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Dr. Russell Anderson and myself at Dr. Hyles’ burial spot

It is as if it were yesterday that I and my family sat under Dr. Hyles’ preaching.  The spirit of that auditorium was unlike any we had ever known.  The Holy Spirit certainly had liberty. 

Great truths were preached and taught week after week without failure. Church aisles and church altar were packed every service.  Only God could have accomplished such a great thing!

One of those sermons is the one he entitled “The I Canner’s”  It is not a word, but it is a great truth.  His mother would say to him as a lad, “I can makes a great man!” Little Jackie boy Hyles would repeat it over and over again back to his mother.  
It became second nature to him.  

Oh, the power of the tongue and life of a mother cannot be and must not be underrated.  It affected his life and in turn affected my life, my family, and my ministry.

I was apart of the first four year class of Hyles-Anderson College and graduated in 1976 Summa Cum Laude, which means “some come loud.” At the altar of FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH on our last Sunday I asked God to help me, not only win souls, but specifically walk the aisle with a convert for baptism myself each Sunday. I begged God to help me do so!  

This was a decision I made.  It is a personal decision every man of God has to make for himself.  You hold in your hand the steering wheel of that local church for whom you will answer to God.  In stead of becoming upset with someone like me who would DARE challenge you to do more, why not accept the challenge?


I was an accountant before going to Bible College and worked at the Fisher Body Division of General Motors.  I have always been a statistical kind of a guy.  

I took stock of my personal soul winning and soon discovered that if I gave 15 soul winning presentations in a 7 day period, and had 5 lined up to come with me on Sunday I discovered that I would on an average be picking up 2 for church.   Then, I discovered on an average that 1 of the 2 would follow the LORD in baptism. That is 52 additions in one year.  If half of them stuck that is 26 additions with just God using me!

Also, I would list their names, addresses, & phone numbers in the back of my New Testament.  This is what I called “Loading the wagon.”  If they did not come the first week I could keep going back as long as they allowed me.  Doing this gave me dozens of prospects for each week.

That way I would not be frustrated with the dear people whom I pastored.  If I were to become upset with any one I decided it would be me!  I would look in the mirror and chew myself out for a low Sunday.  The buck truly stopped here with me!

I also recognized that doors do not get saved (That’s deep) and that hours do not get saved (Another deep thought).  However, I realized that in order to talk to 15 folks about salvation from “A” to “Z” it would take about one hour per soul winning presentation.  So I backed into the 15 hours of scheduled time to go soul winning through out the week and NOT JUST on Saturday!

I know it was a lofty height and goal to shoot for.  I can’t explain why and what brought me to that goal for I can only tell you it was my goal.  I ate, slept, and drank this goal!  It was on  my mind every moment of the day.  I am here to tell you IT CAN BE DONE!  Hold it, that was my decision and not yours, but I know it can be done!

When a pastor says “I can’t” then that becomes the norm or the rule and “I can” becomes the exception.  It is time to take the challenge if we are to turn this thing around.  Make “I can” the rule and not the exception.  Make “I can’t” the exception.

Since when does a football team in the NFL go to summer camp and say among themselves “What’s the use?”   We can’t win the Super Bowl!  NO!  All of them go to summer camp and say, “This is the year.”  Why can’t we as Baptist pastors say to ourselves, “By cracky I’m going to do it!”

We meet with the same 100 people week in and week out wondering what can we do to cause them to become motivated?  I can help you.  How about leading by EXAMPLE and not as much EXHORTATION.  If you will set a goal of stirring the baptismal pool every week they will join up and help you.  They love you!  They want to please God!  You, my dear pastor, are the one to lead them in soul winning not PUSH them into soul winning.  TRY IT YOU’LL LIKE IT!

Look, I understand…one out of a hundred will take this challenge, but if the rest of you hit pay dirt once a month, my goodness can you see the potential of souls saved and baptisms up.  Don’t throw water on this? Give it a try? I understand if you want to say this is ridiculous and impossible, but at least try it!

If I have ruffled your feathers I didn’t mean too.  I take that back! Some of you need to have your feathers ruffled.  You pastors need someone to preach to you too!  You need preaching just like your people do!  

I cannot set your goals, but I can challenge you!

  • “Failure means I dared try” Jack Hyles
  • “To reach a port, we must sail – Sail, not tie an anchor – Sail, not drift.”  Franklin Roosevelt
  • “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”  Yogi Berra
  • “Aim at the sun and you will not reach it; but your arrow will fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.”  Author Unknown
  • “In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”  Author Unknown
  • “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark.”  David Ogilvy
  • “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”  Henry David Thoreau
  • “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”  Author Unknown
  • “People are not lazy.  They simply have impotent goals.” Author unknown
  • “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.”  God
  • “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” God
  • “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”  God


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