An Inside Look at Super Bowl Outreach 2013
By Seth Capps / Founder at Texas Missionary Society
There are really no words to describe the experience I felt, and saw, and was a part of at Super Bowl Outreach 2013. I’m going to attempt to put it into words, but there really are no words to fully describe it, without actually being a part of it. The joy, the fellowship, the mourning, the sadness, but yet the sense of being used of God in a mighty and glorious way. The trials and the testing, which seemed to bring an utter and almost absolute sense of our desperate need for God. The teaching and training, the iron sharpening iron and the growth. The fifteen to seventeen hour days of laboring with brothers and sisters from all over the U.S., and really the world. They were from many different “orthodox” denominations, but who hold to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. What an encouragement it was, what a time of growth and even motivation it was. Even the team that God placed me with was a great encouragement to me. An awe inspiring crew.
The joy I felt as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel with fervent believers from all over the world was unmatched. It was the first time I had met many of the people. However, as I sat down and talked with these brothers and sisters for a few minutes, one of the things that began to stand out in my mind is that these are true believers. That these people really did love the Lord and it showed in the love they had for one another and the passion they had to share the gospel with the lost. The fellowship that we had there was almost unbelievable. Many of these people I have known for a while, but to meet some of them for the first time and instantly feel like they are closer than family can only be explained by the power of the gospel. Some may not have known “all” the great doctrines in the faith as none of us fully have a comprehensive grasp of; however, you could tell that they were growing in truth. You just had a sense that God was truly raising up laborers into His harvest. Someone once said that soldiers that have fought in battle together have a bond like no other. I felt that at this outreach. We all knew that we were going straight into one of the enemy’s greatest strongholds. Not only was it the Super Bowl, but Mardi Gras was going on at the same time. We prayed for this event for a long time before the outreach as a group on party lines and in secret for Revival, but also for God to protect our eyes and hearts from many of the things we would see and hear and to prepare our hearts so that we could minister to them. I believe He answered our prayers. Although the fellowship was great, there was a real sense of mourning for the people there. All people need the gospel, but I think we tend to not really see the urgency until a concentrated supply of the wickedness of mankind is on display for everyone to see. That’s what went on there. As we began to engage the people through open air proclamation, one to one evangelism, and by handing out gospel tracts we began to see very quickly our need for the Lord of Glory to come down to open hearts and minds that our efforts would not be in vain. It was so sad to see these brothers and sisters who had been training their minds and hearts diligently to love these people through studying to show themselves approved; and who were giving their time and money to come here and share the love of Christ with others. They had prayed for months for them only to receive mocking and scorn, things being thrown at them, and spitting in their faces. After our first day we were extremely tired, yet all I wanted to do is pray. So I went in the chapel with some brothers and we prayed. We prayed in tears for God to move on this place. For God to make our hearts pure so that we could look these lost and dying people in their eyes and share the love of Christ with them, but most importantly for God to be glorified in the salvation of these people. We saw our utter hopelessness without God, but also our great need to be there and a real sense that God was using us in a mighty way. If nothing else, we could tell that hearts were being stirred by our presence there. Some of the things I heard people say in rejection of God and His word stirred me as well. We had a real sense that even though many of the people there were mocking and saying harsh things that it was ultimately Christ they were mocking and that it was an honor to suffer in this very small way for His namesake.
