Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ogden Outreach Outcome

Sent to a Christian friend in Utah who asked how last month's missions trip there went:

Hi Thomas,
Thanks for your notes and I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m back in Arizona now. Had a great time there in Ogden.

We stayed in the home of Grant Kolkow and his family. He is planting a church in Ogden. They have been meeting for about a year in the Marriott in central Ogden, and are up to about 27 regulars. I was surprised at the maturity level of most of the people; most had already tried other churches in Ogden (some, for years) and were hungry for a church that teaches Scripture, not man-centered, seeker-sensitive fluff. Grant is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary (John MacArthur) and his doctrine and methodology are very close to MacArthur’s.
We went to the finish line of the Ogden Marathon and attempted to strike up evangelistic conversations and invite people to church. Gave out a lot of flyers but we found it very hard to get into conversations with people. I’m not totally sure whether it was just a tough crowd or we just were wrestling with too much fear of man. Most people were in a hurry to get somewhere (meeting family members running in the race, departing the race, etc.) or were exhausted from just having run the race.
On Sunday afternoon there was a public baptism in the creek in the Ogden Botanical Gardens. (Beautiful!) About 50 people showed up for this, and there were plenty of non-Christians walking by on the trail. None of them stopped to talk, although again we did give out some flyers.
On Monday evening we went door to door in north Ogden, in what is apparently a strongly Mormon neighborhood. We were hosted there by a man who just became a Christian back in January. His wife is “on the fence”, and he has 3 kids. I admire his guts in having us over to his own neighborhood; to some extent this will be the first time for some of them to know that he is no longer a Mormon. We went door to door (split into 5 groups) and basically the line we settled on was “Would you be interested in an invitation to a Bible teaching church?” We held out a flyer while saying this. It was interesting to watch the people’s faces when they heard this. Most of them said “no” although most were friendly. 4 of the 5 groups had at least one good conversation. My group had just one, with a woman who was a Christian already (former LDS) and was very excited to learn that there was another Christian in her neighborhood. She seemed interested in attending church. It will be interesting to hear whether she actually comes tomorrow.
On Tuesday we went to Weber State University. We were there from about 10:30 to 1:00 PM. The Kolkows had already arranged that we could set up a table in the “free speech zone” which is the square right behind the statue, in front of the administration building. I don’t know whether they had to notify the university that we were coming, but I don’t think so. We could also have done open air preaching in that location, if we had wanted. (The square is a central location in the campus, but at least that morning the foot traffic was light, and our energies were better spent doing one on one conversations than attempting to collect a crowd.) We were also allowed to walk anywhere on campus (outside the buildings) and talk to people and distribute tracts. And we were allowed to go inside the student union building and talk to people. I was amazed that we had so much access. Now I want to find out whether I can do the same thing at the community college near my home in Arizona. I had a number of great conversations (including one with three guys from Saudi Arabia) and this was my favorite part of the whole trip.

Tuesday evening we went door to door in the Riverdale community (the neighborhood of another man in the church). This neighborhood seemed a little more receptive than North Ogden. My partner and I spent about 40 minutes talking with one sparky 80 year old woman who was raised LDS and raised her kids LDS, but is now more of a spiritual “freelancer” who doesn’t want to submit to anything or anyone.
The team went to the Mormon Temple in SLC the next day. Two female LDS missionaries approached two of our women there to proselytize. Our women evangelized them back. It was a cordial conversation and they were surprised when 3 male LDS security guards came up a couple minutes afterward and said that they had been “intimidating” the female missionaries. The team left the visitor center at that point, under escort from the guards. (One of our guys did get to witness, on the side, to one of the guards. He actually seemed receptive!) As the team members were leaving the building, they saw the female LDS missionaries from a distance, and they looked like they’d been crying.
I hope that this encourages you and gives you some ideas about possible outreach strategies. Let me know if you have any questions!

In the joy of the gospel,


1 comment:

  1. One very bad witness is when Mormons here of Christians voting for Willard. It is idiotic to be a Christian and then choosing a nonChristian to be ruling over oneself. I think when Mormons see this they see hypocrisy.