This is a recap of the past weekend’s outreach to the 2014 Gay Pride event in Minneapolis. I am part-time staff with the organization Trinity Works which has been prayerfully organizing this event for the past year. There is a long back story to this event, but the short version is this:
Love + Truth
The Church as a whole has responded in 1 of 2 ways towards the issue of Homosexuality.
- Way 1: Hatred. Many have seen the signs reading something like: “it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” or others engaging in verbal sparring matches. This may be true, but it does not accurately portray the attitude of God’s heart toward sinners.
- Way 2: Acceptance. Many other denominations have adopted an attitude of acceptance. Being homosexual is okay. The Bible isn’t to be taken literally.
- This Outreach attempted to combine Love (God’s heart for the sinner) with Truth (God is Holy, and calls us to be the same).
- It was an astounding success. The following was my experience, but hundreds of other laborers have their own to share. God is calling His Body to Holiness. He is calling us to not be afraid to speak His Truth in Love. He is calling us to shine like stars.
- Stats: This outreach was 24 hours/day for all 3 days of the Pride festival. Worship, prayer, intercession, and evangelism were all combined by uniting over 50 churches to send over 400 laborers into the harvest.
- In the 3 days:
- Over 2000 were approached
- Over 1000 were told the Gospel or Testimony
- Over 900 were prayed for
- Over 80 gave their life to Christ
- Many received healing
Thursday 6/26: Day 1
My team went out from 6-midnight. Each night began with an hour briefing on where we would be going, followed by extended worship and prayer to get our hearts ready. Pride wasn’t in full swing yet, so we were sent all over the city at our own discretion.
I was on a team of three. Between us, we talked and shared the Gospel with over 20 people. Some gay, some not. Some were hostile. Some not. A highlight of this night was our last encounter. We walked past a group of about 10 young men/women at a bus stop. They were laughing and rolling joints. All 3 of us stopped at the same time and had the same idea.
We entered to the bus enclosure and began sharing the gospel and asking for prayer needs. The ring leader was very loud and obnoxious, but agreed to be prayed for. This led to ‘loud prayer evangelism’, where we pray Scripture really loud so all can hear it. Several more allowed us to pray for them. Eventually, the smoke started getting a little thick, so I stepped back out for some fresh air. As I do, the ring leader steps out with me and we begin to talk. He is much more calm now that he’s not in the center of attention. He admits that he’s not living right and wants to change. We talk through “Wide is the path to destruction, narrow is the road to life….and Jesus is the off ramp/road”. He declares he’s ready for change.
He prays his own salvation prayer, and afterward I feel led to ask the Holy Spirit to fill him and talk to him. When finished, he says that God showed him a picture of a mustang (the horse). I asked what he thought that meant. He said, “He’s telling me I need to run. I need to run away from all of this stuff.”
Day 2: Night Clubs
For the second night, we sent many teams into the Gay clubs, hoping to start conversations. My team went to a local bar hosting a ‘male stripper night’. It wasn’t awesome, but some good things did happen. I started a conversation with another straight guy in line. He was there because there was no cover. We talked for about 15 minutes through the Gospel and he admitted that he has some new things to think through.
I also had a long talk with TJ (not his real name). He was there because his boyfriend of 10 years kicked him out. As we were talking, he asked what I was doing there. I told him that I was there because Jesus loves him and wants a relationship with him. The conversation died down after this. He tried to offend me by licking my face, but I was still able to share a few more words with him.
Finally, one of the dancers there was someone I encountered on the streets a year ago outside the Pride events. I was able to remind him that I’m still praying for him and give him my number once again. He gave me a big hug before we left.
Saturday: Loring Park
Saturday at Loring Park is crazy. There’s over 300 booths and the park is packed shoulder to shoulder with thousands of guests. My partner for this day was an older gentleman who had come out of the lifestyle years ago, but was new to evangelism.
As we were walking along, our first significant encounter was with 3 people at a food stand. As we were talking, it turns out that all 3 were on the Board of Directors for the entire Gay Pride Festival. On behalf of the Church, I apologized for any hurt we had caused them. It was well received and I feel like it was a significant encounter.
The next significant encounter was with 4 Pride attendees. As we explained what we were doing, 2 of them exclaimed that they were Board members of their church. They affirmed that it’s okay to be gay and Christian. We asked them how they felt about scriptures like 1 Cor 6 or Gal 5, dealing with sin and unholiness. They began to say that Buddha was very accepting of all things. I said, “I thought you were on the Church Board. Do you follow Buddha or Christ?” I reminded them that Buddha didn’t die for them, but Christ did and He called us to be Holy as He is holy. I shared what we heard in our training, that the opposite of Homosexuality is not Heterosexuality, but Holy. They countered with, “the Bible isn’t to be taken literally.” I found this argument a lot over the weekend. I didn’t want to get into arguments, so I restated that if we were not called to be Holy, then Christ died for nothing. If the Bible isn’t literal, then who decides what part is real and what part isn’t? Christ died for sinners, and we are called to pick up our cross and follow Him.
Then, it started to rain. A lot. It was a deluge. My partner and I hid in a tent with about 30 other people. As we’re in there, I look at the downpour and I’m reminded of the scripture saying, “in the last days, it will be as in the days of Noah.” I’m reminded of the rainbow God gave Noah, and I see the rainbow being used over this event. I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to say something.
So in the middle of the downpour, I turn to the 30+ others in the tent with me and preach something like: “How many have heard the story of Noah? Well the Bible says that in the last days, it will be just like the days of Noah. People will be eating, drinking and caring on, following their own desires. But judgement will come. Judgement is coming. Just as God provided a way out for Noah, He’s provided a way of salvation for you. His Name is Jesus Christ. God wants a relationship with you, but He is Holy. To be in a relationship with Him, you must be holy too. The only way to be holy is to follow Jesus.”
I invited them to prayer and to our Sunday event. No one really responded bad. No one threw anything at me or spit. They all listened intently. This was a huge answer to prayer and a big reason to thank all who were praying for us. I was really praying the God would silence the mouth of the enemy, and He totally did. No one retorted, they all listened.
We talked with many, many more (trans cookbook salesmen, gay store owners, gay alliance, straight business owners, ect). All listened. None were offended. Glory to Jesus.
On our way out, a man called out “Hey! You’re cute!” I responded, “well, thank you!”
This led to a 45 minute discussion with Charley (not his real name). Charley is a Christian. He goes to an Episcopal church that tells him it’s okay to be gay and Christian. He loves learning, but has never been told he can’t be gay by his Church. We talked at length about God wanting us to be Holy. Again, we stated the opposite of Homo is not Hetero. God doesn’t want you to stop being gay today so you can be a Christian. God wants you to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He wants you to be Holy, like He is Holy. He wants you to submit your desires to Him, because He is worthy.
Many, many, many of the party goers see no conflict with their sexuality and their spirituality. But in fact, what we found was:
- Their spirituality is formed by dead, life less churches. They have never been introduced to a real, living, breathing, loving Powerful God.
- Their sexuality is formed by media and porn. They’ve been fed lies and it’s worked. They don’t know about the beauty and majesty of a right relationship with God or with a spouse.
Sunday: the Parade
The main objective at the Parade was to invite folks in for free corn. The only catch was we would ask them to share their story. I could be the short version or long, whatever they were comfortable with. We had over 40 tables, most were full all the time. I was manning 1 of them. Here are my highlights:
- The first couple were 2 females together 3 years. They had 3 children and taught Sunday school at their Lutheran church in the ‘burbs. They were actually very appreciative that we were doing this. They stated that their church completely ignores the fact that they are gay. They never say anything about it. So it was refreshing for them to hear our stance. They did allow me to share the Holy version of the Gospel, which talks about original sin, dying to flesh, and following God. They allowed me to pray for them and left very appreciative.
- Many were not gay, but liked corn. They heard the Gospel anyway.
- I only had 1 young Catholic man get offended. He stormed off when I mentioned I believe homosexuality is a sin in the same category with stealing and lying. But, he forgot his bike helmet so I had to run out and give it back to him. It was cool to see the expression on his face change when he realized I wasn’t going to argue with him about anything. I was just there to share truth and love.
- A young man and his girlfriend were gay supporters. She works with many gays and has 2 gay roommates. His parents go to a large church, but he’s burnt out on the whole Church thing. We talk about a lot of things, but at the end she allows me to pray for her. She confesses that she feels warm inside. I ask, you don’t mean just the sunshine? “No…I feel warm on the inside.” That’s the Holy Spirit, I tell her. And He wants a relationship with you. It’s amazing to me how God can just show up when we ask Him to. I think her boyfriend was getting a little convicted at this point too. At least I hope so.
- A man “Matt” in his 20’s and his mom came for water. They didn’t want to talk. I should say, the mom didn’t want to talk. She was a Christian thinking that we were Christians who wanted to shame her son. Matt is trying to be a Christian, but really struggling with same sex attraction. He doesn’t know why God made him this way and doesn’t know what to believe. I shared my heart that I believe those who seek Him will find Him. The answer to his questions are found in hot pursuit of Christ’s holiness. Our questions are stilled in the Presence of God. He allowed me to pray for him, and I was able to give him some Christian resources.
- The last couple were 2 separate lesbians/bi-sexuals. We all swap our stories about religion. They get prayer and leave knowing that God loves them, but is calling them to something more. He’s calling them to Holiness.
I don’t have the final count for numbers, but I know that we fed a lot of people corn. I know the VAST majority of these people:
- are gay or gay supportive
- grew up or are going to dead churches
- listened the gospel
- got prayer
- over 20 gave their life to Christ on that parking lot.
Some were angry. Some did yell. But the majority were thankful that Christians were reaching out in Truth with Love.
I’m so encouraged that God moved. He allowed more than 1 to hear His heart for them without interference from the enemy. This was my story, but there’s about 400 more from all the other messengers. I really believe God is looking for those who will boldly proclaim His promises to a lost and broken generation. I want to be a part of what He is doing.
I publicly proclaim bold promises.
I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner.
I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me
if I could not be found.
I, the Lord, speak only what is true
and declare only what is right.