Recap: 2023 St. Patrick's Day Parade Outreach
March 17th was our annual evangelism "season" kickoff outreach at the Des Moines St. Patrick's Day Parade. This year's event was sponsored by Pastor Shawn Barr of Grace Fellowship Church along with Jon Neifert of Tulip Gospel Outreach, who leads the Pella Tulip Time Outreach every year. It was a great event. Of the nineteen people who shared the gospel at the parade route, thirteen had never done this before and were excited to be a part of it.
The event started with breakfast, prayer, and a teaching on how to share the gospel to strangers. The Zoom meeting with Ray Comfort of Living Waters and Tony Ramsek of Answers In Genesis was a bust because of technical difficulties, with most of our questions not being answered. Pastor Shawn filled in with some last-minute tips which helped those who have not done this before.
Sharing the gospel at the parade was amazing and totally one of the best times I had since first doing this event in 2005. The best part was my fearless partner, Ruth, from our fellowship. You can get my recap of the event on my website at PensAndWrenches.com.
Ruth's Thoughts On the Outreach
The following was Ruth's thoughts on the outreach:
It was the easiest way for me to approach strangers because I could share about what St. Patrick's day was really about. It literally opened up the way to share the gospel. I found it really comfortable and exciting. I'm sure you could see that as well. I love that others were receptable to even receive and want so a Bible. I was able to give all the Bible's away. I was so amazed on my walk with God yesterday. He opened up that path ahead of time. I knew He was preparing their hearts. It's like they were really wanting to know with joyful hearts. I have never in my life experienced anything like this. I've signed up for everything that God has put in my path. It was an experience with God like I've never known. It was amazing. It has fired up to share more. My heart is most definitely wanting more!!! I'm even in contact now with the one lady that Jesus prepared to continue on with and to help lead her to Jesus. Wow!!!! There's nothing like sharing the Gospel! - Ruth
Tracting A Parade
Passing out gospel tracts and sharing the good news at a parade is the easiest way to get your feet wet and get yourself talking to strangers. All you need is a smile and the rest is easy.
When you approach people, have the tract in your hand so that they can see what it is. Look them in the eyes, put a big smile on your face, and as you extend the tract to them, say, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" 98% of the time someone will say with a smile back, "Thank you, Happy St. Paddy's Day to you too!" And take the tract. It's that easy.
If someone asks you what it is, honestly answer, and use this as a conversation starter, or at least wet their appetite to want to read it. Here are several suggestions:
If the tract has a theme like the story of St. Patrick, tell them, 'It talks about the history of St. Patrick along with a positive gospel message inside.'
'This is a gospel tract that talks about the good news of Jesus Christ and why He had to suffer and die so that we can be with Him and live forever.'
'I'm sharing the same gift someone gave me (# of years ago) years ago that changed my heart, my life, and my destiny; and I wanted to share it with you today.'
Come up with a personalized way you can answer. We can lead a horse to water, but can't make them drink. But what we can do is salt the oats and give them something to think about so that they want to drink that living water the same way Jesus did with Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26). She begged Him saying, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." (John 4:15). He salted the oats and presented the living water of Himself that she craved (John 4:26).
Consider coming with me to our next event to share the gospel. My job as an Evangelist is to show you, teach you, and help you be better equipped for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).