This edition from Simon and Schuster has been totally revised with expanded teachings and a study guide. Available in stores and online now!

Connect with Clare and others
about the book

Read what these people are saying about The 10 Second Rule
Click Here to Read Their Endorsements

  • Bill Hybels
  • Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Chip Ingram
  • Ed Dobson
  • Dick DeVos
  • Betty Huizenga
  • John Ortberg
  • Joe Stowell
  • David Green
  • Jim Samra
  • John Guest
  • Bob Buford
  • And More...
Free Resources (more)

4079 Park East Court, Suite 102
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
P. 616-942-0041

The 10 Second Rule™ is a registered trademark.
Comments & Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions

“On Our Mission Trip, 132 People Got Saved!” (And Other Preposterous Evangelistic Claims)
Posted by Clare
Send This Post to a Friend Send This Post to a Friend


Not a week passes, that I don’t hear reports on Christian radio, in church, or in a ministry newsletter about how many people “got saved” or “gave their lives to Christ” at some evangelistic meeting somewhere.

At best, those claims are made because that’s just the way we speak in the evangelical world. At worst it’s a falsehood. Personally, I believe it’s the former. Church and missions groups have used this language so long that they don’t even think about what a preposterous and presumptuous claim they’re making.

Every single person who came forward, or signed a card, or raised their hand in response to the gospel being preached, was actually, truly, born again? Really?

Years ago, I was the president of the John Guest Evangelistic Team. John was a rock solid, gifted evangelist and for five years, our team of 12 staff and I, helped cities organize large evangelistic meetings. (Think Billy Graham crusades, but smaller.)

Early on John, our board and I decided we were going to use different language to describe those who responded to John’s alter calls. So, we said something like this in our reports: “At last week’s meeting in Orlando, 2,116 people came forward in response to John’s message.”

“Coming forward” lacks the punch of “gave their lives to Christ,” but it’s the only thing we could honestly say. It was our experience people came forward for all kinds of reasons. Some were unemployed or sick and they wanted God to fix that. Others were Christians re-dedicating themselves to God. Still others wanted to take the next step in becoming a Christian or they simply wanted to know more about Jesus. And some may have actually come to faith, that night! But the truth is, we couldn’t honestly say which was which. Perhaps all of them came to faith, or none of them did. Even those who come forward, couldn’t honestly say! So, we decided the only theologically honest thing to say was they responded to John’s message and we left the rest in God’s hands.

What can you do?
If you agree with my observations, please share them with others. Share this blog with your mission’s pastor and urge him/her to use more intellectually, and spiritually honest language and ask that the missions agencies they work with do the same. But prepare for resistance!

There’s a lot more sizzle in saying “x number of people gave their lives to Christ,” than the language I’ve suggested. But, it’s misleading, and wrong and Christians should never consciously do either. That’s the kind of hypocrisy that drives non-Christians or young Christians crazy – and it should.

How following Jesus works in real life.

If you found this blog and are not a regular subscriber,
you can take care of that right HERE.

Send This Post to a Friend Send This Post to a Friend
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Would You Like to Subscribe to this Blog
Comments (2)
  1. bill said...

    And including people who come forward for prayer seems to inflate the numbers for an evangelistic meeting. One has to wonder if numbers should be used at all. Most often, I think one personal story of a life changes would mean more. I know of a person who came to church for a Christmas program, and has since resumed attending Church. To me, that one personal, real life change means more than 600 people “turned in cards”.

Leave a Reply to Clare Click here to cancel reply.
To leave a comment on this post, please fill out the form below.

Hey, let's talk about a few ground rules so this will be a great experience for all of us.

1. I reserve the right to delete or not post comments that in my opinion are not God-honoring, critical of any person, or off topic. If in doubt, please read My Comments and Privacy Policy.

2. I require an email address with every comment, or post for accountability, but it won't be displayed with your post.

3. I'll never sell or share any user’s email address or personal information collected from comments, posts, subscriptions or gathered from purchases from our store.

4. Please do your best to keep comments or postings brief, or they may not be posted.