Jumping evangelists, trying to kill themselves!
February 8, 2005
I can remember an excellent, passionate preaching evangelist in the 1970’s in our church who dressed in a pink leisure suit, pink shirt, white tie and white shoes. Ah, the ‘70’s; what an outfit! I wondered if he had batteries in the pockets to light it up and make it glow in the dark.
Just a few days ago, I was with a much different team of evangelists. No coats or ties on these evangelists. Instead, they played guitars, wore motocross boots, jumped on top of a van with a motorcycle, broke out the windows of a parked car with the motorcycle’s front tire, burned up tires and leaped over 40 feet high into the air while stepping off their motorcycle. For the untrained, this would be living out a death wish. All the students and adults present at this crusade loved it — and what a harvest!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday daytimes were used by this evangelistic team to visit area high schools to conduct anti-alcohol, anti-drug and abstinence assemblies — again, using hi-tech equipment, powerful drama and jumping motorcycles over teachers laid out on the gym floor. These assemblies effectively communicated and at the conclusion, the students were invited to the “Real Encounter” night meetings. The night-time harvest events of Tuesday and Wednesday were five-part team efforts. The evening included t-shirt tosses, a wild rock-n-roll band, powerful drama and a brief to-the-point sermon. The last event was freestyle motocross jumping. Every part of the evening meeting was high energy, with a high impact message. The result was a harvest of more than 550 students and adults! Folks, I can get REAL happy at an event like this. In fact, I did get real happy! I don’t think anyone enjoyed it more than I did.
Now, if you don’t like loud music, drama, a smoky stage, light show and motorcycles, this event is not for you. But it’s not intended to reach you. It is a crusade intended to reach students.
What was this event? It was a Real Encounter Crusade lead by Missouri’s own Brad Bennett. During 2004 and again in 2005, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has been a promotional and financial partner with Brad and his team conducting these youth harvest events all across Missouri. In the 2004 calendar year, the MBC co-sponsored five Real Encounter crusades with our churches across the state. The harvest of souls in those five (5) events was more than the harvest total of ALL our Vacation Bible Schools across the state in the same year. Vacation Bible School is still one of the greatest single evangelism tools a church can conduct in a year. VBS is awesome. So you can see the impact these Real Encounter Crusades are having.
The Spannagels, my wife and I ate dinner with this team before the Wednesday night harvest event. That gave us just a little behind-the-scenes time with them. I think they are for real. What an impressive group of young men and women! I am so pumped up with what I saw that I just had to write you and ask you to consider how a local coalition of churches or your association could financially undergird one of these crusades. The Real Encounter event I attended was sponsored by 14 Branson area churches that partnered together. God blessed their work and preparations. Make no mistake, it takes some work, but the harvest is worth every effort. You may want to attend one of these events to experience it yourself first. You can check the crusade schedules by calling toll free: (866) 823-7325 or call their local number: (417) 353-0157.
If you would like to explore the opportunity of partnering together for a Real Encounter Crusade, call our Student Evangelism Specialist, Matt Kearns at: (800) 736-6227, Ext. 654 anytime and leave a message. He has information packets he can send you. If you are techno-savvy and want to learn a bit more before calling, visit these websites: www.realministry.org; www.cvdrama.org; and our own MBC website at www.mobaptist.org.
I am convinced that you will want to host a Real Encounter crusade in your area when you learn more or personally attend a crusade. Because the target audience is comprised of students, no offering plates are passed. So, like Billy Graham, the crusade needs to be underwritten before it begins. I am absolutely convinced that there are laymen and women with such a heart for reaching students with the Gospel that they would quickly write a check to pay ALL expenses when they see the impact that this ministry has on students. Check it out!
A friend recently reminded me, “Remember, it’s only Good News if they hear it.”