Soul Winning 101

Author - Michele Washam & Pastor Tom Mooty - West End Baptist Church

“Dear God, help me!”  “Save Me!”  “Fix my life!”

How many days and how many nights do you call out to The Lord for His help?  How many times has He lowered His hand and rescued you  from the perils you were facing only to watch you wander off down your own path  again? How seriously have you thought about your responsibility to Our  Heavenly Father for His love and grace which never ceases? 

Oh, I’m not talking  about the weekly visit to church or the Bible study.   I am  talking about true faith in action; and true service and devotion to Our Maker.  Did you ever notice how you wake each day and aggressively carry out the  responsibility of work and home or take a step back to look at the effort you  put forth making sure you “get the job done” for your family, boss or company?  Do you give God the same effort with your responsibility to Him? Is there  anything left of you to give Him when you’ve completed all of your earthly  duties? 

Someone once  said to me “If you go about His  business, He’ll go about yours.”  What an incredible arrangement! This statement almost always leads to the  question, “What is His business?”  

When we look at Jesus’ ministry here on earth we can clearly see His mission was  to save souls; to save the lost from an eternity in hell.  When I pondered on doing “His” business; I thought of a passage  found in the Bible: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for  I am gentle and humble in heart: and you will find rest for your souls. For My  yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:29 ,30). This passage spoke to my heart and made me realize how little I give  to Him in return for the bounty He gives to me.   

Our pastor challenged us to win just ONE lost soul this year!  As he expressed it, “Make a difference in just ONE person’s life this year”.  It was a good challenge; and has resulted in several being saved already.

At first glance it probably seems  easier to rebuild your car engine than to “win a soul”; but in meditating on the above scripture,  it  dawned on me that winning a lost soul is not really that hard to do. Jesus promised us  that His “yoke was easy and His burden was light”; and we need only look deeper into our  hearts to truly understand how easy it really is.  

A yoke is a  wooden frame worn around the neck of a strong farm animal. It is not a burden to  the animal;  instead it gives him strength, it makes the load seem lighter.  If you  were to hook a heavy load to an ox without a yoke, it would be unbearable to  him; the plow chains would cut into his hide and choke him. A yoke is designed  to eliminate, not cause, pain. 

So, when Jesus says to "take My yoke upon  you”, this is something good. It's designed to eliminate the pain. The spiritual yoke spoken of in the Scripture is just the opposite of an instrument of torture. In fact, it is an instrument  of mercy given to us by Jesus Christ, our Savior. A yoke makes the work easier;  and by giving control of the reigns to The Master, we are allowing Him to work through us to accomplish His purpose. 

As God’s children, we have been appointed the task of winning the lost. It is our duty to  “go and make disciples of all the  nations…” (Matthew 28:19).  It is our responsibility; and Jesus promised us that  with Him by our side, not only would we find rest in Him from the responsibility  of this task;  but the burden He has given us would be lighter (Matthew 11:30 ).

It’s always easier to  try and win a soul when you are filled with His Spirit; and united in His love,  grace, wisdom and guidance.  It is then - and only then - that He can work through  you. Two forces working together in unity can accomplish the task more  efficiently than just one; and this is especially true if one of those “forces” is God Himself!  Let the Master take the reigns and you will marvel and what will be accomplished!

The soul is the  immaterial essence of a person; it is the moral nature and the total person’s  self.  The human soul  is God’s most valuable asset here on earth and He has entrusted one to  each and every one of us. It is up to us to nurture and protect our souls and we  do so by consuming God’s word, by fellowshipping with His Holy Spirit, and by turning  to Him for strength and wisdom when the enemy attacks.  Once we have become born_again in His spirit, we learn how to do these  things;  but there are countless numbers of people who neither know how to rescue their own souls, nor do they even believe it is necessary.   As God’s children, we are supposed  to understand how valuable the soul is to Him; and therefore, we are expected to allow our experience;  our God given strength, faith, and trust in Him to lead  these lost souls into the light in which we bask.  If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard  it a million times: our duty as Believers is to win lost souls.  When we realize how incredibly important this mission is; it will move us to actively seek out the lost to accomplish the task!  

When you are  given a project to do at work;  you will probably analyze it,  break it down into sections,  and then complete piece by piece until the whole project is accomplished.  It is that way in soul-winning.

Some souls can be won to Christ by  simply sharing your testimony and planting a seed; but others take more work. 

Now that you’re on fire for the mission;  you probably want to get out there, cast your net, and pull in a multitude; however, sometimes it is better to find just one and put your energy into leading just that one to Jesus!  This does not mean that you should shun an opportunity to win several at the same time; but the “one size fits all” concept rarely works in this most important ministry of the soul. 

Take the time to properly equip yourself for this mission.  The  most important element to soul winning  is, of course, prayer and unity with God, He  will lead you to the one He has chosen for you to take under your wing; and, when  you listen to His voice and guidance, He’ll breathe the soul winning words into  your heart.

Breaking Down  Your Barriers 

Many  Christians with whom I have talked about this mission have expressed frustration at  how often they are turned down, rejected, or simply ignored.  Ok!  Now we know how Jesus felt!  He preached to thousands; and yet, when He died, there was just a small handful of His followers there. 

