Sharing Jesus at Bike Week, Daytona
I drove over to Daytona with Bart Biddle, a missionary, and Sean Kelsey in Sean’s convertible for some street evangelism at Daytona’s Bike Week, one of the biggest parties for bikers around. Following in the other car is my brother Steven, my Dad David, and Daniel Morman. We arrived around 2:30 PM.
The funniest opportunity to preach was right after Sean, Bart, and I arrived in Daytona and parked on the fourth level of the parking garage. When we went over to the side wall of the fourth level we found ourselves overlooking the Daytona Lagoon, a water theme park, that had been turned into “The Rat’s Hole”, a hangout spot for bikers and loud music. There were probably about a hundred people walking around down there. We set our amplifier on the wall overlooking “The Rat’s Hole”, and Sean gave a brief greeting to the crowd to see if they could hear us. The funny thing was that after Sean gave his greeting, they turned down the music a bunch for us, not knowing who was trying to speak. A minute later, Sean greeted the crowd a second time a introduced ourselves. Then they turned off the music completely, which was hard to believe, so Bart preached to them for a few minutes mostly just reading a passage of Scripture. I was surprised that our amplifier was able to carry such volume, and the people down below were really surprised and it took them a few minutes to figure out where the preaching was coming from. Sean and I were kind of hiding back and laughing. It was a little unusual, I must agree, but it was quite funny and it appeared to be very effective! We went from there down to the boardwalk along the beach.
The most outstanding conversation of the day was with Brandon, who was probably in his mid-thirties. He told Bart and I that he grew up in Church of Christ, and that his brothers and uncle and dad and grandpa were pastors and evangelists and deacons. So he kept telling us that he already knew everything that we were telling him. He pretty much left with that after a few minutes. But then he came back a few minutes later and said that he did appreciate what we were doing, which gave us another chance to talk to him. This time we really challenged him on why he is playing with his life this way, when he knows he is away from God. We could tell that he was feeling convicted but still wasn’t deciding to do anything about it. So to end the conversation, I read him I John 1:5-9, which he tried to interrupt saying he had already heard, but I insisted on it, so he allowed me to read it to him. With that we left him to do some thinking, and I trust that God can get his attention.
After that we talked with four bikers for probably ten minutes and got to share a lot of truths with them that seemed to be causing them to think. They were just about to get on their bikes and leave, so one guy already had a strange mask on that covered his face and small goggles. He took them off after a couple of minutes so we could talk to him. One of them went to church regularly and apparently had been trying to get his friends to come. They took into great consideration our warnings to repent and draw near to God, and they were all listening intently and responding positively to our message. I trust that they will not just give head-service, but that they will carry on to do something about what they heard.
After we tried a few more conversations, Bart was ready to go to the streets and preach. So we went to the corner of Main Street and Atlantic Avenue and set up our amplifier. Then while Bart started preaching, Sean and I traveled slowly around the four corners of that intersection to see if they could hear us above the roar of motorcycles and to see the reaction of the crowd. It was audible above the motorcycles, and there were a lot of people listening in to hear him preach. Someone commented that they were surprised that they could hear Bart above all of the noise. When we got back over to Bart’s corner, another man came over to tell me to let Bart know that the people were hearing us. For the next little while, I just stood near Bart and listened intently to the preaching to set an example for the crowd to follow, which many of them did! I also interacted with a number of people when they had something to say. It was very interesting! After about an hour and a half, I went across Main Street to join James and Carrie from the Bible Baptist team that we know from Downtown Orlando on Saturday nights! I spent a while talking with James and then began handing out my “What if... I’m pretending” tracts. They were well received; probably about two-thirds of the people that I offered them to accepted them.
The most unique story from my night was with three young ladies on my corner who were sarcastically criticizing Bart’s preaching. I went beside them and handed them the “What if... I’m pretending” tracts, which they accepted. And then this was one of their reactions, which I could overhear as I continued handing them out nearby: “O great, as if we weren’t feeling convicted enough by the preaching, then some guy comes up to us and hands us some thing that says ‘what if I’m pretending’. It’s like, do you think God might be trying to tell us something.” I didn’t feel comfortable trying to start up a conversation with them, since I didn’t have anyone who would join me, but I figured God would keep communicating His message to them somehow. I spent the rest of the night shivering from the cold (apparently it got into the forties or low fifties and the wind was piercing) and watching the crowd mostly. I also spent a bunch of time with our friends from Bible Baptist before they left and one other group of believers who were down there later that night preaching and talking with people. We got home around 2AM that night with a lot of stories, a lot of seeds planted, a lot of hearts convicted of sin, and very likely a few souls won into the kingdom of God after the Holy Spirit spends some time working that seed into their hearts! It was an outstanding night in preaching the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven!