Each One Reach One

Scott Ridout

Converge President

Point Magazine // May 2018

Business was booming for Zach. He had spent years paying his dues and moving up the ladder, but finally — finally — he sensed he had made it to the top. His six-figure income, beautiful home and the respect of his coworkers were enough to make anyone proud.

Sure, he made some tough calls, stepped on a few toes and, honestly, even developed some enemies along the way. But that’s the price you pay to climb the ladder of success, right?

Yet weekend after weekend as he sat on his porch overlooking the picturesque view of the western hills, Zach pondered, Is this it? Why do I feel so empty?

One Monday morning as he took the usual route to his office, he noticed the highway was unusually busy. Most people would be discouraged. In Zach’s mind, this was a great thing.

You see, Zach was a tax collector. More traffic meant more people to tax, which meant more income for him. It was going to be a great business day.

As he moved along the road, people were buzzing with excitement.

“What is it?” he asked. “Why are so many people here?”

“Jesus of Nazareth is on his way to Jerusalem and he is coming through Jericho,” someone answered.

This can't be happening

Zach had looked forward to an opportunity like this for months. He had heard stories about Jesus and how different he was from so many religious leaders. He heard that Jesus healed blind beggars, touched lepers and engaged in conversations with sinners. Most religious leaders avoid these kinds of people — people like Zach — on the outside.

He even heard that one of Jesus' disciples was a tax collector and that Jesus told a story about a tax collector being more righteous than a Pharisee. Jesus was a man Zach had to see!

As Jesus approached, Zach tried to work his way through the crowd to get to a place where he could see Jesus. Unable to do so, he climbed a tree to get a glimpse of this unusual rabbi (and this was no easy feat, because robes and climbing do not mix).

He heard stories about Jesus and how different he was from so many religious leaders. He heard that Jesus healed blind beggars, touched lepers and engaged in conversations with sinners. Most religious leaders avoid these kinds of people on the outside.


Suddenly, there he was. Zach had scaled the tree and sat on a limb just in time to see Jesus and his entourage pass by. But Jesus stopped and turned his gaze toward the tree where Zach was perched.

How embarrassing, Zach thought. Me, a grown man, up in a tree. How undignified he must think I am.

Before Zach could get the thought out of his head, he heard a voice. “Zacchaeus, come down. I must stay at your house today.”

It was Jesus.

Zach would later describe that moment as almost an “out-of-body experience.” He couldn’t believe Jesus was talking to him, much less inviting himself to dine at Zach’s house...with Zach. This can’t be happening, he thought.

It took a moment for Zach to gain enough clarity to gather a response. Shuffling ever so gingerly, he slid down the tree, brushed himself off and escorted Jesus and his crew back to his house. The moment was surreal as they made their way through the streets and Zach welcomed Jesus and his disciples into his home.

From guilt and condemnation to joy and salvation

As dinner was served, Zach felt overwhelmed with both the honor of hosting Jesus in his beautiful home and the sense of guilt he had for how he acquired his wealth. Can we just admit that there were very few rules for tax collection in Jericho?

Piled on to his sense of guilt were the comments Zach overheard as he escorted Jesus to his home: “Why would Jesus go to his house?" "Doesn’t Jesus know who that man is?" "Jesus is going to the house of a sinner?” Embarrassed. Ridiculed. Judged.

Zach could not get people's words out of his mind. And yet here was Jesus eating in his home, treating him as if he was valuable...honorable...loved.

At this moment Zach felt an overwhelming sense of conviction and joy. He couldn’t contain himself as he blurted out, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

This response startled everyone almost as much as it startled Zach. What was that? he thought. Something happened inside him — an unescapable need to be honest with Jesus reached to the depths of his soul. Yet Zach felt great. He felt relieved and alive!

Something changed in that moment. His newfound desire to make things right with God and people was both immense and authentic.

Jesus broke the room's deafening silence with words that Zach never thought he would hear: “Salvation has come to this house.”

"Something changes in us"

All of us who have come to Christ have had the “Zacchaeus” moment. We have recognized our sinfulness and complete inability to measure up, mixed with the exhilaration of being loved, redeemed, forgiven, accepted and invited into the family of God. Recognizing that power of God’s grace through the gospel is the greatest moment we have in this life.

The only thing that comes close to that moment is when God gives us the gift of leading someone to Christ.

Something changes in us when we lead a person to Christ. Being evangelistically active moves us out of the comfort zone of Christian fellowship and into the community we are called to reach.


One reason sharing my faith is so energizing is I realize I am walking in the character and priorities of my Savior who came, as he states in the Zacchaeus story, to “seek and save that which was lost.”

One of my greatest desires and most consistent prayers in this season of my life is that God will grace every person in every Converge church with the privilege of leading someone to Christ. That is the heart of Each One Reach One.

Something changes in us when we lead a person to Christ. Being evangelistically active moves us out of the comfort zone of Christian fellowship and into the community we are called to reach.

The experience forces us to become others-centered, generous, forgiving, patient, persevering, prayerful, humble and dependent. It opens our eyes to the power of God in the lives of our neighbors, coworkers, relatives, friends and classmates. It helps us see people as valuable and our communities as a mission field.

Evangelistic fervor keeps the church “on mission.” Best of all, we get the privilege of seeing God work to transform individuals’ eternities — moving from darkness to light, from death to life, to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

So here is the question: Will you join me?

Will you join me in trusting God to use you to help somebody — anybody — grasp the love of God through what Christ has done on the cross? Are you willing to believe that God has perfectly positioned you to reach someone with the gospel? Will you build relationships with those outside the faith and plant the seed of Christ in those new friendships, praying God would work in their lives and they would acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord?

May God open our eyes to the daily opportunities to engage those who are far from church but near to the heart of God. May he give us the patience to invest in relationship in order to build a context for us to share the love of Christ. May he grace us with the privilege of seeing people in our lives — neighbors, coworkers, relatives, friends and classmates — meet, know and follow Jesus.

Scott Ridout, Converge President

Scott Ridout is the president of Converge. A graduate of Virginia Tech and Columbia International University, he and his wife Lisa led Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert, Arizona, from 1998 to 2014. Sun Valley has grown from 375 to roughly 5000 attendees on three campuses under his leadership. Previously, Scott served six years as a Converge overseer, including two years as chairman. He is also a church leadership mentor and will continue his coaching during his presidency.

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