It's so fatal for churches to define successful evangelism as 'people crossing the line' (prayed THE prayer) so to speak. It's fatal for congregation members to be made to feel that they are only successful at evangelism when they lead someone 'across the line'. I've run many seminars where people feel ashamed and have given up on reaching out to people because they somehow believed that they were only successful at evangelism if people 'crossed the line'. Where did this wrong teaching come from? We all understand that evangelism is a process and that people are on a journey of coming to know Christ. So...if my neighbour moves along on their journey of coming to know Christ through a discussion or kind deed that I was involved in then I WAS successful (so to speak) at evangelism.
John 4:35-38 says,
Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
My Point: In evangelism sowing AND reaping are involved!
If I sow then surely there is benefit in this and it must be counted as a success (so to speak).
If the sower and reaper may be glad together, there must be a success in them both!
Questions to Consider:
1) Why do you feel churches focus on the reaping so much as a measure of success?
2) Succesful evangelism is.......(you finish the sentence for yourself).
3) Where have you had opportunity to sow evangelistically?
4) When have you reaped the benefits of other people's labor (evangelistically)?