Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Parade "Evangelism"

This past Saturday was the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Oklahoma City. Some from our new church that we are starting decided to attend the parade and pass out water bottles free of charge. This was our way to introduce ourselves to our city. We had no agenda other than passing out free water bottles. The goal was to serve our city in this very objective way.

Some call such actions "Servant Evangelism." While I am hesitant to call what we did "evangelism," I will say that it is certainly an evangelistic mission that motivates what we are doing downtown. So, are such efforts effective? After all, why should a church undertake anything that is ineffective? If the goal is evangelism, then how could we be successful if we never even opened our mouths to share the gospel? Perhaps the guys who were handing out the million dollar bills were more effective.

I doubt anyone came to faith because of our efforts. And I doubt that anyone came to faith because of the million dollar tracts. But as we do more service projects in our city, our hope is that many will see an authentic Christian movement that will have an impact on them spiritually. We pray that the spiritual barriers will come down and many will come to faith in Christ. In the meantime, we served our city. And our actions have an impact on us as well as we learn what it means to give ourselves away expecting nothing in return.

We did have several ask us about who we were and why we were providing free water. We did get a chance to tell some that we love our city and that we wanted to serve them today. And very few people turned down our offer. And unlike those who were handed the million dollar bills, those who took our free gifts used them and thought favorably about those who gave the water to them. We were thanked on numerous occasions. People were coming to us to receive the free water. Rejection was at a minimum.

I think we succeeded in what we had come to do (we passed out over 1,000 water bottles). But the work is not yet complete. Like the tract distributors, we still pray that many will turn to Jesus for the salvation of their souls. In this case, however, I think the water bottles were more effective than the million dollar tracts.


Curtis said...

Thanks for the post. I need a green Crosstown shirt!

Collin said...

Great post Ben...we're praying for your new church.