Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Kentucky Derby Outreach through Sports Fan Outreach International (SFOI), and it was an amazing experience. The outreach team consisted of a group of 25 people from various different states and all with their own unique testimonies. All of us were united for one goal, to glorify and proclaim the salvation of God through Jesus Christ to these lost masses (at least 160,000). I had heard stories about how rowdy the crowds get there from my good friend, Ricky Gantz, who was on his 4th Derby outreach. I was nervous and really didn't know what all to expect. We were to be at Churchill Downs for twelve hours on Friday and twelve hours Saturday. I was used to the normal 3-4 hour outreaches at home.
I learned so much about how to love people. No matter how much the people mocked and rejected the Gospel, the more I felt love and compassion for them. My heart expanded. I was a blaspheming pagan before I was saved. I acted just like these people. They are in desperate need of forgiveness and salvation but are oblivious to how bad their situation really is. They are running through the wide gate (Matt.7:13-14) and most of them think that they are basically good people on their way to Heaven. Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who could know it?"
There was a group of "bad street preachers" that were calling the people names and making everyone mad. Because they also talked about Jesus, people associated them with us. As preachers on the streets, we need to make sure that we do everything in love. Never compromising the message and never toning down the hard parts of the truth, like Hell and sin. Keep love as the focus of why we do all of this. The people need to see our compassion and love for them, and they need to read it in our pleas to them. The Gospel is offensive, yes, but we are not to be the ones who are the offense. We are to call sin as sin, but give them the Good News of the Gospel in love.
The most important thing about all of this is God is Sovereign. He knows the beginning and the end and knits everything together to fit His perfect will. He is loving and merciful. He died a horrible death to pay the debt of filthy unworthy sinners. A debt He never even owed. He didn't have to save any of us, but He chose to do so. "All we like sheep have gone astray... (Isaiah 53:6) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) God is worthy of all praise and glory forever. We will be with Him forever glorifying His holy name face to face. Why do we do all of this? Because He is worthy of all praise and glory forever and ever! FOREVER!
10/10 people die, and the people of this world are not ready to die. They are in eternal danger and must be lovingly warned about the wrath to come. They have sinned against a holy God (Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ came to die for sinners. That is what we are to tell them. We are to be fishers of men (Mark 1:17) and fulfill the Great Commission by making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). We need to study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15). Be ready and willing to go and do the work of the evangelist. The lost must repent from sin and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15). Not say a scripted prayer or fill out a decision card, but cry out to God that He would grant them the gift of repentance and faith.
I recommend everyone who feels the call to evangelism on the next level beyond the day to day to attend a SFOI outreach. There are many events to choose from. Go to www.sfoi.org for more info.