The Evangelists Appeal for a Decision


Billy Graham: “The Evangelists Appeal for a Decision”
Billy Graham gave a message to a group of evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983. Here are some of the key points:
• Joel 3:13–14 “thousands are waiting in the valley of decision.”
• An evangelist’s message must include an appeal for a decision, a decision for Christ.
• The evangelist must prepare himself or herself by ensuring that they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and by bathing the message in prayer.
• This decision should be made public. Matthew 10:32 “everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” A public declaration gives people a memory that will help bring to mind the vows they make.
• The decision could be acknowledged in numerous ways, e.g. a handshake; nodding of the head; signing of a card; raising of the hand; coming forward; coming to a side room; getting alone on your knees and inviting Jesus into your heart, and then going out publicly and declaring your faith; bowing heads for a few moments of silence, making the commitment in your heart, and then making it as public as you can.
• Ask questions throughout the message, e.g. have you ever really trusted Christ? If you died right now do you know if you’d go to heaven? State the facts that the gospel demands a decision; that you cannot remain neutral in front of Christ; that by letting Christ come into your heart and cleansing your sin it will give you a new purpose in life.
• The gospel demands a decision involving intellect, emotion and primarily the will. This decision is the most important one of people’s lives and the consequences are eternal.
• The evangelist must explain that people were sinners; what Jesus did on the cross and the fact of His resurrection; the fact that man needs to repent and have faith; and last but not least that they must have willingness to take up the cross and die to self (so paying the cost of discipleship).
• Explain the steps you want them to take: make a simple appeal to accept Christ (no begging, no coercion, no tricks); give a brief explanation of what you’re asking them to do; ideally get them to talk to a trained counselor; lead them in an audible prayer of commitment; explain what has happened and how they can grow spiritually.