First Baptist Church of Napoleon is situated just outside of Jackson, MI and sits in the center of town. Pastor Reggie Coleman is a good friend to the ministry and has had our teams several times over the years. Each time, the team had a small amount of contacts, but many attended. However, this year was different.
When we arrived and got oriented, we realized that recruiting was going to be a challenge. Napoleon itself, though situated outside of Jackson, is a very small town. There are probably only a couple hundred teens in the city and the outlying rural areas. We were going to have to be strategic in our approach.
Thankfully, Pastor Coleman had a database of over 200 young people who had attended the church at some point with addresses and ages. In addition, the new mobile video game Pokémon GO had a lot of young people walking around town looking at their phones. We were able to use that list and some online map tools to thoroughly saturate the area with recruiting! Even at that, though, we were only able to recruit just over 200 people.
When it came to the first night, our hearts were in turmoil, the weather seemed to be promising disaster, and we looked to the Lord to deliver. The Lord gave us a small (in size and number) but decent crowd, he held off the weather, and brought us a number of victories in the counseling room afterward.
One young man named William had absolutely no background in God or the Bible. He came back very concerned for his soul and wanted to get saved, but broke down crying because he didn’t know how to pray. Once he realized prayer was a simple conversation with God in which he counted on Christ to save him, he readily prayed and trusted Jesus alone to save him. He had several questions each night just to make sure he properly understood. His hunger was very encouraging and refreshing!
On the final night, one young lady named Emily talked to Allie about getting information to come back to church. Allie asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. Emily told her that she knew she was going to hell and her face said that she was relieve that Allie asked her about it. She told her that she had been afraid all week to talk to anyone about it was hoping someone would come to her! After Allie shared her testimony and a simple gospel presentation, Emily bowed her head and trusted Jesus alone to save her. She looked up, her face glowing with the joy of the Lord, and gave Allie a huge hug.
God gave us a small crowd each night, but he did bring new people who needed to be saved each night. We hadn’t fully realized it until after the first night, we we found ourselves competing with the biggest country music festival in the midwest during our event each night, which doubtless cut into our attendance. And yet, we praise the Lord that overall we had 46 people attend and 12 trust Christ over the three nights! God is good.