Boardwalk EvangelismIMG_7772

Thousands file past the last wooden structure on the boardwalk in the Wildwoods. For 69 years, God has placed a witness there. And we were a part of that this past week. As people head toward the neon lights, they are beckoned by what’s going on in that one place on the boardwalk that is like no other. Skits are being rehearsed, songs sung, kids mill about. Just inside the doorway is a free game — answer a series of questions and find out where you are headed, heaven or hell. Don’t worry, if you get some answers wrong, someone is always there to explain it to you, to share the pure gospel with you and invite you to learn more, and to come to the nightly program. At that program, visitors are attracted by the Blues, by drama, by musical performances, testimonies of grace, apologetic discussions, and the proclamation of the word of God.

IMG_7734Face to Face

After the program, there is a seminar. It may be apologetics; it may be evangelistic methods; it may be something else, but whatever the topic of the evening, it’s a serious and quality education. But the real education comes afterward, when the team hits the boardwalk.  “Hi, are you guys here on vacation?” “Oh yeah?, Where from?” “We’re from the boardwalk chapel, and we’re out talking to folks. Mind if we ask you a few questions?” So few people know the truth, it is astounding. I say this is where the real education is, because this is where you come face-to-face with the delusions of our culture. “Yeah, I think I’ll probably go to heaven, because I’m basically a good person.” “I don’t believe in hell.” “I’ve messed up, but I’ve done more good than bad.” And thousands of other responses, just missing the truth that the wages of sin is death, but that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. So few know what Jesus did. So few trust in his finished work alone. That’s educational. And so is the on-the-job training of getting out of one’s shell and bearing witness to the grace of God.

Fun and Friendships

IMG_7659And all the while, deep friendships are forged among the group. There is no wasted time. Even time on the beach or over Apples to Apples is meaningful. From morning devotions to evening prayers, long and tiring days broaden our vision of the kingdom and deepen our bonds with one another. The Boardwalk Chapel is more than a mission trip. It’s at the core of the church’s mission. It’s a ministry that is effective and vital to the growth of the kingdom, in both breadth and depth.

The Lord gave us such an amazing group of kids this year, a great summer staff at the chapel, and a fruitful trip.  Unless the Lord returns first, we’re doing this again next year!