The annual Bonnaroo music festival in an open field in Manchester, Tennessee, draws tens of thousands of people from all of the US for four days of music, drugs, drunkenness and debauchery, says Larry Tomczak, in an article in Charisma News.
Not exactly the sort of place for Christians to hang out — but if over 400 dedicated Christian “labourers” hadn’t responded to the call by the “Lord of the harvest” to go into this field, 750 people at this year’s event would not have experienced a radical transformation by the gospel of Jesus Christ — and scores more would not have had the gospel “seeds” planted in their hearts.
So, how did the labourers approach the Bonnaroo crowd, who came looking for a good time in a field that offers a euphoric environment with almost nonstop music, comedy acts and even witchcraft — and a hands-off approach to security that affords the opportunity for drug usage, immodesty, profanity and promiscuity?
Well, the content of the gospel never changes. But strategies for connecting creatively and effectively with every generation require “wisdom from above”, notes Tomczak.
Under the banner of “Love Bonnaroo,” Christians came together from churches and ministries to engage in intercession, worship and creative evangelism. Their campaign was covered by intercessory prayer for extended periods before the event and during the four-day period.
After the saints prayed for favour, the proprietor reduced the $5 000 (R65 000) site fee for ministry tents to $1000 (R13 000)! He liked what was planned for festival-goers passing by on their way into the festival.
Tents with these banners attracted curious passersby hearing the dynamic worship:
- Spiritual Readings
- Dream Interpretation
- Praise With Prophetic Songs
- Holistic Healing
- The Father’s Blessing
- Personalised Face Painting
- Prophetic Prayer
- Supernatural Results
The response to the Christian’s unorthodox approach was phenomenal, said team members afterwards. Scott and Sara MacLeod, who lead Nashville’s Thunder School of Ministry, were amazed at the spiritual hunger so evident among the people. They exclaimed: “It was like fish jumping into the boat!”
At the vortex of the main staging area, people described feeling “a sense of evil… darkness.” The drugs, drunkenness, sensuality and scantily clothed revelers caused people to admit experiencing an overall sense of “heaviness.”
As people drifted into the area of worship and compassionate gospel sharing, numbers of participants remarked: “This is a different atmosphere! It feels clean and light.”
One girl high on drugs fell into a ditch near the ministry tents. After the Christians rescued her, she received a personalised prophetic song. Tomczak, who was a member of the intercessory team, wrote: “We watched a video of her melting, feeling overwhelmed by the love of Jesus. Subsequently she heard the gospel, wept and came to faith in Jesus, making Him her Lord and Saviour. The team also prayed for her to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. After she returned to her friends transformed, they came by the tents to find out what had changed their friend!”
One young girl walking with her dad entered the “Personalised Art” tent for face painting after being warmly invited by a greeter. The father agreed to her getting painted as he stood by observing.
Aglow after her experience, the little girl pled with her dad to get his face done. After a number of her pleas he reluctantly yielded.
After the first swipe of paint under his eye, Maddie, the prophetic artist, whispered to him: “God sees you as a good father.” Upon hearing this, a tear trickled down his cheek.
After the second swipe, Maddie whispered: “God sees you as one who does not quit.”
The man’s hardened heart softened. Slowly he succumbed to tears.
His little girl said: “Daddy, what’s wrong? Are you OK?”
He reassured his daughter then confided to Maddie: “Today was my last day with my family. I was planning to walk out today and leave them forever. I want you to know that I am going to stay. You saved my family!”