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evbc | gilbert

lesson from the half-marathon

As my last post indicated, Molly and I ran in the PF Chang's Half-Marathon this past weekend. Since then, I have been thinking about one of the more interesting things I saw during the race.

On the first mile, there were probably 5-6 people holding giant signs (10' wide) that were "evangelistic" in nature, saying things like "Turn to Jesus, You're Headed to Hell" (which made me wonder who had organized the racing course if it included going to Hell), "Not Church, Just Jesus," and "Repent Now, Your Time is Short." Each signholder was also preaching to the runners as they went by, typically in a street-preacher, fire-and-brimstone fashion.

On the rest of the course, the streets were lined with well-wishers, cheer squads, volunteers, and family members who were shouting encouragement and handing out water.

What has intrigued me is the contrast in response of my fellow runners after they ran by each of the above groups. After running by the preachers, I heard many comments about how discouraging it was, how pointless it seemed, and how unloved they felt. After running by the well-wishers, I heard many comments about how energized they felt, how great it was to be cheered, and how helpful the shouts of encouragement were.

I have a few thoughts that I'll post in subsequent posts. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

What do you think about this kind of "evangelism"?
What do you make of the runners' responses?

If you were organizing a church outreach along the race course, what would you do?


  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 1/19/2007 10:20 AM |  

    From the response, it seems that the runners that were upset do not know Jesus. They are "dead" to spiritual things right now and telling them they're going to hell is probably not going make them anxious to hear more. I think a church outreach where there are attempts to encourage, and be kind to people would be more helpful. Wear EVBC tee shirts in some funky, noticeable color and have a good luck, have fun, need sunscreen? booth at the beginning, have many people in EVBC shirts cheering with water all along the way, and then some sort of refreshments, picture taking, congratulations booth at the end. Just be nice to people.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous | 9/08/2007 10:30 AM |  

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  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 9/08/2007 10:38 AM |  

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