Larry Moyer discusses the value of large-attendance evangelism events.
Some people question the value of mass evangelism efforts and even wonder if they don’t do more harm than good. There are several answers to that question but the bottom line is “It depends how they’re done.”
Mass evangelism efforts that are most effective are those that are bathed in prayer, the gospel is made crystal clear, and someone begins to disciple new converts once a week for 8 weeks, one-on-one. When those things are done, I could testify to many mass evangelism efforts that have been very effective. Unfortunately though, many times they are not characterized by the above three that I just mentioned. For example, often the gospel is not presented clearly, and a person can become a Pharisee instead of a Christian. In other words, he’s gone through all kinds of emotions but hasn’t actually come to Christ, and that makes him harder to reach. Good follow-up for mass evangelism not only involves following up with those who have come to Christ but also following up with those that did not trust Christ during the event.
Mass evangelism efforts that are the most effective are based on relationships with people that have already been introduced to spiritual things and then someone says to them, “Would you come hear the speaker—I think you’ll enjoy him.” In other words, personal evangelism done right aids mass evangelism, and mass evangelism done right aids personal evangelism. I mentioned the latter because sometimes even if people don’t come to Christ, the gospel is introduced, and that allows for a one-on-one discussion later.
None of that changes the fact though that a variety of factors has to be examined. Cost can be one of them. It’s important that mass evangelism is done well and carefully thought through. Then the dollars spent are worth it, not only in terms of people coming to Christ but seed that is sown that generates discussions later.
With all that said, it continues to be realized that most people come to Christ through one to one encounters. That’s why we need to train people how to build relationships with non-Christians, turn conversations into spiritual things, and introduce people to Christ. There are even some areas where mass evangelism efforts are not allowed or possible. The more people we have trained to share Christ one to one, the more people we will see come to the Savior.
We should not throw out either mass evangelism or personal evangelism. Instead, we should seek to do both well in a way that honors both God and the teachings in Scripture. When done right, they support one another.