Part 3: Plan ahead and get help
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.Luke 10:1-2
Think small. There’s no sense in trying to eat the entire cake all by yourself. And sometimes we feel that we have to bring down the whole of Jericho to make our evangelism effective or worthwhile.
The prophet Elias and the apostle Paul understood the importance of the assistance of others.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.Romans 11:4-5
A good plan can simply be an announcement letter placed on the church bulletin board – “Meeting at the city park at 3 PM for prayer, followed by handing out tracts until 4 PM, then regrouping afterward at the pizza shop for fellowship”.
(Be sure you have permission from church leadership to post a letter, I’ll cover “getting permission” in another blog post.)
You may be surprised to see who shows up. The pizza part usually helps.
Planning a booth or table may take a little more effort. I will list some ideas that I have used in the past, and I will list them in order from easiest to more difficult.
Flea market booths: – Easy
– These are normally very easy to schedule as they often occur on the same day each week making your timing more flexible.
– Flea market booths usually provide both the tables and the shelter making for less equipment that you will need.
– Starting and ending times are usually flexible. Most flea markets required to be set up by a certain time, but you can leave at any time.
– Flea market booths are usually inexpensive, and anyone can rent one. You don’t have to be a church or an actual organization.
– You don’t have to sell anything at a flea market booth. Simply handing out tracts or Bibles is a great start on evangelism. Also, if the flea market allows, you may be able to hand out bottled water.
– A flea market booth can give you the needed experience to do more detailed styles of booths.
– Be sure to follow all the rules has put forth by the flea market organization. Otherwise, you may not be allowed back.
– Open-air preaching is not normally allowed at flea market booths.
Church social event: Somewhat Easy
– Before you set up a booth/table at a church social event be sure, you have the permission of the church leadership.
– You may be thinking “Now wait a minute – is it okay to evangelize within my own congregation?” Yes. If everyone in your congregation is genuinely and soundly saved, then they still need the gospel and will love the idea. If not, then they still need the gospel.
– Setting up a small table within familiar surroundings may ease some of your anxieties. Also, other members of your congregation may notice your efforts and also wish to become involved.
– Church social events often invite people from outside of the church, and many church members often bring unsaved family members just hoping that somebody will share the gospel with them.
– Car wash fundraisers on church grounds are also an excellent idea for a Sunday school class or youth group. It would be easy to add an evangelism booth/table to such an activity. (Again, with proper permission, of course.)
– Open-air preaching may be a possibility.
Community festivals: More difficult
– Nearly every city in America, at some point during the year has a festival event of some sort. This is an excellent opportunity to reach out to your community with the gospel. Go to your cities website or your local chamber of commerce for information regarding dates and times of events and to obtain necessary forms for participation.
– It is not always necessary to be a church group or some other organization to rent a booth at a festival. However, I have found that it is helpful and cheaper if you are associated with a church or nonprofit organization.
– Most community festivals have a section for commercial sales, another section for arts and crafts, and another section for community churches and nonprofits. Although it is more expensive, I prefer to pay for a space in the commercial sales area as this usually separates me from other religious organizations. Also, my experience tells me that there tends to be more traffic through this area as well.
– Community festivals usually only provide space for a booth or table which means you need to supply your own tables, chairs, and temporary shelter.
– Community festivals usually provide booth spaces either with or without electrical power. Obtaining a space without power is usually less expensive, and power (at least electrical power) is not generally necessary for evangelism purposes.
– Create a sign-up sheet. When you know the date and time and duration of the event you wish to evangelize then began to solicit others for assistance. It is always a good idea to have the sign-up sheet in place before actually securing or paying for booth rentals. (This is the voice of experience, listen carefully!)
– Open-air preaching is not normally allowed at community festivals.
– Get answers to the following questions:
– How much does it cost? Can we get help with the cost?
– What are the festival rules for set up times?
– Who will participate? (Even The Lone Ranger was never alone.)
– When will we start and how long will we stay?
– What materials will we use for evangelism?
(Purchase materials at least a month ahead of time.)
– Will we need other materials such as water to drink and snacks
– What evangelism gadgets, if any, will we use?
– Who will provide the pop-up shelter, the tables, the chairs, and if
needed ice chests etc.
– Have “follow up” information available. You never know how God may use you to call his people.
– Just prior to starting the event, hold a meeting with all participants to clarify how the event will take place and what specific rules the festival may have.
– Do not forget prayer.
Enclosed Malls and outdoor Strip Malls: Very difficult
– Although malls appear to be public places they are actually nearly always privately owned. Further, they are places of business, and mall owners are generally not receptive to activities that may appear to interfere with commerce.
– However, most often malls will accommodate churches and nonprofit organizations during seasonal holidays. Strangely enough, mall owners will consider the presence of religious organizations during religious holidays to actually improve commerce.
– An evangelism booth within a mall will require much preparation including at least all the steps listed for festivals.
– Mall owners will not usually allow individuals to set up booths but rather prefer a bona fide church organization or another type of nonprofit organization. It may be possible for you to set up a booth as a representation of your church. However, this would require church approval well in advance.
– Most large malls will have a website where you can gain access to information concerning who to contact primarily for sales and leasing. This is a good place to start. The leasing agent can guide you to the person you need to speak to concerning your endeavors to share the gospel on their premises.
– Be open and honest about your intentions with all mall authorities.
– Malls usually have a small kiosk that you can rent, but they are very expensive during seasonal times. I have not yet been able to rent one due to cost. However, with your church behind you, it may be possible to secure funding. Also, you will need a lot of help.
– Use your church if possible. People within your church may know other people who know other people who own a small strip mall. Post a message on your church bulletin board announcing your intentions; you may find more help you expected.
– Use other churches, if possible. It is likely you may not find enough help within your own congregation. Try asking other churches in your area if you may post your intentions on their bulletin board.
Follow this link for more tips on Mall Evangelism.
Do not get discouraged if you are turned down by a festival or a mall owner or a flea market owner or even by your own church leadership. Evangelism is a radical thing. And many people are willing to help and do all sorts of things except evangelize others.
If your efforts, come up against the wall, then shrink them down a bit and press on. Do not be offended, for it is not our glory, but His that we seek.