There’s nothing more exciting than
leading someone to Christ through a “power encounter” hosted by the Holy
Spirit. I’ve seen a waitress come to Christ because a group of us out
for lunch simply showed Christ’s love and talked to her and gave her
words of knowledge-even one about her cat! I’ve also experienced times
in which the Spirit of God is so tangible during ministry or a personal
interaction that people have asked me, “What is this, and how do I come
to know this Jesus you are talking about?”
When Jesus spoke brief words of knowledge
to the woman in Samaria, she told the entire village about the Lord. I
believe these types of power encounters have been God’s preference for
evangelism all along. Other methods have some impact, but nothing gets
your attention like finding out that God “has your number.”
Yet the salvation experience isn’t the
end of the journey. As leaders, we know the number of times someone has
had an encounter and then seemingly dropped off the planet.
The answer to this dilemma is the local
church. If a person is plugged in, he will discover the truth of God’s
ways, be trained in the Holy Spirit, hear the gospel message, develop
personal relationships that lead to growth, and hopefully become part of
a small group where discipleship and ongoing development occur.
I’m so convinced of the benefit of
belonging to a church that I would rather see members of my congregation
get people to a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled church than merely get
them saved. Believers with little or no ongoing training are quickly led
C. Peter Wagner says, “The single most
effective evangelistic methodology is planting churches.” Consider why:
When a team sets out to plant, all are actively engaged in the process.
They take ownership of it and are eager to see the plant succeed, so
evangelism and telling others about the new church is a natural
byproduct. To fulfill the Great Commission, we and our ministry teams
must be actively and aggressively involved in church planting.
I am not minimizing the importance of
existing churches. I am merely describing how greater productivity can
occur in evangelism.
Thus, as we teach our members how to
wisely win souls, we must also convey to them the importance of seeing
new believers grounded in the right local church. This doesn’t always
mean encouraging the convert to attend our church. Certainly, that is a great option-the person who shared salvation can then share relationship.
Yet it is important to also have
information available about good churches to recommend in different
areas of town or even in other states. It’s helpful to have information
about churches where the particular emphasis might better interest the
Because it is God who is at work building
His church, setting the members as He pleases, I never worry about
“giving away” new people. They are His anyway; it’s all the same
As we engage in the awesome privilege of
winning the lost through power encounters, let’s remember the ultimate
purpose: to make disciples. This is not done in one encounter, no matter
how dramatic. Lives are built carefully, one day at a time. I believe
healthy, growing, relational churches full of the Spirit and the Word
provide that environment.
Ché Ahn is
senior pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif. He also leads
an apostolic network in 36 nations around the world and has written
numerous books, including Close Encounters of the Divine Kind. For more information, visit cheahn.org.