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Evangelism Gone Wrong? Part 2: Get Back on the Horse

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So you blow it as an evangelist. You mess it up. Should you quit and head back to the pew never to stick your neck out again? Of course not. Quitting is never an option. (Click here to read my BIG mistake in part 1.)

My friend Steve Pivovaroff wanted to hang it up a few weeks ago when he (at my urging) preached to an unwitting high school band waiting to march in the Golden Dragon Parade in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Here’s how it went down:

Right in the middle of a wonderful presentation of the Law and Gospel, two older women took issue and shouted at him to stop though he was doing nothing wrong and had every right to be there. Being an apt pupil, Steve heeded my earlier advice to always continue with the message no matter who tries to interrupt you, unless of course, the interrupter has a gun.

Fortunately for Steve, these women had no guns.

Since they couldn’t stand being ignored by the big man they resorted to drastic measures. One woman took matters into her own hands and did something that shocked even me!

She reached around Steve and… and… unplugged him! Can you believe it? Right in front of everybody! Steve was undone, outwitted and dumbfounded by this devious and highly uncalled-for act of willful anti-evangelistic antagonism.

What did he do?

Like all willing and ready-to-learn evangelists, he made a mistake. A BIG mistake. “Don’t touch my stuff!” he shouted at the woman. “Don’t touch my STUFF! Hey! Hey!” he protested, trying to swat away the objectivist’s hands. “Don’t, DON”T! TOUCH! MY! STUFF!!!”

A hush fell upon the bystanders. The marching band’s tuba player blew an off-key note somewhere in the distance. The evangelist  was beaten. Silenced by feminist frustration.

“It’s over, Steve,” I said, gently tapping him on the shoulder to come down off the box. “They won.”

I explained to “Mr. Piv” that the customer is always right in a confrontation. If they unplug you, let them. If they hit you, ignore them. If they throw something, catch it in the jaw with joy. The last thing the world needs to see is another argumentative Christian. “Let them have the last word. Heck, they had to listen to you.”

Head down, Steve understood, then wanted to go crawl in a hole.

I wouldn’t let him.

“You got to get back up on the box, bro. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t let that defeat you.”

“I can’t. That’s it. I have to wait awhile. I really messed it up.”

“No excuses,” I warned. I pushed him forward with my two bare hands. “C’mon. There’s another group.”

Reluctantly. Slowly. Cautiously. Steve Pivovaroff plugged his mic back in to the speaker. He then walked deliberately toward his preaching stool and took one step up. Then another.

He got back on the box.

R.A. Torrey said this in regard to some of the mistakes of open air preaching over a hundred years ago:

“Don’t lose your temper. Whatever happens, never lose your temper. You ought never to get angry under any circumstances, but it is especially foolish to do so when you are holding an open air meeting. You will doubtless have many temptations to lose your temper, but never do it. It is very hard to hit a man when he is serene, and if you preserve your serenity, the chances are that you will escape unscathed. Even if a tough strikes you, he cannot do so a second time if you remain calm. Serenity is one of the best safeguards. Don’t fight. Never fight under any circumstances. Even if they almost pound the life out of you, refuse to fight back.” (CLICK HERE TO READ PART 3)


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