Sometimes our best intentions can lead to disappointment because we  never really studied the barriers that are blocking us from success!

“What barriers?”, you say.  “How dare you!   I have no barriers!  I love Jesus with all of my heart!  What right do you have to speak of barriers?”

It’s really very simple.   Loving Him, and reflecting Him, are two totally different things; and, by the way,  don’t forget  the issue of giving Him control of your mission.


One of the  most common responses I get when trying to share my faith with others is the  issue of hypocrisy. A hypocrite is a person who puts on a false virtue or  appearance of religion.  The word comes from a Greek expression from the ancient theater when male actors played all the different parts in the play.  A man could portray a woman, an animal, a king, or a pauper simply by changing his “mask”; the it was expressed that he was a “hypocrite” - meaning “the person behind the mask”.  He was actually portraying something he was not in reality.  

An unsaved soul will immediately recognize a person who “talks the talk but doesn’t truly walk the walk”.  I believe more would-be  Christians have been lost by hypocrites than anything else. 

Look at it this way, would you hire a  mechanic to fix your car when his own car is breaking down?  Would you hire a  dentist who has no teeth? 

Take a  very honest (sometimes painful) look in your spiritual mirror!  What do you see?  Do you see a person that puts on his “Sunday-go-to-meeting-best”; and shows up for Sunday service; and smiles; and loves everyone: but then  spends the rest of the week in a foul mood being as rude as possible to whom ever you come in contact?  I

I am speaking out of experience. I own a small business in a small  country town situated in America ’s “Bible Belt”; and I never would have expected some  of the folks with whom I deal on a daily basis to be hypocrites.  Hey, after all; we’re in the Bible Belt,  where just about everyone preaches the Gospel and loves Jesus.  Frankly,  I was shocked at how many folks I saw dressed up in their Sunday best  going to church on the weekend with a heavenly smile on their face only to find  out that the rest of the week they were as rude as a New Yorker during rush hour traffic!

How can you possibly expect to be effective as a soul winner acting like that?  When I speak to Christians about this attitude; I am  normally met with a defensive reaction,  with the first retort being “I have been a Christian for MANY years!” This  pious attitude is exactly what the enemy feeds on and uses against us; and how he  retains the lost souls we are trying to win from his grasp. Hypocrisy is the most sure way to fail as a soul winner!

It doesn’t matter how long you have been a Christian or how well  you know your Bible.  What matters is how well you apply what you have  learned over the years!  The older we get as Christians, and the farther we go in the Faith, the more humble we  should be in spirit. It is this humble spirit that attracts those troubled souls  to us. 


The second  barrier is lack of faith. A person with luke warm faith will surely project the  lack of conviction to others. To attempt to win souls when your heart truly  isn’t in it will result in an empty net. Before we can deal with the barriers of  the souls we have been entrusted to try to win,  we have to break down our own barriers.  We have to identify the back doors the enemy can enter and seal them tight.

In  addition to the weapons God has given us to protect ourselves (Ephesians 6:10_18), we have to be responsible for how  we are seen by the world. Our prayer and open ear to Gods wisdom will equip us  with the faith we need to win those souls. By allowing God to show you these  barriers and allowing Him to help you break them down, you have instantly  lightened your burden.


The third and possibly the biggest barrier we face is sometimes found even in the church  family itself. That is jealousy!

If you think the enemy doesn’t work within the  hearts and minds of the church family itself; sadly,  you are wrong. A church clique is one of the most dangerous weapons we face on the soul winning mission.  This  group is usually the best dressed, most popular and most vocal group in the  church; usually consisting of five or more people who feel their seniority in  the church has placed them on a higher level than the rest of the members.  So,  when the “lower class” abandon the idea of “fitting in” and simply set out to  accomplish the task set before them with vigor and ambition, the clique can turn very hostile. Anything that exposes how little this group really does for God will  usually cause them to set their snares; and, although they appear to be loving and  supportive, these are the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” Jesus warned us of. They  will fit every description of hypocrisy; and will do it to your face and even  with a smile. The actions of these clique members often leave even a true  warrior feeling hurt, angry, frustrated and confused. This is how the enemy  causes division and we all know that a house divided CAN NOT stand.

Their  actions will almost always make you wonder if the work you are doing is worth it;  or leave you questioning your own ambition. If you are faced with this dilemma,  pray that God will reveal their actions to them; and, at the same time, you ask for His  protection and put on the armor He has freely given you (Ephesians 6:10_18).  Never forget,  He has  inspired you to do what you are doing for Him; and so long as you focus on Him,  He will accomplish the task through you.  If after you read this you feel  conviction in your heart and realize that you may, in fact, BE one of the clique  members, please realize that being the best dressed, the oldest, or the most popular member of your church is not going to get you into heaven!  In fact, it isn’t even  pleasing to God!

