by Justin D. Long
Some in cars, some on horses, some on bicycles and some on foot. They start out together but end up in many places across an entire country. House by house, they cover the targeted villages systematically.
Some in cars, some on horses, some on bicycles and some on foot. They start out together but end up in many places across an entire country. House by house, they cover the targeted villages systematically. Family by family, the workers introduce the gospel and leave a small packet of literature and an invitation to church. Slowly but surely, new churches are planted, new souls are evangelized, and an indelible mark is left on the area’s spiritual climate. The country is staunchly Muslim.
Several varieties of mass campaigns exist, ranging from the large crusades of people like Graham, Bonnke, and others to the every-home campaigns of Every Home for Christ. Contrary to what you might think, it is possible to hold a campaign in a restrictive country—if discretion is the better part of valor and the whole effort is bathed in prayer.
A mass campaign in World A—the least evangelized world—is possibly one of the most strategic ways we can advance the gospel. Such campaigns can use literature, the “Jesus” film, the Bible, or any other tool readily available, or they can be as simple as an invitation to a church service (if that is practical). Whatever the means, the campaign is one of the best ways to bring the unevangelized in an area face to face with representatives of Christ and the kingdom.
With an estimated 2,500 mass campaigns per year, six are being held today while you read this. They are reaching thousands of people like clockwork, and will contribute heavily to the shrinking of World A.
If you haven’t given thought to conducting a mass campaign in your ministry area, you should. It doesn’t have to be a prominent open-air crusade: It simply has to be the strategic evangelization of a specific unreached area of the world.
During such a campaign, the area must be (1) researched; (2) segmented or mapped out; (3) evangelized; and (4) followed-up. These steps apply to any area you’d like to reach, not just to World A.
1. Research: understanding the area. This process is perhaps the most essential, and the most difficult. In some areas it is actually illegal to record anthropological information. Writing out the needs of an area is tantamount to treason, giving away a state’s weaknesses. Yet understanding an area is foundational to reaching it with the gospel. Research reveals which areas of a country need a campaign, and which have already been saturated. It will reveal new options and opportunities for surmounting barriers to a campaign. And it will identify new partners for the important follow-up.
2. Segmentation: mapping it out. The area to be evangelized must be divided into manageable chunks. It is no good assigning a province with 5 million residents to a team of five people. Segments must be achievable, and strategies for reaching each must be developed. Resources must be allocated. Problems must be addressed.
3. Evangelization: implementation. This is the process of actually reaching the area. Timelines must be established and, if possible, adhered to. Milestones ought to be set, and the campaign leaders need to meet and evaluate progress, fixing any sticking points that might arise.
4. Follow-up: a critical step. Of course, though evangelizing an area is a good goal, it is more powerful if linked to follow-up. People who hear the gospel must be invited to church or given some means to receive more information. This seems simple, yet if left out it can spell disaster. Without a mechanism for people who “receive Christ” to get additional discipleship and fellowship, they could very easily fall away from the truth they have received.
Second, plans for the next campaign must be laid. One campaign isn’t enough to finish an area. In five or 10 years the youth will need to hear the same gospel their parents are hearing today.
1. Contact other agencies who specialize in mass campaigns and ask about opportunities for partnership. One such agency is Every Home for Christ, 7899 Lexington Drive, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80920. Call (719) 260-8888; fax(719) 260-7408.
2. Begin initial research on your ministry target with an eye toward systematically evangelizing it by a specific time.
3. Evaluate the churches you work with and consider what new resources will be needed: finances, logistical support, manpower, etc. Contact agencies that can supply resources (tracts, films, etc.).
4. Devise a timetable. Then identify options and opportunities for cutting that time in half. What is needed? More logistical support? More materials? More manpower? How can you achieve these things?
5. Recognize that a mass campaign is not a cure all and in some instances is not possible. Don’t dismiss a campaign out of hand, but identify why a mass campaign is not feasible, and then start working on finding options and opportunities for getting past these barriers.
Justin Long is managing editor of The Monday Morning Reality Check, published by the Global Evangelization Movement each Monday morning. He is also associate editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia.
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