Today was our first Operation 513 outreach in Redcliffe for 2019. Team members from three different churches all gathered at the waterfront for a couple of hours of gospel work. It is always a joy to work with these brethren as they are passionate about the Lord Jesus. Personally, I find them quite encouraging in the work, especially in those times when I feel flat.
Over the past few months we have noticed that it has been increasingly difficult to get gospel conversations, so today we changed tactics. Instead of having our “Free Bible and Literature” table, we decided to split up into small teams so we could move around the whole area to witness.
I partnered with Mike, who is a Deacon from Samford Baptist Church (my home church), we set up his flip-chart and handed out a few tracts. It soon became very clear that our location was not good for conversations so we moved to the other side of the road to witness near the entrance to the pier.
Upon arrival in this new location, we noticed that Sheldon was locked into a deep conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness who was out spreading his heresy. Mike and I set up in the new location, and before too long gospel conversations were underway.
Mike managed to speak to a young man who seemed very open. The conversation went well with the young man taking a Bible. While Mike was talking to him, I managed to get into a discussion with the man’s mates. These young guys were out on the waterfront, just relaxing and planning to play some basketball. Initially I engaged them in some small talk over who was the best NBA player of all time (it is clearly Michael Jordan!), then from there I swung the conversation to the gospel.
I asked this group, “What do you think someone has to do in order to go to Heaven?” They all replied, “Accept God. Believe in God.” I followed up with another question, “Do you guys have any kind of religious background?” One said he had no religious upbringing, the other two said they went to church. It was then that one of them said, “I am a youth leader at my home church.” He then told me about the large Pentecostal church where he was a leader. Well, this information made me change my tactics. I said to the youth leader, “Ok, let me put you under some pressure. Imagine I have been stabbed in the back, I am bleeding out. I have three minutes to live. I am not a Christian. What will you say to me so I can go to Heaven?”
At this question his face went into a look of panic. “I don’t know!” was his reply. “Two minutes left!” I called out. The youth leader said, “Ummm… Believe in God.” “So, I just need to believe God is real?” “Yes!” was the reply. It was then I turned up the pressure even further, “The devil believes in God. Will he go to Heaven?” By this stage the youth leader seemed to be stumbling over his words and had no response.
The response from this youth leader is not uncommon. I have met many church leaders who cannot explain the gospel, which leads me to believe we have many unconverted men in leadership positions of churches. I cautioned this young man that James 3:1 warns us that all who teach will face a stricter judgement., and then I proceeded to share the gospel with him. As I explained the good news of Jesus, the church leader said, “That makes sense!” I gave him an in-depth tract, I encouraged him to read over it, and then to teach it to those whom he leads. He shook my hand and said he would be explaining to the youth what the gospel really is about.
After this, Vesa and I managed to get into a conversation with a lady who was very spiritual, and very confused. She is one of those lovely people (she was a really nice lady!) that could talk with a mouth full of gravel, so we spent much time listening. When we were able to talk we shared snippets of the gospel with her in the hope that some seed would be sown. She took a couple of tracts and promised to read them. Please pray for her.
At this stage I had to leave the outreach early in order to complete some other work, but as I was leaving Mike was locked in a conversation with a group of young men. I heard later that this was a good conversation.
Praise God that the message of Jesus continues to spread!