Lessons in Evangelism (and Christian Case Making) from the Life of Roadies
by J Warner Wallace
Last Sunday I taught three services at Liquid Church in Morristown, New Jersey. Liquid is a growing, vibrant, passionate family of believers, and the group’s energy was palpable and contagious. It was an exciting opportunity to connect with brothers and sisters on the other side of the country. Liquid’s lead pastor, Tim Lucas, did something unusual in my experience: he crafted a series of messages making the case for the reliability of the Bible as a Christian apologist (a.k.a. case maker). You’d be surprised how many Christians are still unfamiliar with the evidence supporting the Christian worldview, but that’s slowly changing as pastors are embracing their role and responsibility as Case Makers. Tim scheduled four Case Making messages leading up to Easter and invited me to speak along the way. I was very impressed with the experience and I was particularly inspired by one important Liquid Church leadership team: the roadies.
Liquid Church has several campuses across New Jersey and all but one of these campuses are non-traditional facilities converted for church use on a weekly basis. Their main campus is in Morristown, where they meet every week in the ballroom of the Morristown Hyatt Hotel. They begin each Sunday at 4:30am, unpacking the supplies and equipment they need to convert the hotel ballroom and support offices into a sanctuary and children’s ministry. By the time they are done, the Morristown Hyatt is completely transformed to a place of vibrant worship, teaching and community. All of this is achieved with an intensely committed volunteer “road crew”. Most church leaders tend to measure their success by a number of traditional
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quantitative statistics: How many people are attending? How many baptisms did we perform this year? How much money was raised to support a particular cause? All of these metrics may be important, but I’ve found the true health and vitality of a church is often measured not in quantitative statistics such as these, but in the passion and intensity of its volunteers. Based on what I saw last Sunday, Liquid Church is healthy and blessed.
As case makers and evangelists, we can learn something important from “roadies”. The Liquid Road Crew has a motto printed on their t-shirts: “First In, Last Out”. They might as well have another motto as well: “Never Seen”. Roadies are generally invisible and uncredited. They are the “behind the scenes” warriors who make everything possible for those who eventually take the stage. I’m one of those guys who gets to stand on the platform, but on Sunday an army of road crew servants set everything up, guided me from point to point, and made sure everything was working properly to make the morning a success. The congregation saw me, but never observed the multitude of people who made my appearance possible. At the end of the morning, many people came away from the service encouraged, and some found themselves considering Christianity’s claims for the very first time. It was the largest day of attendance in the church’s history, and I hope we were able to effectively share the truth. All of us were evangelists that day, including the roadies, but their contribution was selflessly unseen.
As I watched the intensity and commitment of this road crew, I found myself questioning my own dedication…