November 11, 2017: 12 evangelists gathered at the Ohio State University to read the lost with the gospel. We preached for 2-3 hours on two corners, so there were 2 preachers going most of the time. We had no less than 8 people handing out tracts at any time. I am grateful if only one person desires to accompany me on an outreach. And I agree that it is not about numbers, but the more laborers there are the more work we can get done.
For today’s post I want to look at some photos and talk about the human strategy surrounding out evangelism.
If you look at this photo below, you can see where our people are positioned (the 6 red arrows point to our folks). In the background, on the right side of the photo, you see Dan Carr and Alayna Hoop. They are standing on either side of a walkway which is a high foot traffic area. That walkway leads back to much of the parking to the north of the Ohio Stadium.
In the foreground, you can see Elaine and Rachelle Holman standing in the wide sidewalk area in front of the preacher in the maroon sweatshirt. This areas is where all the people from the West travel across in order to get to the game. Their location is also a blessing because they get to head the Word of God preached while tracting folks.
Kurtis Gould is the one preaching and next to him is Joshua Richards. We try to always have a person near the preacher. This is not only for protection if needed, but also so there is something there to give people a Bible or help in any way that the preacher needs.
If you traveled to the right from this photo, you would begin walking across a bridge toward Ohio State. On that sidewalk, but not pictured, were Alexandra Coughlin and Kenton Gould. Anyone who slips past Rachelle, Elaine, Alayna and Dan without getting a tract will still be offered a tract as they travel down Lane Ave to the east.
Looking below, we are now across the street from the photo above. So if you imagine in this photo you are looking Northwest toward the Schottenstein Center. The photo ABOVE this one would be across the street to the right from the photo below. As you can see, Kurtis is preaching about the Way, the Truth and the Life beneath a sign that reads “The Undisputed Way.” We love this.
As I pointed out, it would be very hard for people to walk past the northeast corner of this intersection without encountering my team, but people could bypass that corner by coming south and then crossing the street to the left of where Kurtis is preaching in this photo. By having multiple men preaching, we are able to ensure that no matter which route people take they will hear preaching. At this corner, we preach to the people on the left (across the street) until the light changes and then we preach as they walk toward us. After the people have walked toward us and are going past us (to the right), we turn and preach to them and then we preach to the people waiting to cross from the north. While Kurt preached I passed out tracts, but down the way to the east (the direction most people walk), Nicholas Coughlin and Chase Vendley were on either side of the sidewalk tracting.
So you can see that with a team of 12 people, we were able to have 4-5 full hours of preaching, and covered both sides of a major street with tracts. If you can imagine that we could easily cover 4 corners of the stadium with teams like this, you can see how many more laborers for the gospel could be useful to the ministry! My understanding is that Ohio State games attract approximately 200,000 people: half inside the stadium and half outside. That’s 2% of the population of the state of Ohio.
Think about that. 1 person out of every 50 people in Ohio has the chance to hear the life-saving gospel of grace on gameday. Yet I doubt we reach more than 30,000. Pray for more laborers!
So you see, we are spiritual minded people. We preach the Word and we give out gospel tracts, but we also try to be wise and strategic from a material perspective. Let me give you one more example.
When we go to the game, any parking anywhere near the stadium costs 20-25 dollars. With 7 home games that really adds up! One of the things I do is drop the team off, because with a large box of tracts and other equipment it would be very hard to walk! But they would wait a very long time for me to park my car a mile away and walk back to them. It really seems like a waste of time. So I began bringing my bike. Now I can park another quarter mile away and park for free on a side street, and ride my bike to the location much quicker than walking. So we are saving $20/week and some valuable time we can use for evangelism.
I want to commend my team and tell you a little of what it took this week to be there. First of all, my team ranged in age from 13 to 56. We had at least one person who it was their first time trying contact evangelism, praise the Lord!
We arrived and were ready to start about 9am. It was less than 30 degrees outside and the wind chill factor apparently made it feel like 16 degrees. I coached my team to do smart things, but to labor for our Lord without rest or complaining. We gave everyone a couple handwarmers, too. But it is hard to hand out tracts with gloves and it’s hard to hold a Bible and preach with gloves so many of us just get cold hands. No one on my team complained. I was so grateful for their kind spirits. It was funny because at noon I called my wife and one of the things I told her was it had “really warmed up.” She told me it was 32 degrees. But compared to what we’d stood in all morning, that seemed balmy!
The thing is, lost souls were out there braving the cold weather: some of them out of love for their team, some out of idolatry, and others just for the fellowship of being with friends or family. Vendors were making money selling tickets, buckeyes, wool caps and other OSU paraphernalia. Why shouldn’t a Christian be there for his God? Why shouldn’t a Christian stand and bear those elements for the sake of the elect? As I told the team, “we’re all going to be cold, we might as well get the work done.”
After the game, we went to a local fried chicken restaurant called Raising Canes and enjoyed some time together and some hot food. Here are a couple team pictures.
I want to thank my lord Jesus Christ for a wonderful day which was largely made possible by several dear saints from my church, some of whom donate large sums of money to pay for things like our gas and our meals, and also for Peter & Alyssa Wilson who loaned me their Honda Odyssey for the day so that I could fit a full load of people in it and also my bicycle.
Brian Ottinger says
Great work brother. Don’t stop leading and loving the church to faithful evangelism.