‘Love and compassion’ keys to winning people for Christ

By the time Dennis Watson was a teenager he’d decided he knew better than his parents. And by the time he was 18 he was dealing drugs. 

“Somehow my mama found out what was happening with me,” Watson said. 

She confronted him on a Sunday afternoon, shared with him how important Jesus was to her, then got him to go church with her.

“Then she went down and asked the whole church to pray for me,” he said.

Watson didn’t change that day, but almost a year to the day later some friends convinced him to go with them to an Andraé Crouch concert.

“He sang ‘Jesus is the Answer,’ and I realized I had a void and vacuum in my life that no person could fill,” Watson said.

Jesus found him at the moment when he was hurting and transformed him, he told the crowd gathered at the Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham, on Feb. 26.

That’s where we should look for people too, he said — at their point of need.

“The primary focus of Jesus’ ministry was those who were hurting and those who were needy because that’s when people are more open to the message of Jesus,” said Watson, pastor of Celebration Church, New Orleans.

“People are more open than we think they are,” Watson said. “There are so many people out there just waiting for an invitation.”

But people aren’t focusing on evangelism, he said — it takes 59 Baptists to win one person to Jesus.

When Christians show Jesus’ genuine love to the hurting, “we will see the changing power of Jesus at work and we’ll see people flooding into our churches because they can’t resist that kind of love and compassion,” he said. (Grace Thornton)