Throughout the years, we have traveled to some of the most unreached parts of the world sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard it. While many have supported us throughout the years, there are those who have been skeptical that crusade evangelism is effective. “What happens to those who have been saved, do you just leave them to fend for themselves?” “If you are only in a country for a week, how do you think you can make a long-term impact?” “Crusade evangelism does not work because it does not produce true disciples of Jesus Christ.”
We have heard these types of questions and criticisms and many more throughout the years. I believe that many of these people mean well; they are genuinely concerned with the long-lasting effects of ministry. I know that crusade evangelism has been done incorrectly by other organizations in the past, but this is why we work diligently to make sure that there is sustainable impact long after we leave.
The Great Commission in Matthew 28 is clear that we are not just to make decisions but we are to make disciples who publicly demonstrate their faith in Christ through water baptism. It is for this reason that every crusade is done in conjunction with a Pastor’s Conference to train the local pastors and church leaders to disciple the new converts long after we are gone. They train them in the faith and baptize them. This allows the local pastors to do the job that Christ has uniquely equipped them to do. We work with our crusade directors for one year after the crusade to ensure that effective discipleship is happening.
One of the ways we measure this is by counting the number of converts at our crusade who are baptized within the first year of conversion. In most of the countries we minister, water baptism is a serious decision that may result in the loss of a job, denouncement from family, imprisonment or even death. Thus, this is a serious step of faith for a new convert because it demonstrates the seriousness of his decision to follow Christ.
In fact, it is for this reason, that we rejoice not only in the many people who are saved at our crusades but also the many people who are baptized. For example, at our crusade in southeast Asia in September, we ministered in a city that had never before had a crusade. The vast majority of the people there had never even heard the name of Jesus, but in just a few days, 8,400 people accepted Jesus into their hearts! As wonderful as that is, what is equally amazing is that in the 9 months since then, 768 people have been baptized by the local pastors who attended our Pastor’s Conference!
This is just one of many examples of the impact that our crusades have had, not just for a week, but for months afterwards. Baptisms, though, are not the only way to measure the long-term success of a crusade. Our crusade director in southeast Asia had this to say 9 months after that same crusade: “The city is seeing a great revival after our campaign. The tribal people are impacted most, like never before. All leaders are enthusiastic about the crusade!” What God is able to accomplish in one week is spectacular, but it is never the final result. The long-term impact of our crusades is seen in a report like this where the leaders are united and the Gospel is spreading!
There is yet another way to measure the impact of a crusade: church planting. When thousands of people get saved in a few days, the churches in that community grow exponentially, but oftentimes new churches must be started as well in order to facilitate all of the new converts. I recently spoke to our crusade directors in central Africa and they shared some wonderful news with me. In 2006 we did a crusade in Cyangugu, Rwanda (pictured above) a place so remote we had to take a helicopter there. It was an amazing crusade, so amazing, in fact, that in addition to the existing churches that grew from the influx of new converts, 34 brand new churches were started as a result of our crusade! As wonderful as that is, what they said next was even greater: “We are happy to report that over ten years later, all of those churches are still in existence today!” That is the long-term impact of crusade evangelism!
Jesus was a crusade evangelist. Paul was a crusade evangelist. Peter was a crusade evangelist. This is a proven, biblical model of success and we too have seen this success time and again. Thank you for your continued support in helping us to see long-term impact in the nations of the world!
For the King,