Counting Conversions Correctly

After an outreach in Germany (2003)
During my evangelism outings, I aim for accuracy in recording the number of people getting saved. As another evangelist I know often says, “We count people because people count.” It’s exciting (and humbling) when God uses me to lead multitudes to Him. 

One time I was with a fellow missionary at a park in Tampa, Florida where groups of people prayed with us. It was a challenge keeping a correct count of salvations because some kids followed us around and prayed again. Still I made sure I didn’t write down two salvations for each person praying twice.

It grieves me when I see ministers inflate their numbers to where their praise reports aren’t truthful. During another outreach I took part in, nine of us led 46 people to the Lord. On our way back to the church, one woman mentioned praying with 21 people five days before. Later that night, one of the other laborers posted this on Facebook: “We gained 67 new brothers and sisters in Christ tonight."

One man who filmed various Christian events with audiences in the hundreds noticed the evangelist claimed “thousands attended.” There were other events where thousands showed up but was later reported as “tens of thousands.” This practice has been jokingly called “evangelistically speaking” or "evangELASTICALLY speaking.” In reality, this is flat out lying. 

It’s bad enough when we see political leaders shading the truth to make themselves look good. Christian leaders in particular should have the most integrity. Exaggerating the number of people attending their church or going up to the altar at a revival meeting does not glorify the Lord. Keep in mind Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for lying about their giving. 

While I’m all for setting soul goals and reaching many people with the gospel, we should feel honored whether we pray with one person or a thousand. God alone gets the glory.

“… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  
- Luke 15:10

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