Author: Ron Graham
If we want to be successful in converting souls to Christ (and we should want to be), then we would do well to follow th seven examples in Acts...
Acts 2:14-41, cf 3:11-26
Peter's preaching, along with that of the other apostles, converted 3000 souls on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Notice how direct, plain, and simple the message was. Tell people the truth, tell it straight, and keep it simple. Too many preachers today are telling people what they want to hear, rather than what they ought to hear.
This man was given an answer from the scriptures to the question that burned in his heart. Listen to a person's important questions and give God's answers. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone is like the Ethiopian who asked the big question first. Some people start with a side issue. Don't be distracted by that, rather use it to get to the big issue.
Saul, later known as Paul, was a man of zeal. He describes that zeal in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 1:13-15). Don't dampen a person's zeal. Redirect it. Make use of it. Jesus did not destroy Saul's zeal, but redirected it. It was as though Saul was shooting fiery darts at Jesus and his church. Instead of destroying those darts, Jesus turned them back upon Saul, and they changed Saul, the zealot against Jesus, into Paul a man on fire for Jesus.
Acts 10:1-33, 11:14
Had Peter remained unwilling to visit and teach Cornelius the Gentile, this story would have turned out much differently. However Peter stood ready to step out of his comfort zone, and to be God's instrument in answering a man's prayers for help. Be alert and ready to show people the light, whoever is seeking, knocking, asking. God can put us in touch with seekers, and not always in the places where we expect them to be.
Paul went looking for people whose hearts were inclined toward God. Spend time planting seed in good soil, teaching where there is an inclination to listen with an open heart. Some are so blind they will not see, so deaf they will not hear, so hard of heart they will not understand (Luke 8:4-15).
The jailer's intense experience rendered him ready to listen to the gospel. Take advantage, with tact and loving concern, of the times when people have experienced something that shocks them into spiritual reality. The death of a friend, a frightening accident, a broken marriage, loss of a job, and such things can bring people to their senses. So can lovely things like the birth of a child, a special adventure, or the recovery of a loved-one who has been seriously ill.
These people sought power through the occult but Paul showed them something far better. Find out what good thing is important to a person, and show him how the gospel of Christ can improve upon it. It does not help a slum-dweller to demolish his slum —unless you first move him to a better dwelling place.