So many things went on here that caused us to reply upon each other and upon Christ. I’ll give you an example. A few times while I was open air preaching there were hecklers who would engage me. They would ask legitimate questions that actually made me think they were seeking truth. I would labor with them to explain the gospel or whatever apologetic answer they would ask me about and I even stepped down from the box once to talk to one of them. I labored with them for a good while, but after some time I finally began to realize that they did not want answers at all. But instead they were there merely to try to keep us from preaching the gospel. I would have never assumed that if it had not been so blatantly obvious. It’s shocking for us to hear this, but when we pull out God’s chosen weapon ( the gospel ) to save people it seems that the devil will stop at nothing to keep it from being proclaimed. I eventually was convicted to shake the dust off of my feet and I finally told one of them “Look, I really want to help you, but it is pretty obvious that you don’t want help.” and then I gave him a gospel tract and went back to preaching. We eventually changed our method and decided not to engage hecklers. Whoever was preaching, the people handing out tracts would engage the heckler rather than the preacher himself. This allowed the gospel to continue to go forth. The spiritual battle raged on so intensely at times that once, we stopped handing out tracts for a while and prayed silently for the people’s eyes to be opened while the preacher preached. We were truly thrown at the Master’s feet for help the entire mission. It was this way from the time we got there until the time we left. It is truly our greatest need to see our utter helplessness without Him. To give you a picture from our perspective of the battle, the moment our team arrived at the location where we would be ministering most of the time, we were met by a very unstable, violent looking man who looked like he might have been on drugs or maybe even demon possessed. I had a cross that I carry with me to minister that had a question written on the front of it. It says “ARE YOU READY”. The man walked right up to me upon arrival and very aggressively engaged me saying, “What do you know about that cross.” I said, “Quite a bit, what do “you” know about this cross.” He answered with a question, “What do you know about the Son of David.” I said, “His name is Jesus Christ.” He immediately said, “WRONG ,I am the Son of David,” and then very aggressively spun around and pulled his shirt up to show me a large tattoo stretched across his upper back that supposedly proved that he was the Christ. I said, “No, you’re not the Son of David.” At that point he got right in my face and looked as though he was going to get violent. I then realized our mission was about to end before it began. I was responsible for our entire crew, so I just said to the man, “congratulations,” and then we all walked off. Later, we found out that same man spit in another preacher’s face and broke his glasses. Another preacher also spotted a knife on him. So, that should give you some sense of the drama that we encountered there. But, on a positive note we had great encouragement daily as we would go back to the mission we were staying at; we would have corporate prayer and worship and then some most excellent speakers would speak to us on evangelism, local church accountability, and accountability in the home. One of whom (Sam Waldron) is the author of several books including the modern exposition of the 1689 London Baptist Confession. We would leave the mission to go out and evangelize with great encouragement, equipping and enabling. Not only this, but the measure of fellowship that we experienced was unmatched. I have ministered with many of these brothers and sisters before, but it was really a time of growth to fellowship with many veterans who have ministered in many different circumstances that are there to help you; and even many novices who haven’t got the experience, but do have a white hot passion for the Lord and for the lost. It is truly a great time of iron sharpening iron.
The long days worshipping the Lord and laboring with His faithful saints from all over the world from different “orthodox” denominations will give you the help and motivation you need to go back home and be bold witnesses for Christ.
One thing that was a great encouragement to me and eye opener was a man named Dave Dunbar, who is a Pastor of a local church in Dallas, Texas. He was there with us faithfully sharing the gospel on the streets. I had heard of the great Pastors from the past such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who has gone down in history as the prince of preachers, going out from the pulpit and into the streets to proclaim. And I always felt that pastors should be models for their congregations and teach them to evangelize, but I had never seen a pastor preaching outside of a church building until now. I asked Dave what it was like to do this and how it affected His pastoral work because I knew that pastors had a great responsibility to prepare expository messages for their congregations, etc. His answer was pretty simple, “It’s a matter of prioritizing. It’s a matter of logistics.” “Obviously, we must work hard to prepare expository messages, but there are so many things that we do as well that we should just cut out and designate for others.” And then he quoted Spurgeon: “No sort of defense is needed for preaching out-of-doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting house.” My intention in telling this is in hopes that this article would encourage pastors to follow suit when they are doing so many other things that could be designated at the least. I hope that it may motivate you or someone you know to at least give their congregation an opportunity to follow them out to evangelize. Just as Timothy was given the exhortation to do the work of an evangelist in scripture. In biblical evangelism we don’t always see fruits of our labor until glory, but many times we do see fruit. What was the fruit of this trip? It was growth, it was motivation, it was hope for a lost and dying world. All great true revivals from the past have been a result of fervent prayer and open air proclamation. This trip was another testimony to that. We did see a lot of conviction of sin, brokenness, and many who seemed to be sincere when they said they were going to repent and believe the gospel. Even some in tears over their sin. Nonetheless, there truly was a great impact on that city. Anyone could tell that. It can be summed up by the statement a cab driver made to us, “You guys are the ones that all my customers have been talking about all day.” When the saints sit in the ark and wait for the flood not much happens. But when the saints go marching out, God is glorified and people see the reality of Christ’s power lived out through His saints and in His gospel.
To learn more about the teachings of Pastor Dave Dunbar visit the website of Grace Bible Church of Allen Texas