Evangelist Michael Youssef is issuing a wakeup call to the church as he tries to bring one million people to Christ by 2025. At an evangelistic event in Macon, Ga., earlier this year, 195 people responded to the invitation to follow Jesus, including some lifelong church attendees, he said.
“A 71-year-old elder in his church came forward and he said, ‘I never knew that I needed to be born again,'” Youssef said. “A 64-year-old deacon in her church came forward and said the same thing after I explained why nobody is going to see the kingdom of God without being born again. They said, ‘We’ve been going to church all our lives and never knew this.’ Stories like abound in many ways.”
It’s this kind of pervasive “inoculation” to the gospel, coupled with the growing number of young people leaving the church, that has compelled Youssef to hold evangelistic events as an initiative of his ministry Leading the Way. The ministry now broadcasts Christ’s message of hope to people on six continents and in 28 languages.
“It’s inoculation to the gospel,” he said. “I read a recent statistic that said 60 percent of churchgoers believe more ways to God than just Jesus. Now, I read the statistics, I have a Ph.D. in the subject, and I’ve done statistics and research in the sociology department. So I’m very familiar with it theoretically, but now I’m experiencing it firsthand, where people literally have been in church and they come to these events thinking that they’re going to bring their unsaved friends, but they themselves come to Christ because they realize that they are into ‘churchianity,’ but not the Christian faith.”
Youssef and his ministry partner with local churches to hold evangelistic events. Drawing from a training program designed by Rod Barnett, who has extensive experience with the Billy Graham organization, Youssef ensures that every individual who comes forward is paired with a counselor. The objective, he said, is to ensure that those new to the faith are incorporated into local church communities. In Georgia, 90 percent of those who embraced the gospel are now active in churches.
“It was amazing; 400 churches that had never talked to each other, blacks and white, became united in this effort,” he said. “They did not know each other before the event and after the event, they were walking around the colosseum holding hands and praying. When God’s Holy Spirit transforms a life, we see so many other benefits that come out of it.”
Over the next several months, Youssef will be holding similar events in Ireland, the northeastern United Sates. and Cairo and Assuit, Egypt.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice