Big events, attended by thousands are great opportunities to get a gospel message to a lot of people in a hurry.
This spring, Todd Roper, Danny Callis and other soulwinners, who use large quantities of Chick tracts, targeted the Latin American "Carnivals," billed as the "biggest party in the world," where millions gather the week before Lent for a "bash before the fast." Known in the U.S. as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), it is seen by many Roman Catholics as a final ribald fling prior to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the 40-day fast before Easter.
In some cities in Brazil, up to 2 million people gather to watch or participate in the parades and join the debauchery almost unparalleled elsewhere in the world. And this is what attracted the soul winners: lots of people who obviously need the Lord.
The witnessing teams prepared hundreds of thousands of gospel tracts as well as drama skits, mime, movies, preaching points, banners and other displays to confront the revelers with the gospel.
"The response is overwhelming," says Roper. "We gave out 1000 tracts in 15 minutes once." They developed a tactic where one group would go through the crowd handing out tracts to everyone. Then a second group would follow in a few minutes when the people were about finished reading them. The second group would ask them if they understood the message and if they wanted to discuss it. Many were ready to receive Christ.
To provide follow-up, Todd and Callis involved local evangelical churches in the outreach. The church members provided greatly expanded teams and the church buildings were base stations where new converts could be brought for further counsel and additional literature. Tracts were also stamped with local addresses and phone numbers. One base station logged 800 decisions for Christ during the outreach.
Any church can duplicate this kind of ministry on a smaller scale in their own community. All that is needed is a community calendar (to identify the events where lots of people gather), the tracts and witnessing teams. Many Chick tracts are specific enough to be used at certain events. For example, in the last few weeks, over 200,000 Titanic tracts have been distributed at movie theaters featuring the blockbuster movie. Others use Empty Tomb at Easter gatherings, Doom Town at gay pride parades, and the new tract The Slugger is perfect for the sports minded at ball games.
In every community there are events which attract crowds of people. A little creativity can turn an ordinary happening into a gospel saturation adventure with eternal consequences.