“We keep counting what we call ‘decisions for Christ’ in our churches,” said David Fitch in a recent article on ChristianityToday.com. “Yet we know most of these decisions don’t mean anything. Statistics continue to show that only a small percentage of our recorded ‘decisions’ are made by people who will still be following Jesus a year later.”
While Fitch is a splendid writer, and his article contained some good information on the church in North America today, I have to take issue with that particular statement that derided Christians for counting decisions.
Granted, there are bound to be decisions made that are superficial, but is that a call to make no decision? If we accept his premise that the decisions were not of value because they are not followed up on, this does not mean we ought to stop making decisions. Instead, it seems to be a call for us to follow up better on our decisions.
But don’t just take my word for it. What does the Bible say on this matter? In Acts 2, Luke tells in powerful detail of the Day of Pentecost. When Peter preached, many decisions for Christ were made.
“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.” (Acts 2:41)
The gospels, in more places than one, speak to numbers. Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus healed the 10 with leprosy. The Bible even tells us how many fish Peter and the disciples caught (153 by the way) before having breakfast with our risen Savior.
There is no shame in counting ministry impact, so long as we do it to glorify God, not man. One caution would be to count decisions for the right motives. God had to correct David, recall, for initiating a census. Keeping that in mind, surely one way to measure our ministry effectiveness is to count the number of people who profess to have their lives changed by Christ.
As Oklahoma Baptists, we knew this all along. At the time of this writing, 6,595 decisions were made for the Lord at Falls Creek for the summer of 2012. Of these decisions, 2,469 of them were professions of faith and 1,277 of them were a call to the ministry. Year after year, Falls Creek records as many decisions for Christ as any other large ministry because we serve a Mighty God.
Life, like ministry, boils down to making decisions in the end. Whom shall I marry? Where should I live? Today, where will I spend my time? Our decisions lead to our actions. Actions lead to habits, and those habits make up our character. In short, decisions matter.
Think also of the one sheep that strayed from the fold. The good shepherd left the 99 other sheep to find the one and bring it home. Likewise, when just one sinner repents, Jesus assures us there is rejoicing in Heaven.
So whether it is through Falls Creek or your church, go ahead and celebrate those decisions for Christ. Then help the person live up to that decision through the discipleship process.