Each summer our church attends county fairs to hand out tracts and talk to people about the clear gospel of Christ.
Does it work? Yes!
Do we see hundreds of new people come out to our church afterward? No, this is not realistic. (People have come out to church from fairs and tracts before, but this is not our main objective.) If success is not measured by immediately getting more people in the pew, then where are the results? How do we measure success?
Here are a few ways.
Material Handed Out
After three county fairs this summer we handed out a few thousand tracts, hundreds of books, and many Bibles and charts.
Not everyone stops and talks to us, but scores take tracts, books, and other free material. This is literally putting God’s word into their hands, and this can be just as good if not better than speaking to them. Even church going Christians forget the pastor’s message the moment they leave church, but when people leave the fair they still have a printed tract with the clear gospel in their pocket.
It is not everyday or every fair that you know for certain someone gets saved, but when it happens it is a pleasure.
At each fair this year there was at least one person that admitted to hearing the gospel and understanding it for the first time at our booth. Though we tell the gospel to many people, we do not pressure anyone into a “confession” or pray them into a false conversion. So when someone voluntarily admits they understand God’s grace for the first time, it is a rewarding experience.
Questions & Conversations
Inevitably there will be conversations and questions asked at the booths, and it is wonderful. It is easy for churches to become introverted and develop groupthink by never speaking truth to anyone who does not think exactly like them.
Fairs, festivals, and community events are a great way to learn what people think about God, the Bible, the gospel, and help edify them with God’s word rightly divided.
When Christians come to our booth, I encourage them to take the “free Christian Bible study literature” so that they can use it in their personal Bible study.
How is rejection a measure of success? If you are rejected for the right reasons then it means you are communicating clearly. If you are never resisted by anyone, then either you are not communicating, or everyone agrees. Normally, it is a failure to communicate.
Not everyone is comfortable with rejection or failure, and it is a source of fear for many in evangelism. Don’t be afraid! The point of resistance can tell you what someone truly believes, and can help you communicate better to them. If the failure is yours, then it can be used to become better workmen.
Rejection is not the norm, but it does happen. The way you know a spiritual battle is going on is when you find yourself on the front lines taking fire. A little friction is needed to keep your edges sharp.
An important reason to do public evangelism at fairs is to advertise to the community that there are Christians who still believe their Bibles and preach the clear gospel.
At the fairs we attend there is never a Calvinist booth, only sometimes a Baptist booth, and at one fair the only other “church” ministry was the heretical Jehovah Witnesses. We received many comments of encouragement from cultural Christians at that fair just because we were the sole Christians making a stand! How sad, but also what a great opportunity for mid-Acts Pauline Bible believers!
When the only other semblance of Christianity is found in the Catholics, Jehovah’s Witness, and the ecumenical non-doctrinal churches, then there is a niche that needs filled.
There are also many people who do not know a Pauline grace church is a thing. There were more than a handful of folks who had heard of right division stop by our booth, but had never seen a church that taught it, not to mention doing ministry work to promote it. Praise God! They saw us because we left our building and took grace to the marketplace.
Not every minute of the fair is filled with talking and a-tracting people, but every minute of the fair there are others from Grace Ambassadors helping each other do ministry.
Fairs take more time investment than money. Thankfully, there were many folks from our church that helped with the fairs this year. Since we had booths in three different counties, there was opportunity for ambassadors to help out in fairs closer to home.
There is a camaraderie forged in the kiln of a humid fair building with nothing but tenderloins and funnel cakes to eat (some buildings are air conditioned). Standing together for a common belief is an expression of love for the truth, and the church is knit together by such labours of love. Our church grows together at the fairs.
There is a reason why Paul describes deacons in the church as having boldness in the faith (1 Tim 3:13). Boldness encourages others, and there is no other place this is more clear than in evangelism.
When you do evangelism work (not simply Bible study) it catches on. People in the church grow from it, get encouraged, and convictions start to show.
Every year we give a report about our fair work, and every year others are encouraged by it, and this is a great success. Many other folks without a church, or who are trying to start a church, have gained the courage it demands to sit behind a table with tracts and talk to people about their salvation and Bible study.
Success or Failure?
When you do a work it is good to evaluate whether what you do is successful and worth the time and money. While there are efforts that see no results, this summer’s fair work was not one of them. It was successful on many levels, and we are excited to do it again next year.
In the meantime, there are things to improve as we keep our eyes open for opportunities at fall festivals. We are God’s ambassadors making all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:9). How shall they see unless we put it on display?
Did we succeed? I think so. Thank you to everyone who helped make it so.
If you are interested in doing this sort of work at county fairs around you, read our evangelism section on the website for tips and instructions. All of our tracts are freely available online for you to print out, or for purchase from Ambassadors Publishing, Co.