Set a goal to be a millionaire by the age of 30.
That was the advice Tulsa evangelist Daniel King read in a book about success while he was growing up.
But King, who was raised doing missions work with his parents in Mexico, instead set a different goal: to see 1 million people converted to Christianity through his ministry by age 30.
He met that goal well before his 30th birthday, and now, at age 38, has doubled that number.
His latest evangelistic effort targeted Belize, a small, English-speaking nation in Central America that has a population of under 400,000.
Two years ago, King contacted a pastor in Belize and asked him to invite fellow pastors to meet with King to discuss an outreach to the nation.
Three pastors attended that first meeting.
But King persisted, and as he traveled around the country and met with other faith leaders, the idea grew.
Inspiration for the Belize event came from Isaiah 66:8, he said: “Can a nation be saved in a day?”
By the time the Belize Festival of Hope 2017 kicked off in July, 10 evangelists were holding 10 simultaneous large outdoor festivals around the nation, assisted by 203 missionaries and more than 300 partner churches.
Total attendance on any given night was more than 50,000 people, or 12 percent of the entire population. Another 27,000 watched the meetings on Facebook, and an uncounted number watched them live on national television. Nearly 5,000 people signed registration cards that they had accepted Christ, King said. Those cards all went to local churches for follow-up.
The week of activities also included a variety of ministries at 87 sites, and distribution of 30,000 Bibles and books, 270,000 meals and $350,000 of medicine.
Sitting in a south Tulsa Starbucks recently, King said he was pleased with the results of the festival, and thought that it could become a model for future events that target entire nations.
“We had a big impact on that country,” he said.
His next festival will be in Brazil in early 2018.
King was born and raised in Tulsa by missionary parents. When he was 10, they moved to El Paso, Texas, and ministered in Juarez, Mexico, across the Rio Grande River, planting some 40 churches.
All through his teen years, he said, he worked with his parents, dressing like a clown and ministering to children who gathered around in large numbers in Mexico.
In 1998, he returned to Tulsa to attend Oral Roberts University, graduating four years later with a degree in New Testament. Between his junior and senior years, he organized his first crusade, bringing a team of ORU students to Potrerillos, Honduras. Some 40,000 people attended each night.
He later returned to ORU to complete a master’s degree, and is working on his doctorate.
King launched an international ministry right out of college. He has traveled to 69 nations and preached to millions of people.
He conducts about eight crusades a year, ranging in size from 5,000 to 50,000. He usually goes to India once, and Africa a couple of times each year. His largest festival was Ethiopia, with 55,000 people attending.
Along the way, on the border between Rwanda and the Congo in Africa, he met a Canadian missionary named Jessica. They married and are now living in Tulsa with their two children, Caleb, 7, and Katie Grace, 5.
King said he was influenced growing up by Tulsans Oral Roberts and missionary-evangelist T.L. Osborn. Both held large healing crusades, and King’s large outdoor meetings around the world reflect that influence.
Even in the digital age, face-to-face preaching is still effective, he said.
“In places like Africa and Latin America, there is a great opportunity for mass evangelism. Here in the United States, it might best take place on Facebook,” he said.
“God can use any method of evangelism.”
Having met his first goal, King said he has now set a new goal, to lead a million people to Christ every year.
“I haven’t reached it yet,” he said.
“It took 15 years to reach the first million, and eight years to reach the second million,” he said.
Or, to put it another way, “Our goal: every soul.”