Those who know I used to do weeklong evangelistic crusades have asked me the question, “Do you miss doing those?”
My answer is an emphatic, “yes!” I loved preaching the gospel night after night after night to an audience that largely consisted of non-Christians. I could show you people all over the country who were saved in those outreaches and are now growing in the Lord. Some have even gone home to be with Him.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was seeing people who did not know Christ come back again and again. Often it was then when they came back, that they actually trusted Christ, after having thought about my message from the previous night.
I loved the way a week in a church gave me more time to interact with the church leaders and interact about difficulties within the assembly. By being there each day for a week we were able to discuss at length about concerns for the local church. Since I also prefer to stay in homes rather than hotels, it gave me a chance to really get to know a family over the course of a week. Some remain my best friends to this day.
One of the ways God used these first years of evangelism doing crusades was that I could spend every morning doing nothing but studying the Scriptures and preparing messages. That gave me such a wealth of Bible knowledge and has resulted in all my books and articles for EvanTell as well as articles for national and international magazines. Billy Graham said once that if he lived his life over he would spend less time speaking and more time studying. I loved those hourse spent doing nothing but praying and studying the Scriptures.
At the same time, I recognize how the message stays the same, but the methods change.
After twenty years, it was harder to get people out during the week and even more difficult to get them to a church. When EvanTell transitioned to Operation Friendship weekends—an evangelistic outreach that revolved around a friendship dinner in a restaurant—we saw even more people being saved than the last few years I was in crusades.
Now my main outreach events, called Wild Game Feasts, are seeing an even greater number come to Christ. So, I have no regrets.
Editor's Note: The above picture shows Larry's wife, Tammy, and another lady preparing for a crusade back in 1992