Perhaps you have been thinking about hosting a Gospel Outreach Booth at your local fair or exhibition. Lorne Langfeld has had many years of experience at this type of work in the public eye. In addition to his report below you may wish to contact him if you have questions or are wanting some advice from a voice of experience. Click on his name to email Mr. Langfeld.
Reaching out to people with the gospel message is hard work. We will learn that fact quickly when we make that effort. We will have to face awkward conversations, criticism from saint and sinner alike as well as poor weather conditions. We will face discouragements! Why would we bother? Why not just stay in our comfortable little cocoon of familiarity? There are 3 blunt reasons that I will note, but not discuss at this time. Please do consider the following:
- Our Lord Jesus Christ and His work deserve a response of effort from us (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
- Every person in the world is loved by God (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10)
- Every person entering eternity without the Saviour is locked into an existence of anguish in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15)
Please read over the 'Bible Bite': Why Don’t People Ask Me? dated March 1, 2012 at www.heaven4sure.com
My wife, Ruth, and I began going to fairs with the gospel in 1975. After we were commended to the Lord’s work in 1977, we increased the number of events where we set up a gospel booth. The activity of meeting people in public places for the sake of the gospel is really nothing new. Paul used this method in Athens years ago (Acts 17:16-34) with good results. Paul was stirred in his spirit when he saw the crowds of people living in deceptive idolatry without God.
Over the years, we have changed by choice or been forced to change some events. Some years we did up to 20 events in a short period of time. This was too concentrated and the long hours can take a toll. We now go with the gospel to 12 events of differing nature. We use agricultural fairs, car shows, home show and a wood-workers exhibition. Each booth requires a display that relates to the event itself. Sometimes printed material is needed in languages other than English. Seed Sower’s and International Bible House are a very helpful source of resources.
Some of the events have been small, single day fairs. I have encouraged assemblies to make an effort in their area and then helped them get started. When they continue on their own, I move on to another area. For 20 years we had a gospel booth at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario. It is a large event, some years it went for 12 days, but now it is 10 days. That is still many long hours. There used to be a lot of manual work required to keep the large supply of texts that were needed on the site. Due to building changes we have not been there for a number of years, but are looking at arrangements for 2012. Most of the events range from 3 to 5 days in length. There must be a commitment of time and energy to organize and arrange for all of the contracts and supplies. Sometimes a new display needs to be built.
There is a lot of work in the background before the front of a gospel booth shows up at an event. When we arrange a booth, we need to realize that we are competing with businesses and advertisers for the attention of people as they walk by. A booth needs to be attractive. A display that is crowded and cluttered discourages a person selecting material. People at the booth should be friendly and helpful, but be careful of being pushy.
On the bright side of things, there is encouragement from time to time, for which we give God the glory. Often, non-assembly believers comment on how glad they are to see a gospel testimony out in the open. We hear of the salvation of souls, sometimes years later, as well as believers who are encouraged and sometimes come to assembly fellowship.
The only thing sure in society today, humanly speaking, is change. In the future there may be some events where the gospel will not be allowed. There may also be new events for us to consider. In Britain, there are a number of Bible Exhibitions that have been in use for years. We have seen some in operation and recognise some potential for use in Canada and the US, though in a modified format. This is under consideration.
This work is, of course, not for everyone. Brothers and sisters, NO believer can truly say, “I can do nothing for our Lord.” No believer can do everything. Let us all do what we can (Mark 14:8) for our Lord Jesus Christ!