First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.
Eric Hankins, Pastor
Double Decker is a huge music and arts festival here in Oxford. Because of our city’s name, we kind of like English things, and we have a Double-Decker bus that’s run around town for years that is sort of our city’s mascot. Oxford is the literary and arts hub of Mississippi. Tens of thousands come for the weekend, which also is a big SEC baseball weekend.
Our church sponsored the Real Encounter Team as part of the festivities. The Real Encounter Team consists of evangelical Christians who perform stunts with BMX bicycles, motorcycles and ramps. The team drew about 1,000 people total to their three shows on our church parking lot just three blocks from all the other Double Decker activities.
At each performance, the Real Encounter Team’s leader told the crowds that he would be telling how Jesus Christ transformed his life. The result was that we saw more than 20 people pray to receive Christ. Several FBC members were wearing “Ask Me” shirts, which aided in making our evangelistic follow-up training extremely effective.
Later, some of us left our parking lot and walked into the center of the festival area as the evening fell and the partying cranked up. The “Ask Me” shirts sparked some really great conversations. I was asked why the sky was blue, if beer had to remain in cups or could be drunk straight from the can, and what I thought was the role of art in society. All of these inquiries were springboards for Gospel conversations. I learned that night that, by-and-large people are not hostile to talking about Christ. The main problem is that no one is engaging them.
(Ed’s. note: SBCToday applauds the evangelistic efforts of FBC Oxford for capitalizing on a public event and providing an intersection between culture and the Gospel.)