Ablaze! Movement stories

So I was reading in the LCMS Reporter that the Ablaze! counter was bumped up by adding any children from the past three school years who attend Lutheran schools but are not a member of a Christian church. Which led me to go look at the Ablaze! counter.

The goal of Ablaze! is “reaching 100 million unreached and uncommitted people with the Gospel by 2017.” (Side note: for all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend on consultants, how come LCMS, Inc. produces such horribly written promotional material?) Anyway, we’ve been at this for four years — or over 30 percent of our time goal– and we’re apparently willing to count anything as a Gospel touch and yet we’re at less than 10 percent of our goal.

Anyhow, my visit to the Ablaze! page led me to check the top three personal witnessing stories that LCMS, Inc. is currently featuring. And I thought the stories were interesting. Let’s look at them.

Here’s one:

I was waiting to catch a plane at Memphis and a young man from Cuba asked me for the time. We talked a bit about this and that, although he was very hard to understand. After a white [sic], he asked me if I knew any Spanish, which I don’t. Then it dawned on me that I had a Spanish tract in my briefcase, just for such an occasion, which I gave to him. He looked at it very intently and was very excited that it was in Spanish, then he asked me if I was a priest. It was too hard to explain to him that I was just a layman, so I just said no. He read a few pages of the tract and put it in his pocket. Our conversation ended because it was time to board our plane.

Another one was about a short-term mission trip to Nicaragua where folks were asked to talk about moral living with police officers. Having a friend who just moved out of Nicaragua, I hear the police corps could use some help in this area. Anyway, here’s how our correspondent sums up his witnessing:

Each speaker related incidents in his career where the Lord was with him in dangerous situations and used Bible verses to make his point. At the conclusion, we presented the Gospel and the officers were given an opportunity to accept the Lord in their lives.

I was struck by the language used. Decision theology. The third story had an element of that as well:

In early 2006, I shared my faith with my friend Steve, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., while he was visiting for the weekned [sic]. Two weeks later, I received a phone call from Steve telling me the great news that he had trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior.

The story goes on but we never hear if Steve, the Cuban, or the Nicaraguan police officers were baptized. It’s such an odd metric we’re using for this Ablaze! campaign, isn’t it?

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