Black Friday and Christmas Festival Kickoff in Market Square
November 27, 2009
Ezekiel 3:17-18 (New Living Translation)
“Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.”
Black Friday Evangelizing
I admit it was crazy to get on the road and to the mall on Black Friday. Yet, after prayer and a morning devotional in the book of Psalms, I pressed onward. I always start with prayer prior to evangelizing. Ended up parking way out in “No-man’s Land” I did a one package(100 count) test run of the Santa Million Dollar Bills.
SIDENOTE: With the Supreme Court cases like Pruneyard, I could walk in freely and talk to anyone. I cannot just go up and start handing out tracts without catching the attention of the mall cops(Paul Blarts’). Thank the Lord, he blinded the eyes to the mall cops in my general surroundings.
So tract distribution has a different approach than outdoor public venues. 1. Talk first, then give tract. 2. Conventionally place tracts in public eye.(drop a bill, bill in coke machine dollar slot, on a bench, chair, food court table, on top of the hand dryer in the bathroom, and etc.)
The mall was packed like sardines and people were rushing as fast as they could to get the next deal in each store. The only ones really interested in talking were the elderly sitting on benches watching people shop. So one of my methods in the mall during busy traffic times is to quickly drop a bill on the walkway. Then I watch a few feet away while someone takes the bait(Thus, many in evangelist call evangelism, street fishing. )
I drop my first bill. I wait and wait…..wait some more…..then trusting God, I walk on knowing someone will pick up the bill.(Even if it is the Environmental Services, i.e. maintenance.) I head to the inside entrance of JC Penny and drop a bill. Within minutes someone picks it up.(Walked away and came back and noticed the bill was gone.) I stick a Santa buck in the Coke machine slot and a teen takes the bill.
I do this method of bill dropping on the ground for a few rounds around the mall. One instance, a lady picks up the bill and very loudly reads it to her shopping party and those in earshot.(One bill= five listeners)
The next few rounds, I target empty benches and chairs. Black Friday shoppers need a sit down break. So watching many shoppers read the bill on the bench. Some take the bill with them, others leave it for others to read. I had one elementary school girl give me my bill I dropped. She thought I did it on accident. I told her to keep the bill.
It was getting close to lunch, so I go where most hungry shoppers congregate….the food court. Santa bills in the food court go like hotcakes. The first one in the food court to grab a Santa bill tract was a chocolate candy sample guy. He started reading it to his coworker handing out the chocolate kisses.(Yes, I found all the chocolate candy people and they gave me candy samples. I was able to hand a Santa bill to one of the sample candy people.) At empty tables, I left a Santa bill.
I had one person walk up to me, thinking I accidentally dropped the bill. I did tell her thank you. So, I found a new home in the food court for the bill. After leaving the food court, I started to return to my car. HOWEVER, God gave me the nudge to the best place to get the most readability out of the Santa tract. I walked around the area where the Mall Santa was sitting. There were benches galore around the area.(They each got a Santa tract. Some more than once after a person decided to keep the tract.) There was a line to see Santa, so I did give out a few Santa bills to some children after I got permission from the parents.
I dropped one Santa bill in the hallway of JC Penny leading to the bathrooms. I walked a few feet away and saw a man sitting on the ground waiting on his wife in the bathroom. Apparently, she took awhile because he picked the tract I dropped and read the message. He put the tract back on the ground and with a worried look kept rubbing his forehead and staring at the tract. I quietly prayed for him as the message was taking root in his spirit.
I still had some Santa bills left as well as some various other tracts in my possession. I had the rest of the day free so I pressed on with the evangelism.
God blessed me with the Black Friday mall shoppers, so I prayed and asked if he grant me favor to go across the street to Boarders bookstore and place some free bookmarks(tracts) in some popular reading materials. He gave me the green light.( I have learned to pray first and let the Lord go before me.) Books are popular Christmas gifts. (So why not give some food for thought when it comes to reading you favorite book?) Most all fiction books have some religious references scattered throughout the pages. So why not give the real Christian message to the religious ideals in fiction books.
Some popular books and authors got my tract approval(Or disapproval pending on how you look at it.) One popular book among teens and the goth crowds is the Twilight series. I noticed the majority of teen fiction books had some occultist or dark themes.(Vampires, witches, etc.) I went to the classic section and did more bookmark placements. One of the positives of having a mother teaching me to read at a early age and taking American Literature class in college was to recall popular titles. Some classics which got tractd’ was “1984” and “Count of Monte Cristo.” I stuffed any book with the Oprah selection sticker.
I did go to the Christian non-fiction section. Most of all the “Faith” teachers got my tract. Also in the tract stuffing was Rick Warren and Joel Ostink( I meant Osteen. Heh! Heh!)
I ended up in my car praying for the seeds planted at the mall and bookstore.(I have made it a habit of beginning and ending in prayer when Street Fishing.)
I went home for a brief break.(I.E. Eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Yummy!)
Market Square Christmas Festival Kickoff
I arrived early and was able to secure a parking space next to Market Square. I grabbed twenty Billy Graham Decision magazines and my satchel containing a variety of tracts.(This is one of the handbags given to me by my mother’s prayer group. If a woman is in possession of the handbag, it is called a handbag. If a man is in possession of it, it is called a satchel. Enough said.)
I placed a dozen Decision magazine on all the benches in Market Square. The rest of the magazines I gave out to the public.
I walked around and handed out the last 25 Santa bills. I switched to a stack of Michael Jackson Million Dollar bills and various business card style tracts. During the duration of my time in the downtown area, I walked around handing out the tracts saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Here is a million dollar bill for you”. I had several ask me what the reason for giving them out. I told them there was a gospel message on the back of the bill or tract. I did get rejected a few times.(The times I did was when I said “Here is a million dollar bill for you”. Saying, “Merry Christmas” almost guaranteed the person taking the tract.
The only two times I said, “Merry Christmas ” the tract was rejected. One by a girl who threw the tract in the trash and another by a man asking why I was giving the tract. He thought I was giving a business flyer and promptly walked away after I told him about the gospel message on the tract. I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for him. I always pray for all the tracts I give out to have a positive effect. Yet, sometimes, God leads me to pray for certain individuals receiving a tract.
I did receive some positive and much-needed encouragement from Christians in Market Square. I only hope it is reciprocal and they are encouraged to share Jesus. One of my consistent Market Square Christian encouragers is a street musician, James. From talking to him, he has the fruit of a believer. He earns most of his money by playing his wooden flute in the downtown area. He helps me in handing out tracts. When a person drops a dollar in his hopper, he thanks them and gives them one of the tracts. If people stick around and visit with him, he starts sharing the Gospel with them.
I do find enjoyment from serving Jesus in this capacity. As time passes, I hope the Lord keeps giving me opportunities to evangelize. When the Lord gives you the opportunity to serve him, do it. I always want to make myself available to serve the Lord. If I could evangelize full-time, knowing my daily needs would be met, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I want to leave you with a quote from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon. There are many biblical ways to evangelize. Spurgeon has a way with words on strategy.
“All men are not to be reached in the same way, we must be wise to win souls, wise
with wisdom from above. We desire to see them conquered for Christ, but no warrior
uses always the same strategy; there is one for open assault, for another a siege, for
a third an ambush, for a fourth a long campaign.”