I rarely get excited when I hear about large scale evangelistic events in Thailand (or anywhere else, for that matter).
I don’t fault the motivation of anyone involved but for all the time and money put into these colossal under-takings, especially at a national level in a big arena, the results seem meager. What results am I talking about? The goal, directly or indirectly, of these events is to get a lot of people to become Christians through praying a prayer or going forward in response to an altar call. Even when events have impressive results, such as the 2009 “My Hope Thailand” campaign which produced 12,000 decisions, most of these decisions rarely translate into committed Christian disciples.
But regardless of what I or others say, it is unlikely that altar call evangelism will be given up anytime soon. It just looks too good on the surface to abandon entirely. Even if most new converts fall away, many advocates for such events are fully persuaded by the justification that “even if one person comes to Christ, it was all worth it.” Is it? For the time and money expended, maybe different activities would be even more worth it? Just a thought.
With that preamble out of the way, I want to get to the main point of this post. Even if large scale evangelistic events have dubious value in terms of directly producing new Christian disciples, they do have two other distinct benefits that I believe gives them real value and justifies their continuation.