Michael Youssef says evangelistic event in Egypt saw thousands of conversions, discusses End Times

Leading the Way
Leading the Way

Despite severe restrictions surrounding Christianity and ongoing unrest in the Middle East, an evangelistic event in Cairo, Egypt, led by Michael Youssef saw an unexpected attendance of over 17,000 people — evidence, he said, that amid the darkness, the Gospel shines brightest.

In an interview with The Christian Post,  the 75-year-old pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, revealed that the November event saw an unexpected attendance of 17,715 people, far exceeding the initial expectation of 6,000. Of those, more than 7,850 put their faith in Christ.

The event's scale was unprecedented, considering the legal restrictions on evangelistic outreach in Egypt.

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“We saw really what God has done,” Youssef, who also serves as executive president of Leading the Way, said.

“It was so massive in terms of a Christian gathering, that nobody can take credit. They did not come to hear me; they did not come because of this or that. They came because there was a hunger … there were masses of people at midnight who did not want to leave; they just stayed, singing and praying. There is such a presence of the Holy Spirit as we have never experienced before. We know this is a God thing; it was the Holy Spirit who did the work.”

For the event, Youssef partners with local churches to ensure those who embrace Christianity are discipled and connected to other believers. ​​The objective, he said, is to ensure that those new to the faith are incorporated into local church communities. 

Following the evangelistic event, some local churches “doubled” in attendance, Youssef said, a trend he hopes to continue seeing at his upcoming evangelistic events worldwide.

He emphasized the unchanging nature of the Gospel message, regardless of cultural context. Whether in Egypt, Dublin or the United States, the core message of sin, redemption, and repentance through Jesus Christ remains the same.

“I say the Gospel is the Gospel,” he stressed. “And when the core of the Gospel is preached and not the fluff, which you know some people of course like to do … we are all sinners. Christ came from Heaven to save repentant sinners and forgive our sins, and we are all burdened with sin. And that is really a simple message … when I'm on the road doing evangelistic outreaches like this, I go straight into the core of the Gospel.”

Born in Egypt and having lived in Lebanon, Youssef said he’s passionate about seeing those in the Middle East embrace Christianity. True peace, he stressed, will never happen in the region without the unifying power of the Gospel message.

“We pray for peace; that’s the goal. My prayer is for both sides to come to know Jesus, the Jews to know Him as the Messiah, and for the Muslims to know Him,” he said. “By the way, there are thousands of Muslims coming to Christ, but you will never hear about it in the news. Jesus is appearing to them in a vision and dreams and they're coming to Christ by the thousands. And so, as as these things happen, as the Gospel is preached, we pray there'll be a peace. But in reality, we know that there can be no peace without Jesus.”

Focusing on the End Times

For this particular message, Youssef focused on Matthew 24, which outlines signs of the End Times. Though stressing he is not an End Times preacher, Youssef said he believes current events might indicate that the world is fast approaching the End Times as described in the Bible.

“I came to the conclusion that our Lord is saying that when it gets close to the end, there are labor pains, and this is for the believers,” he said. “For the nonbelievers, it is going to be like a thief in the night. They're going to be shocked.”

He noted that while such signs have always occurred, like wars and earthquakes, their recent escalation in intensity and frequency suggests the nearing of the End Times. Current events, such as the alignment of Russia, China, and Iran and increasing global tensions, also point to this reality.

“I looked at what our Lord is saying, and He basically gave six labor pains ... and all six things that our Lord says will happen have been happening all these years. Earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars and all of these things, are now happening in shorter and shorter intervals, greater frequency, and more intensity.”

“When you see Russia and China and Iran are working together, that's just something that has not happened before,” he said. “Look at the streets of London and Paris, New York — masses of people protesting against Israel ... masses of people in front of the Sydney Opera House saying, ‘Gas the Jews.’ That is horrifying in many ways … I personally believe that we're getting close.”

The pastor added that the current state of the world, including increasing knowledge, population growth and violence, mirrors the days of Noah, another sign the End Times might be approaching.

“Jesus said, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days prior to the coming of the Son of God, the Son of Man. So I looked at Genesis 6, there was an increase in knowledge ... an increase in violence and bloodshed ... those days are here.”

Combatting biblical illiteracy

In addition to holding global evangelistic events, Youssef recently releasedHow to Read the Bible (as If Your Life Depends on It) in an effort to combat biblical illiteracy and educate and encourage believers to read, understand and apply biblical truths in their lives.

“When I get grieved over something, I try to, instead of cursing the darkness, light the candle,” he said, citing statistics that show an unprecedented drop in Bible reading, even among Christians.

‘I said, 'No wonder we're in the mess we're in.' People don't know what's in the Scripture. … I’ve wanted to write this book for 50 years. It's taken me that long to show how the Bible is not just a bunch of stories. It is totally connected, from Genesis to Revelation. There is one theme.

My prayer, my hope is, as people read it, it ignites a love for the Word of God. [I don’t want them] to read it in place of the Bible, but they'll fall in love with the Bible all over again, and start reading it, believing it and obeying it. And I think if that happens, we will have a revival.”

Over the next several months, Youssef will be holding similar events in Veracruz, Mexico, New England, Jamaica and Sydney, Australia. He emphasized creating movements of God that outlast the events themselves, fostering unity among denominations and continued spiritual growth.

“If we don't create a movement of God that will last way past an event, I told my team I am not interested,” he said. “I'm 75, I don't play games. My part is the smallest part in what the Holy Spirit is doing in all of these places. That really excites me; I can't wait to wake up in the morning."

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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