A Passion for Evangelism
By Bob Paulson
On a hot July evening in 1973, a friend invited Mark Anderson to an event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minn. When they arrived, Mark discovered that it was a Billy Graham Crusade. As he listened to his message, he was struck by the thought that Billy Graham sounded as if he really knew Jesus. Mark remembered that his great-grandfather had been a Methodist circuit rider and church planter, but that heritage had not continued through the succeeding generations.
At the invitation, Mark felt a pull to join those going forward, but he hesitated. Then Mr. Graham said, “This is the final call. If you are coming to give your heart to Jesus tonight, you must step out right now and make your way down front.” And almost before Mark realized it, he had joined the flood of people streaming down the aisles. That night, his life was changed forever.
Immediately, he felt a deep passion for the lost. He told everyone he met about Jesus and how his life had been changed. That first year, he led 32 family members to the Lord. He and his soon-to-be wife, Karen, started by making lists of all the people they knew.
“We prayed over them every day by name,” Mark says. “We asked the Lord to grant us opportunities and strategies, and to open up their hearts, which He did.”
Why such passion for telling people the Good News of Christ?
“We understood that Christianity is defined by obeying the Word of God,” Mark says. “The idea that one could actually be a Christian but not obey the Great Commission was unthinkable. We would never count ourselves Christians if we didn’t share our faith with people.”
Adapted from “A Passion for Evangelism,” by Bob Paulson, Decision magazine, July–August, 2018.