I recognize that my tour-of-duty in Vietnam makes me nervous about “numbers,” “decisions,” also known as “body counts.”
“Fourteen saved, three assurances, and five dedications” is a common refrain amongst evangelicals. Certainly these numbers may provide a glimpse of what is happening; but too often they become an indicator of “success” in ministry.
Thus this is food for careful thought:
“There are evangelicals who are so earnest in calling for decisions for Jesus that they seem to forget to tell people why they should decide for Jesus. I remember listening to a speaker at an evangelistic meeting whose only mention of the death of Jesus was a passing reference in his closing prayer. I was acting as an advisor to follow up on the after-meeting counseling. I spoke to a young couple who had heard the talk, gone out to the front, been ‘counseled’ and then brought to me. They obviously had not heard any gospel in either the address or the counseling. They had no idea about being justified by faith in the doing and dying of Christ. It seems the decision can become everything. People are exhorted to turn to Christ, to receive Christ, to ask Jesus into their hearts, and the like, even when they have been given no substantial idea at all of who Jesus was and what He has done to save us.”
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, 173-74