SAM FREY ‘80 History of Open Air Evangelism
Pictured From Left to Right: Jeff Welch '14 &'15, Aaron Krause, Sam Frey '80, MaryAnn & Del '93 Benner, Jim Harvey '88,
Bringing the Lord to the Lost
During the 1940’s, Jack Wyrtzen held street meetings in New York City. Today, the Open Air Evangelism team continues to preach the Gospel in towns and cities in the United States and around the world. We seek to become more efficient and helpful in reaching the lost and encouraging other believers to do the same. The rope trick and sketchboard are the premier tools used, although we have included puppets, drama, music, Gospel illusions, prayer stations and balloon twisting. Progress is being made toward more of a presence on the internet, including online follow-up Timeline 1940’s – Word of Life ministry was founded with Jack Wyrtzen holding street meetings in New York City. Early 1970’s – Jack Wyrtzen and Art Williams, Open Air Campaigners National Director, devised a plan by which Word of Life Bible Institute students could gain practical, personal and open air evangelism training and experience by joining Open Air Campaigners’ staff in New York City. Open Air Campaigners supplied the ministry literature, tools, equipment and lodging. Word of Life supplied the students and food for the group. This began as a designated team of students for weekend trips.
lessons for new believers, evangelism information and aids, staff news, and church referral listings. In 2019, the Lord allowed us to conduct 637 sketchboard meetings. The Gospel was presented personally in one-to-one dialogue to 5,503 people, 325 of whom made a profession of faith in Christ as Savior! Also, the entire First-Year New York Bible Institute class and many staff went to New York City in April. During this event, 237 sketchboard messages were given; 2,990 heard the Gospel in personal dialogue with team members, Early 1980’s – Approximately 160 students took ten-day trips. They were given weekend training in New Jersey and then divided between Boston, Chicago, NewYork City and Philadelphia. This program was repeated with the same students during the fall and spring quarters. Early 1990’s – The Open Air Evangelism department of Word of Life began with Sam Frey joining the Word of Life staff. Trips slowly transitioned to converging exclusively on New York City, and the ten-day trips shortened to six days. Training moved from New Jersey to the Bible Institute campus.
and 119 souls made professions of faith in Christ! Throughout the year, the needs of 1,210 people have brought their requests to our prayer station. The ministry has also interacted with over 70 local churches. These are a lot of numbers, but each represents one life forever changed. We praise the Lord for the God-glorifying, Spirit-endowed efforts of our ministry partners and countless others who have affected many souls. As a team we're humbled and grateful to have a small part in it. Late 1990’s to 2017 – With the introduction of Missions Reality, New York City trips were reserved for First- Year students. Trips became varied in length due to factors such as the addition of other ministry ventures and the availability of transportation. 2018-2019 – Second-Year fall volunteer weekend teams formed. In April all the First-Year students went to New York City for two days of open air ministry.
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