Marquette Manor Baptist Church is the birthplace of The War and therefore of Minutemen Ministries. Years ago, then youth pastor Wayne Van Gelderen Jr. and his brother Jim came up with an idea to reach teens with the gospel. 37 years later, the program has been repeated thousands of times! Furthermore, the church still has a heart to reach teens with the gospel! Pastor Schlagel has had one of our teams in every other year for several years!
Our week was a very good one, but was a week full of battles. Recruiting was a challenge. Though you would think finding teens would be easy with the multiple thousands of people in close proximity, it was not. Our team sought the Lord to give us the recruits whom God wanted to bring out, and He did!
The battles were not over with recruiting, however. On the first night, a big ball popped during registration. During the competition, the sound system was behaving horribly. I couldn’t go father than 6 yards away without massive interference. My wife brought me the megaphone, but it died after a few minutes. We had two kids step out of tube tug because of over-exertion. Inside was still a battle in many ways—so much so that early in the message I just stopped mid-thought to pray against the enemy!
Each night presented its own unique battles, but each night also produced exciting fruit as well! On the first night, God gave us a stunning invitation where 18 teens came back in the invitation!
One of them, a young man named RJ, was recruited by Joseph. When Joseph told him about the competitions and free food, he was unconvinced. RJ asked him, “Do you have a chugging contest?” Joseph said, “Actually, yes! The first night!” He signed up and showed up the first night. When he saw Joe, he said, “I’m here for the chugging contest.” He threw himself into everything and was one of the first guys to go back in the invitation and get saved!
Another young man, Sean, raised his hand on the first night but did not go back in the invitation. Joseph went out to talk to him in the parking lot, but his two friends were heckling Joseph and being a general distraction. Joseph tried to lead Sean away from his friends, but they tried to follow. Sean turned to his friends and motioned for them to back off. Joseph talked to him and he revealed that he really was concerned for his soul. Joseph brought him in to Brendan who led him to Christ!
On the second night, a young man, Jared, came with his girlfriend. God was visibly working in his heart throughout the message, but at the invitation he didn’t go back right away. When one of the college students talked to him during the invitation he went back with him. In the counseling room,the college student and I presented the Scriptural salvation decision, and he trusted Christ!
Although there were a great number of challenges during the week, both physical and spiritual, God moved in spite of them and answered prayer and brought souls into the kingdom.
Overall, we had a total of 98 young people with a high night of 74. Over the three nights, there were 21 salvation decisions including one mother!