It’s very late and I’m very tired, but I wanted to post a few brief thoughts about the first night of The Festival of Hope. Seeing thousands of people coming together under the name of Christ is always good. The choir and orchestra were great, and Michael W. Smith still has it! Franklin Graham gave his message, repeating a few simple themes – you are a sinner (we all are… Franklin Graham included), God loves you, and He wants to forgive you. He gave the invitation, and the field was flooded with counselors and those coming forward. He led them in the sinners’ prayer, told them they needed to be connected immediately with a local congregation, gave them a small book and then directed those who came forward to counselors to talk and pray.
We could engage in a significant discussion about this form of evangelism, but I don’t want to do that here. I just want to say that I found myself praying earnestly for those who were out on the field as well as those in the stands. Despite Franklin Graham’s urgings to get involved in a church and read, I fear that there are many who could walk away not understanding that this is a starting point in a relationship. I kept thinking about the parable of the seed that falls on different soils. I worry that there is a tendency to celebrate the numbers of decisions and forget that “making disciples” goes so much further. This is the job of the church and of all Christians. Franklin Graham may have planted a seed tonight, but it is our job as the Church to water and pull weeds so God’s Word takes root.
Please pray with me for the day after tomorrow – the day when the Festival of Hope is over and life returns to normal for the thousands that made decisions. Pray that God will grow these seeds, and rise up His Church to support these new believers.