The recurring debate over mass evangelism always raises questions about financial policies, emotionalism, sensationalism, follow-up procedures, public invitations, and other techniques. Though important, these tactical concerns are far less significant than the basic strategic issue: Does mass evangelism have a legitimate and an effective place in the overall evangelistic strategy of the Church?

Any church or pastor contemplating the support of an evangelistic campaign must face this problem. “Will this pay off?” is one approach. “Does God will it?” is quite another. Surely we must grant that in the work of God’s kingdom not success but obedience is the only valid criterion for action.

Yet the pastor faces a quandary. “I cannot do everything demanded of me. Shall I do this particular thing? Shall I do it now? What spiritual dividends can I rightfully expect from the invested time, money, and effort? Would God’s cause benefit more if we applied our energies at this time in some other direction?”

Like the pastor, the evangelist has his questions also. “Is this work the will of the Lord for me? Or could I more effectively devote myself to some other task?” Such probing involves frequent, agonizing re-appraisal.

What, in truth, are the values of mass evangelism? Actually, an evangelistic crusade helps a church both directly and indirectly. First of all the stir and impact made by the collective effort of Christian churches can break through the spiritual indifference of a community. Reports of great crowds, talk of spiritual things, widespread publicity, the news value of a religious event in the mass media, the power of united prayer, and the hovering of the Spirit of God—all these factors cut a deep swath into apathy. A God-conscious ...

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