Flea Market Outreach

IMG_3159On Saturday, June 16, we rented a booth at the local flea market for the first time, in order to set up a table and share the Gospel with folks passing by. Due to the registration rules and timing, we were only able to get a table outside the main market buildings, which posed some challenges — including being out in the sweltering Carolina heat and the prospect of considerably less foot traffic coming by our booth. Additionally, we were warned there was a booth of Jehovah’s Witnesses near our location.

God had a plan.

To deal with the heat, we procured a 10×10 canopy tent from the local hardware store. As for location, we gladly chose the closest available booth to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I brushed up on their teachings (by reading Ray Comfort’s “World Religions in a Nutshell” and John Gerstner’s “The Teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses“) in case we had any interactions with them.

Unlike our previous Gospel booth attempt, we were not allowed to give away free bottled water, so we had to rely on free Bibles as a draw. Because we were out of practice, I created a survey “cheat sheet” for myself, combining the exploratory questions of Evangelism Explosion with the “good person quiz” of The Way of the Master to create, what I called, a simple, non-confrontational “church survey.”

I didn’t have much luck asking passersby to take my church survey, so my wife started engaging people with the Million Dollar Bill and Optical Illusion tracts, which worked best to capture their interest. After joking around with them, she asked if they would take our church survey, which they normally did — and I was able to go through the questions and share the Gospel with them.

My wife drew them in with the funny tracts, then passed them off to me for the Gospel message. People walked away from our booth with a free Bible and an appreciation for our short time together.

Thankful for doing my homework beforehand, I did run into several Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was the first time I’ve engaged with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I was prepared. I knew what they were going to say, and I had an answer. Surprisingly, one made a similar argument as that of Muslims — that what we call the Bible today has been corrupted since Jesus’ time. It’s much easier to prove this wrong with Muslims, because their “prophet” Muhammad actually promoted the Old and New Testaments (Torah, Zabur/Psalms, and Injil/Gospel) in the Qur’an. You can easily show that the Bible he promoted at the time of his life (571-632 A.D.) is the same Bible we have today based on the dating of the manuscripts in existence. This Jehovah’s Witness admitted that the Dead Sea Scrolls were “problematic” to his argument.

Another woman I interacted with believed that she was sinless. I went through the normal 3 or 4 commandments, but when she denied breaking those, I went through all 10. When she denied breaking those, I explained how Jesus said even thoughts of hate or lust make us guilty of breaking God’s law (see Matthew 5:21-30). But still she denied her guilt. To which, I told her that she didn’t need Jesus. He came to save sinners, not the righteous.

One woman laughed at the commandments and explained that I was talking to an adult entertainment promoter. By God’s grace and providence, I happened to bring a Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bible with me and gave it to her.

The biggest surprise to me was just how many Spanish-speaking folks came by the table. I’d say about half the people we interacted with spoke Spanish. And about half of those had a child that could help us translate. Thankfully, we did have a bunch of Spanish tracts and Bibles, which we liberally gave to them. (We’re definitely going to need more Spanish Bibles!)

After three hours of this, we decided to pack up our booth and head home. Most of the foot traffic died down around noon, and many other booths also packed up.

When I got home, I immediately signed up for Rosetta Stone, so I could quickly learn Spanish. My goal is to share the Gospel in Spanish before the end of the year.

Will you consider joining us for our next outreach event?

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