Supernatural. That’s really the only way to describe what happened in Shawano, WI last week. Pastor Matthew Weber, a graduate from Baptist College of Ministry planted Shawano Baptist Church a year ago. The church is growing and they are excited, but they’d never quite done an outreach like this in Shawano before. What God did blew us all away!
Our team arrive on Saturday feeling very weak. Two of the team members were sick and one of them still had ankle problems. The rest of us were exhausted. When we found out that we were going to be doing the Cola Clash in an unenclosed pavilion at a public park, I think we all were not exactly excited about the extra work in was going to mean for us all. One thing that was very encouraging was that Jonathan, the Coke team captain from the 2015 summer, was interning there and was back in the saddle with our team.
As we went out recruiting, nothing was particularly different. Though we definitely saturated the teen segment of the population during our two days out, getting 347 recruits out of the approximately 500 teens in the town!
When the first night came, God brought us over 70 teens! The competition was intense—so intense, in fact, that a young man fell to the ground convulsing in a seizure and effectively ended our first competition. Thankfully, the team members were able to conduct an early team meeting while we dealt with the situation (The young man recovered safely. In fact, he even came back and finished the night out with us!). Team spirits were hot and the score was close—the perfect recipe for a good night!
But what happened next cannot be attributed to “a perfect recipe” or anything like that. When the gospel was being preached, the whole pavilion listened intently. When the invitation came, immediately half the crowd stood to their feet and went to the baseball field to believe the gospel. We had dozens of young people trust Christ as their Savior that night—34 to be exact!
One young lady so understood the finished work of Christ on the cross that she looked at her counselor and asked, “So, if Jesus paid for all of our sins, why in the world do we need to do communion and confession?” Another young man came back claiming he had already trusted Christ, only to find that he was counting on obeying the 10 commandments to get him to heaven. We had some counselors dealing with five teens at a time—several of these counselors had been saved only less than a year themselves, but they did excellently! Our team and the church folk were blown away with what God did.
On the second night, we weren’t totally sure what to expect. But God had more for us. Eight more young people trusted Christ and several came back in the invitation again, not to get saved again, but with tender hearts wanting to pray for their siblings and relatives to come to Christ! One young man broke down and wept for his family to be saved, another asked for pray that his atheist brother would trust Christ. God was working on so many different levels!
On the final night, several exciting things happened. A young man who had been led to Christ on the first night by a new believer in the church tracked down a young person after the preaching on the final night and led him to Christ! Several others trusted Christ to save them as well.
All in all, we had 102 young people hear the gospel with a high night of 71. When the dust had settled, 47 teens had trusted Christ! That. Was. God.