Publication date: 01/31/18

Loving the Lost Enough To Really Listen

Two years ago, A suicidal contact named Howard connected with Marilyn, one of Global Media Outreach’s key Online Missionary leaders. He professed faith in Christ, but his wife had left him. He found himself deep in debt due to a failed business. And he ended up having to sell his home in Zambia. But over time, Marilyn’s patient faithfulness to share her hope helped him recover his own.

After receiving Marilyn’s discipleship, Howard’s life began to change. Not content to keep it to himself, he started a study group, which quickly grew. By December, they had 108 meeting together! Howard’s wife returned to him, he was able to build a new home, and eight newcomers have trusted Christ as Savior.

He told Marilyn “I thank God he brought you into my life to shame the devil's plans.” Howard is now taking online classes at Dallas Theological Seminary, and, as he puts it, “my prayer is to ask God to give me wisdom that will give me the desire and determination to win many souls and bring them to Christ as they see Christ in me.”

Howard’s story is pretty dramatic, but over the years, lots of our Online Missionaries have been used to:

  • Bring people back from the brink of suicide into a relationship with Jesus
  • Help their disciples win their friends or family members for Christ
  • Raise up evangelists who start up new churches in their own countries
  • Recruit their own disciples back into the ministry as Online Missionaries

Discipleship, especially done online, isn’t as easy as it sounds. When I first joined Global Media Outreach, like most of our new Online Missionaries, I had a passion for the lost, a fairly standard testimony and a reasonably good background in the Bible. I thought I should start off by just praying and explaining the gospel for them and answering their questions. Live chat conversations were a breakthrough for me in understanding our seekers when I started doing them in 2006. Visitors had all kinds of personal reasons for coming to us, and could be much further from God than I had assumed. The Lord taught me over time to interpret their frequent “health-”, “success-”, or “comfort-” oriented prayer requests for what they were: echoes of deeper needs only He could satisfy. I learned to ask better questions. And I simply put in the time, in my own walk first, then in sharing what God showed me with them. I’m fishing for men, and because people can be the most evasive, deceived and suspicious kind of quarry, I’m always looking for new ideas. My passion for the lost is now mirrored by a passion that our Online Missionaries know results like Marilyn’s are possible, and that they be coached in ways they might begin to see similar fruit. Loving lost people enough to learn how to talk to them and lead them is a good place to start. At a recent seminar, discipleship ministry Church Dynamics International shared that 83% of Christians they polled were actually converted through discipleship rather than a simple gospel presentation. So it is my calling and privilege to recruit, train, equip, and encourage people like Marilyn, so that they can make disciples like Howard who can also become soul-winners and disciple-makers. Howard is reproducing 100-fold! Your support enables me to serve in this incredibly effective, efficient ministry.

With the opportunity to serve over 2,000 volunteers (Online Missionaries) in the English language, who in turn can lovingly serve literally thousands of seekers every day, my position at GMO has never been more strategic. Think of it this way: some of you attend churches of about the size of the Franklin Graham rally in the front page’s photo. What if you could mobilize each member of a crowd like that to evangelize two people a day for a year? They’d spread the gospel to 1,460,000 listeners by the end of the year! And if they could each reach just one “Howard” a year, at the end of four years, over 6.4 million would hear the gospel.

In fiscal year 2017, our English Online Missionaries handled 1,681,773 messages from seekers, and they currently have 1.2 million active disciples. They’re only part of the picture! We have volunteers answering in literally dozens of languages as part of our strategy for reaching the world online.

As we strategize for the coming year, will you please pray:

• Each member of our English language team would be well-supported in their loving, Christ-centered follow-up by our prayers, training and guidance for them.

• Our family will be protected from illness.

• Our support will be sufficient. Your monthly donations and other gifts enable us to stay at the task of winning the lost and making disciples. We appreciate and carefully steward every gift that is received.

We are so thankful for your prayers, your friendship and your investment in our work! May God bless you!

Love, in Christ,

Mike Skinner Cindy Skinner

One Day Closer!
Romans 13:11