After a great day preaching at the University of Central Florida on Monday I was not able to make it back until today. Tuesday weather was in the high 30’s in Orlando, and Thursday it was raining most of the day and I ended up being scheduled to preach at a church far from where we are staying and far from the University of Central Florida.
This campus is a very good Friday campus unlike many campuses that have few classes and few students on Fridays.
After driving over two hours and battling some traffic we arrived somewhat later than I wanted but I began preaching in the brickyard area around 1:25 PM.
There were all sorts of displays and tables set up in the area. I began to gather a crowd and as soon as I did a group of male students got on the platform led by my chief Jedi heckler and began singing and doing a demonstration about the need for students to get flu shots.
Most of the crowd left just to spite me and the singing was too loud and too close by where I was preaching for me to continue.
On Monday I was preaching in front of the platform and had gathered a large crowd and was told to move as the crowd was blocking the entrance and told I needed a permit to speak there.
I decided to go and heckle my heckler and find out if they had a permit or not and when a crowd gathered would they ask the crowd to move.
I have a new Christianized suit jacket that reads in large letters on the back “Repent or Perish” and on the front it reads “Fear God” and “Jesus Saves”.
I began heckling the Jedi heckler leading the demonstration and the crowd doubled in size quickly to around 100. They were upset but I let him know this is what he always does to me once I gather a crowd and I asked to see their permit.
Their was a camera filming and everyone could read my jacket. During times when there was a break in the singing I would throw out Biblical one liners playing off of what they had been singing and talking about.
This demonstration finished at 2:00 PM and a police officer showed up with some adminstration. I asked why the crowd was not asked to move this time as the other day and asked if they had a permit.
I have been preaching regularly on this campus since 2006 and have never had any problems with police or adminstration but the officer seemed to insinuate at times he thought I had a problem following rules. I wanted to see a copy of their permit and wanted to find out for sure if the area they were sending me to was really the designated free speech spot for this area. I also wanted to know why I would need a permit and they would not.
It turned out they gave me a copy of the policy and the grass area behind the Chick Fila is the designated spot for the brick area. This is unconstitional as it is somewhat away from the chief place of concourse.
I decided to head over to the old green where I preached for years in front of the library and across from the fountain.
I began preaching in this spot around 2:20 PM and soon gathered a small crowd that continued growing. It seemed I was able to do some very effective preaching and I had some playful hecklers that did not interfere too much but helped keep things moving and build the crowd.
The crowd kept their distance, heckled some, asked questions and listened to me preach and answer questions. The crowd continued growing to around 80-85.
Someone from facebook contacted me to find out if I was preaching here this week and arranged to meet me. I checked out their wall and they seemed to be ok but I suppose I was not thorough enough.
When the guy showed up and introduced himself I continued preaching for sometime and gave him an opportunity to address the crowd. He let them know he was not a seasoned preacher and was somewhat timid and very non confrontational.
He lost 90% of the crowd within 5 minutes. It is interesting to note his approach is the approach most everyone thinks we should take and need to take. He was very non confrontational and nice to the students. He tried to have civil discussion and answer questions about the Bible and ended up driving the whole crowd away within five minutes. The crowd was so turned off by his approach they immediately scattered.
What draws crowds is the conviction of the Holy Ghost brought about by the preaching against sins, naming them, warning them of judgment and commanding them to repent and obey Jesus Christ.
The approach everyone wants and thinks we should take is highly ineffective.
He was a new preacher and this is typical and is how you learn to preach. Get out and attempt to handle the crowd. The experience sheds new light and revelation on armchair quarterbacks with zero experience.
Soon he was down to a few and I was having very good conversations on the sidelines.
A black male student had asked if I would be around until 4:30 PM when he got out of class. He had been listening to the preaching all afternoon very intently.
He and a female student I had sharply rebuked on Monday while she heckled me were asking me good questions and I believe the female was also seeking the truth and God was dealing with her. She told me she had read some things on my blog. Now she was listening intently to what I had to say and we were having a good discussion.
Around 5:00 PM I prepared to leave the campus and shook hands with the guy who came out to meet me and preach. I was very disappointed to find out he believed in “baptismal regeneration” and I told him I would not be able to preach with him in the future.