Are you ready to join the treasure hunt on behalf of God? Have you always had a conviction to bring people to Christ, but you are clueless on how to go about it? You have no reason to hide that lack of courage or direction because soul- winning is not for the faint-hearted — it is a real struggle in both the physical and spiritual realms.
Title: Give Me Souls, Or I Die!
Author: Phillip Kundeni Chidavaenzi
Publisher: Royalty Books
Genre: Christian literature
Reviewed by: Conelia Mabasa
It is real battle and unless you have the courage of David in the face of Goliath or the push that led the lepers to the Syrian army’s tents, you may remain in that mode, wishing you could preach but doing nothing about it for fear of rejection, frustration, humiliation or labelling.
If sharing the gospel and shepherding is your call or if you feel compelled to answer to the Great Commission, Matthew 28: v 19-20 which says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (NIV) your manual is out. Grab Chidavaenzi’s Give Me Souls, Or I Die! The book is not just for first-time and amateur evangelists. The converted and their pastors can learn a lot from it and should be able to apply the techniques the writer gives to engage and win new converts to grow their churches for the Lord.
The author says “soul-winning is the rail upon which the wheels of the church must move”. If no new people are coming to Christ in any church, then there is no life or any work happening for the Lord in that particular congregation. He also adds that “the coldest churches [as in denominations] are those with members who just sit warming the pews, enjoying the privileges of the faith without reaching out to others”. It is possible that the born-again can be so selfish as to personalise Christ, yet He is meant to be shared. Some pastors make the mistake of concentrating on those already in the church or get carried away with motivation, offering and tithe-giving that they forget to make altar calls after services.
It is not a book that you read once and shelve — it is a workers’ manual, your reference text to soul-winning. Your source of wisdom, inspiration and your energiser. It brings together all scriptures that build upon the Great Commission. And Chidavaenzi does not send you where he has not been, he is challenging you to join his Chariot, he is already there and he shares both his great moments, his regrets and even where he could not make a breakthrough — an experience with his own father being a case in point. Whether you are already labouring or are yet to, keep the hope alive, the Lord himself will take you through and there is no cut-off time for when to start on the commission and the reward is guaranteed (read Matthew 20).
As you prepare to go into the field, carry yourself in the same way Jesus did and your job will become easy. Watch your every step and consider every word before your speak. Teach about Christ without being opinionated. Study the Bible and pray for messages to make sense.
Chidavaenzi lists the qualities that a soul-winner must have or cultivate to make the job at hand easier. He says an effective soul-winner must love people, be a good listener, be able to build relationships and lead a good life. One must also know the scriptures and ask God for wisdom always. One must remember they are taking Christ, in his fullness, to the nations.
There is no excuse not to go out and share the word because the Great Commission is not a request, but an order to mankind.
Chidavaenzi’s style of writing in which he addresses and instructs an individual soul-winner in the first person makes it feel like a one-on-one conversation. He is a natural teacher and his message unravels as if he is talking to you directly. That makes his message accessible and digestible.
He also separates the quoted scriptures from the writer’s narration and commentary, creating white space that makes reading and referencing easy. Where he needed emphasis, he underlined the sections of the quoted scriptures.
The writer also advises that there is nothing like old faith, the title of his book is inspired by John Hyde, an evangelist from as far back as 1904. He is calling upon people to read widely and to be open-minded so as to be effective soul-winners.
Bible translations have always been a bone of contention when it comes to the message and Chidavaenzi made use of versions that articulated the meaning of passages quoted as he intended. He quotes the NASB, AMP and TLB, among other translations of the Bible. And the title of the book ends with an exclamation mark, to make it a loud call. Has the call startled you? Go ye…