On September 9, 2017 the first outreach to the Ohio State Buckeyes home football games for the 2107 season occurred. Here are some highlights of the wonderful day our gracious God provided for us.
First, one of the hardest things about outreaches is getting people to commit. Every time we go out to proclaim the gospel we encounter spiritual opposition in the form of folks who said they were going to labor alongside us having “something come up.”
It seems that praying for our team sooner than later is paramount to our success. God can certainly clear people’s schedules, and God is also able to give people hearts that are willing to overcome difficult times. It is a persistent failure of mine to pray in advance of these events not only for the event itself, but for the laborers I invite.
Nevertheless, we had a team of 7 people who went, including 3 teenage young men. We also had 4 people who open air preached, which is really a gift from God.
You see, we preach at a very busy street corner which lies between thousands of parking spots and Ohio Stadium. This is a strategic location where we know we will encounter tens of thousands of people. Sporting event crowds are very transient, always on their way to somewhere. So although very few people are in a position to stand and listen to preaching for very long, a large number of people hear preaching. And, thanks to stoplights, they hear it for a few minutes, enough to piqué their interest if God is calling them to belief.
Because we had so many men willing to preach, we actually spread out over two corners of the intersection which means the people who normally would not hear the preaching because it was across the street would now hear God’s Word proclaimed to them and Christ exalted in their hearing. Praise the Lord for providing unexpected help in Joshua who decided to come last minute and a faithful brother who we just met yesterday named Corey, both of whom preached!
I started preaching at about 5pm and within a few minutes I had several loud and profane hecklers. It was disappointing but it’s part of the routine. But while I was preaching I noticed a man named Beejay who seemed convicted of sin and listening intently. I spoke directly to him a couple of times and finally called him over after I asked him if he believed and wanted forgiveness of his sins and he nodded yes.
I had just started preaching, and I hate stopping when the crowds are growing, but I felt an obligation to this young man to talk to him, so I told Kurtis to get ready and start preaching. This is quite a luxury to have someone who can preach in this situation. I guess I could have also had someone else talk to Beejay, but I wanted to. Beejay spoke like a man who was convicted of sin, repentant and reliant upon Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. We talked, he asked me to pray for him and I did, and exchanged information.
Check this out – on the way to the stadium, Corey, who is new to our team asked me if I invite people to my church. I said, “Sure, but most people we meet at OSU don’t necessarily live close to my church.” Well as it turns out in God’s providence and goodness, Beejay lives about 2 miles from me! I hope to be able to disciple him and eventually have him going with us to win souls!
The rest of the day was generally routine. Kurt (17), Joshua, Corey and I preached and had our fair share of haters and a much larger portion of encouraging Christians. I ran into an old acquaintance from my high school who remembered me preaching the year before, a coworker who was very supportive and an old friend who I hadn’t seen in a decade who was happy to see me. It was all very encouraging. On top of that, someone who was pleased with what we were doing gave us $10 which I gladly used toward my teenage evangelist post outreach meal!
Rachael (Joshua’s wife) helped by holding a sign and supporting us and Chase (17) and Kenton (14) spent then entire time distributing tracts. Maybe over a thousand? I don’t know, I don’t count them. 6 people responded to our sign that reads “Free Bibles” and took a copy of the New Testament with them. What a blessing to us! What a great God we serve to give us such a refreshing and joyful day, free from serious affliction.
I am very excited about what God is planning for the fall college football season. Please pray for me and my team according to (Eph 6:18-20)
praying at all times … and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,…that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.