Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Value of a Soul

I have been asked, “Why do you go out and do Harvest Crusades? Why do you travel to different areas of the country, taking time away from your church and your family to do this? What’s your motive?”

Why do I go out and do this?

Is it the thrill of speaking in front of large crowds? No, I can’t say that’s it because, in many cases, the crowds may be smaller than our combined attendance at Harvest Christian Fellowship on a given Sunday.

Is it the thrill of travel? Absolutely not. The novelty of travel wore off a long time ago.

Is it because it’s a lot of fun? Well, we do have a lot of fun. But it isn’t all fun. In reality, it’s a lot of work.

Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one went astray. What did the shepherd do? Did he say, “Win a few, lose a few. Too bad”?

No, he left the 99 and went after that one sheep. You see, God doesn’t just value multitudes; He values individuals. He values the human soul.

Several years ago, my neighbor told me about a man named Roy who lived in our neighborhood. Roy had a very serious heart ailment, and there was nothing more that could be done for him. So he had been discharged from the hospital and was basically sent home to die.

My neighbor said to me, “Roy is not a Christian, but he has been to one of your crusades. Maybe you should try to talk to him.”

One morning, my wife and I were out walking when my neighbor pointed out Roy to us. So we walked over to him and introduced ourselves. As we talked, it became clear that Roy was not a believer. He had a lot of questions.

Every day, we ran into him and would talk a little bit more. Then I gave Roy a copy of one of my books, which presents the gospel message. I encouraged him to take the book home and read it and then asked if we could talk again.

Roy came back the next day and said, “I read your whole book.” He had more questions. We talked a little bit more, but Roy still did not seem ready to make a commitment to Christ.

One morning, as we were having family devotions, I looked out the window. There was Roy, standing in front of our house. He was out on a walk and had stopped to rest, right in front of our house.

Here we were, reading the Bible, and Roy was standing there. I sensed it was time. So I walked outside and said, “Roy, let’s talk a little more.” As we talked, I said, “Roy, I think you need to settle this right now. You need to get right with God. Why don’t you pray right now and give your life to Christ?”

He said, “I’m ready to do that.”

“Great,” I said. So we prayed, and Roy asked the Lord to come into his life.

The next morning, we saw Roy. He had a big smile on his face. He said he had just been singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Every time we saw Roy, it seemed like he had grown a little more.

His son-in-law told me later that Roy went to his whole family and announced, “You are looking at a brand-new Christian right now!”

Some time later, Roy’s son-in-law knocked on our door. He said, “Roy died last night. I wanted to tell you.”

Certainly there was sadness. But there also was the joy of knowing that Roy was in his new body in heaven. I thought to myself, “What if I had been too busy?” We can make up so many excuses. But God had provided me with a wonderful opportunity to talk with Roy.

So why take the time to share the gospel and hold events like the Harvest Crusades? The answer is obvious: It’s the value of a soul.

God values the Roys of the world. He values you. And He values me. Yet in our culture today, we often place the greatest value on that which, for the most part, has no value. Meanwhile, we completely ignore that which has the greatest value.

Is anything worth more than a soul? The answer, obviously, is no. God values the human soul. And so should we.


“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.” (Colossians 1:28 NLT)

Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19 NLT). But what does that mean? It means that to the best of our ability, being led by the Holy Spirit, we are to invite people to follow Christ. Then we are to help them get on their feet spiritually and help them to start growing and keep moving forward. We want to help them grow up.

Somewhere along the line, however, we have separated evangelism from discipleship, but we see no such distinction in Scripture. The idea is not just to lead people to Christ and then say, “God bless you. See you later.” Rather, it is to help them grow and mature in their faith. New believers need help as they make that commitment to follow the Lord.

New believers are just like new babies, and babies need help. And not only do new believers need help, but they need protection as well. The apostle Paul, writing to new believers in Galatia, said, “Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives” (Galatians 4:19 NLT).

You can’t just turn a baby loose in a house. You have to watch them, because they get themselves into mischief all the time. You have to watch over babies constantly, because they are constantly getting into trouble.

The same is true of new believers. They make a commitment to Christ and are so vulnerable. Old friends will call up and ask them to engage in things they shouldn’t. Old boyfriends or girlfriends will contact them again. Those temptations will come. And you, as an older, more mature believer, need to help them and guide them in that regard so they don’t fall away.

Will you make yourself available to come alongside a new believer and help them to grow in their faith? They won’t be the only one to grow and be blessed!

Share you story below—we would love to hear about your discipleship adventure!