CONTACTING PEOPLE AFTER THE MEETING
After the message we have a short time to close the meeting by singing hymns or a chorus and by asking people to make a decision for the Lord. Then right away after that, the brothers and sisters have to contact two or three, or at least one person, to care for them. Before contacting them, we have watched them and noticed what kind of reaction they had. Based on this, we can contact them. This is a very important time; it is the time to reap the harvest, the time to deliver the child. In the travail of childbirth there is a certain time, the very point of time, at which to have the delivery. We all must learn to be the midwives. In the work after the gospel meeting, every one of us must be a good midwife, knowing how to deliver the child. Pray for this.
Concerning the work we do after the meeting, there are a few points to which we must pay our full attention. First, we should not talk too much, and we must not talk with vain words. Before we contact people, we will have watched them and noticed what kind of reaction they have had. Based on this, we can speak with them about the message. We must learn to talk in a brief way to “close the deal,” just like a salesman. If we talk too much, there will be no deal. Our purpose is not to talk. Some brothers use the time after the meeting just to talk about everything from Genesis to Revelation, from the moon to the sun, and from the ancestors to the modern generation. They have much to say, but eventually they do not make the deal.
We need to close the deal in a brief way by helping people to pray. After we speak with someone for two or three minutes, five or six at the most, we have to influence him to pray. We must learn the secret of how to help people to pray. Many times people will say that they do not know how to pray, so we can ask them to follow us in prayer. We can say, “I will pray something, and then you follow me; say the same thing from your heart.” In a simple way we have to help people to confess their sins, recognize that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, the very Savior and Redeemer, and receive and accept the Lord Jesus personally as their Savior. We should also help them to realize that by Christ’s redeeming death, by the cross of Christ, their sins have been forgiven. We need to pray with them in a very brief, effective, and definite way. The Lord honors this kind of prayer. After this kind of prayer many persons have a change in their life, and the Holy Spirit becomes real and living to them. By this kind of prayer the Holy Spirit truly touches the hearts and spirits of people.
After the prayer it is very good to give people one or two verses from the Scriptures according to their situation, the verses which are best suited to each case respectively. For some people John 3:16 is good, and for others Romans 6:23 is good. We should give one or two verses as a confirmation and help them to grasp or be grasped by the verses. A living word from the Bible is a confirmation to a new believer, a proof of his salvation in a brief way.
After the prayer we should also have a friendly talk with the person. Ask him how and with whom he came, and take down his name and address. However, we should do this in a flexible, spontaneous way, not in a legal way. If the person he came with has his name and address already, there is no need for us to get it.
BAPTIZING THE NEW BELIEVERS
Before the meeting for preaching, we should have another time for visitation. Then the brothers and sisters can turn in dated sheets of paper with the name and address of their friends and some remarks about them, such as whether or not they have been saved. Then by those sheets we will know how many have been influenced by our preaching and what we must do in the meeting. If ten or twenty have already been saved, then on the next Lord’s Day we should have a baptism for them. Do not think this is too fast; there is no need to wait. The Scriptures say that people should be baptized as soon as they believe (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41; 8:36-38; 22:16). Believing is only half a step; believing and being baptized are the whole step of being saved. We do not believe in water baptism in a superstitious way, as some do. However, we do believe that there is something particular in baptism. In the past I saw sick people who were healed after their baptism, and some experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. There are many cases like this. Baptism is not a form or a superstition; rather, we believe it is necessary because the Lord commanded it. After the preaching we should have a baptism, the earlier the better.
There may be a number of new ones who are not clear about salvation and baptism, so we must follow up with them within a few weeks. Then when they are clear, we will have another baptism. There will be many things to do until we bring all these people into the church life, and the brothers and sisters can care for them as new members. Our work must be completed by their being brought into the church life; otherwise, we must care for them some more. If one of our friends is not saved in the preaching, then we have to care for him in a second meeting for preaching in the following month.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)