful came upon all of humanity on the Day of Pentecost. The second verse describes what the Spirit Who fell on them is doing in them. Every human being is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. That influence is convicting them of sin, and warning them of the disaster of living their life without God.
How wonderful to realize that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit makes you the perfect voice to someone who is already under His influence.
5. Don’t just invite them to a meeting—bring them.
Here is exactly how we instruct people to bring souls to our Tent: Don’t just invite people—ask them to come with you. Pick them up and drive them to the tent. Buy them a meal either before or after the crusade. If it is before, it is a wonderful chance to brief them on what they are about to experience. Tell them they will hear a message that will encourage them and give them inner peace. Tell them that they will see a demonstration of the power of God that will confirm that what they are hearing is real and that it is the truth. Or if you choose to go out afterwards, it is an outstanding opportunity to reflect on what happened during the meeting.
I work hard to enforce the atmosphere God wants in the Tent. Our theme verse is this: “Nevertheless, they stayed there a long time, preaching boldly, and the Lord proved their message was from Him by giving them power to do great miracles.” (Acts 14:3)
We don’t do fire tunnels, inner healing, personal prophecy, or marathon worship. Is it because we want a harmless user-friendly service? Not at all! You will see prophecy in the Tent that causes the hearers to be convicted of their sins. They will fall to their knees and “worship God, declaring that God is truly among you” (see 1 Cor. 14:25). There will be messages in tongues and interpretation. We do cast out demons. There will be instantaneous healings and addictions will vanish.
Can you guess the difference? Everything we do in the Tent is to show the lost soul that they are loved and that the power of God is real.
The bottom line is that we must win the lost in California. We have no excuse for not doing so, because the harvest is indeed ripe. Along with our regular worship we need services that are unselfish. You aren’t serious about winning the lost if there is no deliberate plan to get them there. You aren’t serious about winning souls if you make outsiders sit through 90 minutes of a single phrase like, “Open the floodgates of heaven.” You aren’t serious about winning souls if your meeting is strictly for saints to get a deeper buzz than ever before.
I challenge you to try the things I have written about in this blog. Just under the surface, California contains the largest harvest in America!