Soul-Winner Howard Ramsey

January 23, 2013

PastorDanNelsonby Dan Nelson

For 28 years, Dan Nelson has served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Camarillo, Calif. Pastor Nelson will submit a series of posts to SBCToday about people who influenced him for the sake of evangelism.

Howard Ramsey was my mentor in Portland, Ore., in the Northwest Baptist Convention. For two years I was his associate in the Evangelism Division there. My primary job was to assist him, but to also work with Youth Evangelism in training youth groups to witness. I supervised college students who came out to the Northwest and served on what we called Evangelism teams. They would go into churches and conduct revival meetings. I was also out preaching about every weekend somewhere in the Northwest.

Howard later went to the then Home Mission Board in Atlanta, Ga., where he developed the Continued Witness Training system for Southern Baptist. He was also the Director of Personal Witness Training for about a decade.

I used to go visiting for our church with Howard when we were in town together. We traveled places together, and without fail I always saw him try to go as far as he could with people in sharing he gospel with them. Whether in the home or on a plane or a bus, he would start talking with people, finding out where they were from and what they did.

Howard would then ask if they went to church anywhere. He would then share a short concise testimony of how he had trusted Christ as Savior. Then he would usually ask had they ever trusted Christ as Savior or the CWT question: “If you were to stand before the Lord and He were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven, what would you say?’” This immediately identified whether the person was saved or not. Then if they were not he would ask if the could share with them how they could trust Christ as Savior. Howard led people to Christ everywhere because he was consistent in doing this wherever he went. He sowed the seed of the gospel everywhere and saw people trust Christ everywhere.

Equally, Howard had a passion to train others who would train others to do the same thing. I remember him talking about going with pastors and church members who saw him share the Lord and learn from him the way I did. Even if he shared the gospel with someone, he would let the learner lead that person to Christ sometimes. Toward the end of the Lay Evangelism school he would observe as the other person sought to take what they learned from him and lead the other person to Christ.

Howard has been faithful all his years, even in retirement, of continuing to do the same thing over and over again. He is one of the most effective personal witnesses I have ever known. In 1996 he conducted a series of meetings in our church. We went to a print shop where we led a man to Christ. His legacy is rich and his reward will be great in heaven because of his passion for souls. We all must go and do likewise.

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Ron F. Hale

Howard was a faithful witness! He came to Kansa City to do some training and before leaving the airport he had led someone to Christ. What a wonderful man to be around and learn from.


A great testimony of a great man! “Soul-winning” has all but disappeared in Southern Baptist life. Personal testimonies, feet on the street, passion for souls, sinner’s prayer, accepting Jesus into your heart, saved folks actively leading lost folks to Christ, itinerant evangelists … terms and practices that have entered the museum of rare and endangered species. A sad turn of events, but I guess 21st century Baptists have gotten over those things in the pursuit of new and improved ways of doing church. “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Ps 142:4).

Praise God for Brother Howard and others who still carry the torch of personal evangelism.

Steve Foster

Dr. Ramsey is a member of the church I pastor and he is jsut as faithful and effective as ever. He is always sharing Christ with people.

David Mills

One of the best statements I have ever heard on evangelism came from him. He said, “In analyzing my ministry and listening to other pastors, who consistently witness to lost people, I have found the number of people who come to Jesus is in direct proportion to the number of people we tell about Jesus.”

Dan Nelson

The number of Howard Ramsey witnessing experiences are immeasurable. He personifies what it means to lead people to Christ.

Howard does boil it down to where we live. If we want to see more people coming to Christ in our churches we will have more people sowing the seed of the gospel. Even in hard areas there will be a breakthrough if we keep doing it. He told me that once. The problem is we give up too easy when we need to keep looking for opportunities and go through the open doors as we visit, witness and share Christ on a regular basis.

Thanks for all your comments about Howard. I knew we would have a lot of comments on his example and influence. Lets all go and do likewise.
Dan Nelson
Daniel 12:3

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