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Just As We Were

Is mass evangelism dead?
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Every other month, CT will ask editors on our masthead, along with selected evangelical leaders, about current events within our movement and the broader culture—and then publish the best of their comments.

Q. Are city-wide crusades a thing of the past?

62% No

  • Luis Palau's organization reports that last March, approximately 400,000 people attended his festival in Monterrey, Mexico. Also in March, 140,000 people attended the two-day festival in Tampa Bay. It appears that some people are still interested in this method of learning about the gospel.
  • You wouldn't be asking this question if you were focusing on the two-thirds world, where mass evangelism is still huge.
  • In a world that is more celebrity-conscious and less serious by the day, the ambiguous opportunity presented by fame will continue to draw crowds for better and for worse.
  • There will always be the need and opportunity for large public events in which the Good News is proclaimed.

38% Yes

  • In North America, the answer may be yes. In the majority world, it appears that large-scale evangelism is still finding a place. In youth culture worldwide, the typical "evangelistic crusade" may now be in the process of being replaced by concerts and other forms of gatherings that have an evangelistic byproduct.
  • Billy Graham appears to be the last of a noble but dying breed.
  • While millions of "decisions" may have been registered, any strategy that has a 1 percent success rate has to be deemed a failure.

Q. Are large-scale evangelical efforts being adequately replaced with other forms of evangelism?

61% Yes

  • As Christians, we must find ways of gathering crowds that are distinctively Christian. There are several positive elements in the gathering of crowds, including the fact that they will attract some people who would not be attracted by the day-to-day life of the church. But the whole style and content of the programs should be reconsidered.
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