Pastor Jack Hyles' Favorite Soul Winning Experiences

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)


One reason that personal soul winning is near to the heart of God is that God's heart beats so for the individual. The Psalmist reminds us in the eighth Psalm that God is mindful of every person and desires fellowship with each individual.

A number of years ago something happened that so graphically illustrates this. While I was pastoring in Texas, we helped to start sixteen branch churches. One of these was pastored by a young high school football player named Carmen Hartsfield.

One Saturday Carmen came by the church dressed in his overalls and asked if he could borrow some folding chairs for his branch church. One of our men, whose first name was Cortez, volunteered to help Carmen in the loading and unloading of the chairs.

When they arrived at the little church in the country, they unloaded the chairs and prepared for the services on the Lord's Day. Cortez, the layman, said to Carmen, the young preacher, "I feel a little backslidden today. I feel my spiritual battery needs recharging."

Carmen informed him that he had his Bible with him and that his prepared message for the next day was in his Bible. He suggested that Cortez sit down in the little chapel and that he would try out the sermon on him. Cortez did so while Carmen opened his Bible, read the Scripture, and preached the full-length sermon.

Cortez, who was a very demonstrative-type Christian started hollering "Amen" while Carmen was preaching to him. Suddenly the side door of the chapel opened and an 18-year-old lad peeped in. (How would you feel if you entered a country building on Saturday afternoon and saw a man in overalls preaching to a congregation of one while the congregation of one responded loudly with "Amen"? That's how he felt!)

The young man was a little startled but nevertheless took off his hat and had a seat in the chapel, thereby doubling the size of the congregation. Carmen kept preaching, overalls and all. Cortez kept hollering "Amen" as the fellow looked more and more confused.

After the entire message was concluded, Carmen asked the congregation (of two) to bow their heads for prayer. Then he asked, "Is there anyone here who is not saved who would like to be saved? If so, would you raise your hand."

To Carmen's utter surprise the young man raised his hand for prayer. Carmen then announced that the congregation would stand and sing "Just As I Am Without One Plea." As Cortez sang the solo, the other half of the congregation came forward, knelt at the altar, and received Christ as Saviour.

This is just another illustration of God's interest in the individual.

The young preacher is now pastoring a thriving Baptist church in the state of Maryland. It was my privilege to fellowship with him just recently.

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