Do you see people make decisions for Christ and then they fall away? If so, Let God use these guidelines from His Word to help you conserve those seekers who affirm faith. But first, you must slay two popular, Evangelical sacred cows: one is named “Decision” and the other, “Personal”.
George Patterson recalls, “While planting churches in Honduras, so many dropouts following evangelism left me discouraged. We could easily get people to raise their hands to make a “decision” to accept Christ as their “personal” savior, but that was the end of it for almost all of them. An elderly missionary urged me to follow up seekers as the apostles did, so I examined how Peter and Paul did it, and it solved our problem; seekers no longer dropped out. The difference was stark, and the solution incredibly simple! On another occasion, a mission agency in Mexico claimed 5,000 conversions and eleven new churches following a series of film showings with a tribal group, and the agency used those statistics to raise funds. I joined others to follow up those thousands, and we found no one willing to gather to worship unless we showed another motion picture. They had raised their hands out of courtesy to the evangelists, and the eleven churches were merely meetings where decision-makers were handed free tapes with Bible studies. Everyone we talked to had recorded music over the Bible studies; no one had listened to the studies.”
Many evangelists report huge numbers of ‘decisions’ but church planters who try to follow up find few, if any, who were born again and serious enough to obey Jesus. Satan, the father of liars, lures some Evangelicals to exaggerate numbers to get funds, gain prestige and raise their position.
The problem is easy to solve. Simply slay those two sacred cows.
1) Instead of counting mere decisions, receive repentant converts the way the apostles did – they were added to the church by baptism (Acts 2:41).
2) Instead of assuming converts’ faith is “personal” in the sense of “private”, bring them to Christ together with their families and close friends, as the apostles did. God does not see them as isolated individuals.
When you do this, Coworkers might not find you “Evangelically Correct” and will criticize you for avoiding their superficial approach to evangelism. So be ready to duck.
The Liar aims, the arrow flies;
Its venom carries subtle lies.
The message of these fiery darts?
“Don’t ask if Christ lives in their hearts!
“Just promise grace, forget God’s rules,
Say anything to fill your pews!
Don’t mention that one must repent
And know the One that heaven sent.
“And don’t offend or bring on tears,
Just entertain those itching ears
And offer empty, fruitless faith—
The kind that even I embrace!”