RUSSELLVILLE – Brad Bennett and other members of Real Encounter flew through the air with the greatest of ease, but it wasn’t on a trapeze. It was on a bicycle. Real Encounter is a ministry of professional athletes in the area of moto stunts, street bike stunts and BMX stunts. This year, Real Encounter earned a standing ovation from the judges on “America’s Got Talent.” According to the team, “the extreme stunt show is our platform, but Jesus Christ has center-stage in our lives as individuals and our message as a ministry.”
Recently, Real Encounter took their show and message to Russellville Cole R-1 High School at the request of local Missouri Baptist churches. More than five dozen people professed faith in Christ because of their ministry.
“We were led to hold fall and spring revivals,” Dinzel Webb, pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, said. “But it seems that only church people attend the revivals, and we wanted to draw in as many of the unchurched as possible to hear the gospel.”
This evening event did reach the unchurched. According to Webb, about 1,200 people filled the Russellville High School gym.
“All the bleachers were filled and folding chairs were used,” he said, “There were people standing or sitting on the floor anywhere that didn’t interfere with the performance.”
The evening performance followed a series of afternoon assemblies in area schools. The area middle/grade school had 480 in attendance, High Point K-8 had 90 in attendance and the Russellville High School had 260 in attendance.
“These assemblies were character building,” Webb said. “After the stunts, Brad talks about the skills and discipline used to do the stunts that they do. He encourages them to work hard and to make wise life choices.”
Webb said these school assemblies were in conjunction with the celebration of Red Ribbon Week to emphasize remaining drug free.
“The School Board regularly planned assemblies for this week,” he said. “So, they were happy to have Real Encounter make an impact on the students. They were receptive because they could see the benefits for the community and for the kids.”
Webb said Real Encounter began the evening session outside with motorcycle stunts.
“Afterward, they do a short program outside on the roped off parking lot,” he continued, “Brad invites the crowd inside for the rest of the show. He warns that he will talk about how Jesus Christ changes lives.”
Bennett discussed his personal spiritual journey.
“From the time I was a young man,” Bennett said, “I loved motocross and I wanted to become the best, and I thought if I reached a high level in the sport, it would bring true meaning and purpose to my life.”
Bennett told the group that he met his motocross hero, Steve Wise, who shared Jesus with him.
“I grew up watching Steve ride,” he said. “I thought I was meeting the King of Motocross that night, but I met the King of the Universe.”
After the testimony, Real Encounter offered an invitation. Sixty-four decisions were made to trust Jesus and 15 rededications and other decisions were made. As they came forward about 80 trained encouragers worked with those making decisions. They also recorded information for follow-up.
Russellville Baptist Church and several other churches in the area cooperated during the weeks before the event to pray and to train these encouragers.
Bennett summed up the effort, “God can use anything to bring truth and the gospel.”