Are your actions fair to other  members? Do you feel jealousy or envy when you see another member accomplishing  God’s mission while you focus on your importance in the church or community?   If so, it  may be time to take your thoughts and actions to God in prayer. Your pastor may  be able to help you rid yourself of these feelings that have caused you to place  yourself above your fellow church family members and possibly caused them to  stumble on their journey.  When you have addressed and removed your  own barriers you can effectively help a lost soul do the same.  

Overcoming The  Barriers of the Unsaved Soul

The barriers  we have to overcome when dealing with an unsaved person are easily identifiable  after a few conversations, maybe even one. The first thing with which you will come in  contact is the person’s mentality, or their mode or way of thinking. In many  cases this mentality is the result of decades of living in the  flesh. Some folks have experienced horrific situations in their past that  prevent them from seeing a brighter future. 

Some have allowed the enemy’s weapon of logic to blind them from the truth.  “God doesn’t help people anymore”, they rationalize.  “I can’t ever see Him in my life so how can I believe He is there?”.  These are  common responses to an initial conversation about salvation.  It has taken them a lifetime of bad  habits to achieve their current “unsaved” status; so, don’t be discouraged if your first efforts do not result in an overnight change. By helping them see the barriers  themselves; it will be easier for you to help them break them down, piece by  piece; and in the process, you can help them build a new and blessed foundation - The foundation of salvation!

Nothing will  draw a person to you more readily than sympathetic ears and wide shoulders. A lost  soul almost always wants to tell you why he or she is at that place in life.  Nothing feels better than knowing someone cares about all of your hurts  and that they are listening with a sincere concern to help you to identify some of the other  barriers that prevent them from falling into God’s loving arms.

Listening to a  person sift through the dusty and often ugly corners of their heart helps you to  better equip yourself through prayer to help them clean out the old garbage and  start filling it with the new and positive things that will lead them in the  right direction. Helping them to identify and appreciate the blessings they do  have such as a home, a family, food on their table, etc is a good way to set  the stage. Amplifying what they have been blessed with; and helping them to  retrain their thinking to see the blessings they have taken for granted is always a  good first step. 

The way a  person thinks is a powerful barrier. When I was traveling through the first days  of my journey of salvation, my thoughts played a big part in my progress. It was  only when I learned to take control of my thoughts that my progress was visible  to both my eyes and my spirit. For many people who have been lost in the world  and the flesh, their mode of thinking will be the controlling factor. As soul winners, it is wise to teach them to recondition their faulty thinking. This is a  step-by-step process that lays a solid foundation for a permanent life and  spiritual change.

One way to do this is to tackle the “what ifs”!  In every case  I have seen, I could say that  99.9% of the “what ifs” never happen; instead, they are just a tactic of the enemy for injecting fear into our minds; which in turn prevents us from trusting in God  totally.

Now, I ask you.  Are you convinced?  Have I “sold you”?  Then, what are you going to do about it?  What decisions will you make to become the soul-winner that God has called you to be?

Ask The Lord to forgive you for all the barriers you have erected to fulfilling your mission of winning souls.  Then, as Jesus told the woman, “Go, and sin no more”.  In other words, “Get busy with what He has called you to do; and it will be amazing what will happen!  E-mail me with your decision; and let’s work together to make some amazing things happen!

If you do not know The Lord Jesus as your personal Savior; if you have never come to the place where you have confessed your sins, and trusted Him to forgive you; you can do that right now.  Go ahead!  Confess your sins to Jesus; ask Him to save you!

Here’s a prayer that will always work, if you are sincere.  “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner; and I am sorry about that.  I confess my sins to you; and I am ready to receive your wonderful forgiveness.  Receive me and make me your child, I ask you in Jesus’ Name.  Amen”.

Did you do that?  Did you mean it?  Then, thank Him for saving you!

Now, cement it down by telling somebody!  Anybody!  Tell somebody what you have done; find a Gospel-preaching church; join in with them - and get busy in God’s Great Big Work!  E-mail me about your decision; and let’s work together to start your new life in Christ! 

A special thanks to Pastor Tom Mooty at The West End Baptist Church for his contribution to this months article. 

About Pastor Mooty

Saved in 1965 at the age of 24; and called to preach shortly thereafter, Tom Mooty has pastored two churches for a total of 34 years; and been assistant pastor for an additional 2 years.

Tom studied for electrical engineering; and worked at Southern Bell and Newport Utilities in engineering for eight years.  He resigned this field to enter the full-time ministry.  He began pasturing West End Baptist Church in Newport , Tennessee in 1971; and served until 1987; when he felt The Lord leading him to serve the First Baptist church of Wartburg , Tennessee .  In August, 2024; The West End Baptist Church called him and his wife of 44 years, Anita, to return to Newport and “pick up where he left off”.

Tom has a BS degree from Tennessee Temple College ; and has done further study on a master’s degree from Temple Baptist Theological Seminary and Southern Seminary.

Tom, 63, jokes about being an “almost medicare minister”; but gets deadly serious when he says, “I do not  intend to retire, as long as The Lord gives me breath to speak and a hand to write; and wisdom to know how to do both”.

He and Anita have three married children; and eight grand children; and make their home in Newport , Tennessee .

Click here to visit The West End Baptist Church Home Page


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