Nearly 200 saved at Outdoor Expo
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Although one man left a recent Outdoor Expo at Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, La., with a new $14,000 electric hunting utility vehicle, nearly 200 men went home with something far more valuable: a new relationship with Jesus Christ.
More than 1,500 men attended Cypress Baptist’s Outdoor Expo, Sept. 15, where they ate hotdogs, boudin, wild game and gumbo and listened to Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, share his stories of hunting leopards, waterbucks, hartebeests, giraffes, lions, elephants and other big game in sub-Saharan Africa.
“If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, there is nothing like it in the world,” Patterson said after telling his audience about his close call with a lioness that he brought down moments before she pounced on him. He also shared how he once hunted a hippopotamus and fed starving African villagers with its meat.
“Gentleman, we’ve got a serious problem in this country,” Patterson said as he ended his presentation. “We’ve got a country where one out of every two little boys has grown up in a home without a daddy. It’s a tragic situation. Every little boy needs to have a daddy in the home.”
Patterson urged the men at the Outdoor Expo to become good fathers and grandfathers, reminding them that their children will follow them wherever they go.
“Even if you’re a sorry, no-account, abusive father, little boys glory in their fathers. And if you’re a good father, you do some things to build into that boy things that will save his life if he ever has to go to war, things that he needs to know to succeed in the world. Every little boy needs a daddy. But can I tell you what no little boy needs. No little boy needs a daddy that is going to take him to hell.
“Whatever it is daddy does, that is what the son does. … And so dear friend, if you go to hell, as you fall across into hell forever look behind you: Your kid will be following right along.”
Patterson then presented the Gospel message, after which 186 men professed faith in Christ and 22 men expressed interest in learning more about the Gospel. He later commended Cypress Baptist Church for hosting such a successful and well-organized event in order to proclaim the Gospel to a largely unreached audience.
“Pastor Fream, his staff, and his men prepared for this event in a stellar fashion,” Patterson said. “I would suppose that more than half of the men there were lost. The amount of prayer and personal invitation, as well as the decorations, all demonstrated great care and great concern for these men. I have not seen it done any better than Cypress did it. And of course God rewarded them and blessed their effort.
“One of the reasons that I spend as much time doing these events is that the vast majority of our churches are simply missing the audience when it comes to the average man. When men can get together to talk about hunting, fishing, or almost any outdoor activity, they are always most interested in doing so and do not hesitate to listen to the presentation of the Gospel as a part of it. It is a unique opportunity to reach men and boys.”
According to John Fream, pastor of Cypress Baptist Church, a team of about 40 men organized the Outdoor Expo with a desire to “reach lost men with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” These men planned well and raised money so the entire event could be free and so the church could offer great prizes for the outdoorsmen who gathered at the Expo. Alongside a $14,000 electric hunting utility vehicle, the church gave away 15 shotguns, a pirogue boat, pheasant hunt, deer feeders, deer stands and other gifts. Fream said area businesses and Sunday school classes at the church donated some of these gifts.
Fream also said that the church makes a point to follow up with those men who came to Christ or expressed interest in the Gospel.
“Those men will immediately receive a letter from me,” Fream said. “We will then seek to contact all local men with a visit to discuss their decision and invite them to our church. If they live out of town, we will contact a church in their area after we call the individual. If they have a church home, we will send their information to the church they attend.”
And with such efforts, Fream and the men at Cypress Baptist Church have succeeded in bringing the Gospel to men—a population that too often eludes the outreach of local churches.