Growing up in the home of a strong evangelical pastor the idea of “winning people to Christ” was a deeply embedded value. Of course, that was strongly reinforced through my college days as a student involved with Cru.
That’s why I’ve taken notice in reading through many of the Old Testament prophets of God’s prophecies, not so much about winning people over but rather winning over people. The first suggests the attraction of people to a cause while the latter speaks of political or cultural conquest. Certainly none of us would feel called to a ministry of “conquest”. But, what about a ministry that not only seeks to win people over but also to win over people as in seeking to impact the culture?
Perhaps the sweet spot in the ministry of “winning” is not trying to win over the culture per se but seeking to win to Christ the individuals who help shape the culture. A friend of mine, Dr. Larry Poland, invested 30+ years of his life in ministry focused on executives and corporate media leaders in Hollywood and New York. He has story after story of how changed lives led to changed content. (If you think it’s bad today, imagine where it would be with no light of Christ present among those media leaders.)
All of this is to say why I was so encouraged yesterday as I spoke with Cru’s newly appointed city coordinator for Dublin, Ireland. They’ve identified some cultural areas where winning the leaders over to Christ will have the greatest potential to open many more hearts to Jesus. In this country once known for its staunch Catholicism, the New Age Movement is gaining traction. So, to connect with New Age leaders, the ministry recently opened a booth at a New Age convention and began surveying people about spirituality. By the end of the day, six people had invited Christ into their life!
Dublin has also become the European headquarters for a number of social media companies. Plans are already being considered as they try to reach the young, talented “no collar” leaders of Dublin’s high tech world.
As a preacher’s kid who saw winning simply from the standpoint of personal evangelism, I’m encouraged. Today we see how God is raising up people who think strategically about the opportunity to not just reach the consumers of culture but also the shapers of culture. As the Holy Spirit brings power and success to those efforts we can see a whole lot of winning.
It’ll never be too much winning!!!