Using Mixed Martial Arts Share The Love Of Jesus?
It's been about 3 weeks since the 2nd Annual Spa City Stomp Out! This is the second time LakePointe Church has hosted this MMA Fight in Hot Springs, AR. Last year through this event we handed out 4 cases of Bibles and had an opportunity to pray with many families. We saw many people, including several fighters, begin to follow Jesus that day! It was a no- brainer when we had the opportunity to host the event again this year. The big difference, as our team recapped this event, was that we would be more prepared for those who needed prayer and didn't have a Bible. Last year we were prepared for people who would come drunk, high, or just ready to pick a fight. The only person we had to escort off the premise was some guy who was slamming people over the head with his Bible telling them that they were going to hell! A turn or burn talk, which we don't condone. When this man was asked to leave by one of our pastors, letting him know we had the teaching covered, he would not relent and continued to yell at the people. At this point one of the police officers helping with the event asked the man to stop at which he raised his hand toward the officer who forcibly removed the man from our campus. This offered an amazing opportunity for us to share with the crowd of over 2000 people that this man was not with LakePointe Church and that although hell is a very real place where some will go, we are concerned with teaching about the love that God has for them so that fewer will end up in hell, and that God cares more about their future than the mistakes of their past.
This year we doubled up on our police officers thanks to the Garland County Sheriff's department and some amazing volunteer officers. We also had the Marines with hummers on hand to help with crowd control. That afternoon before the fights we gathered all the fighters and explained the rules of the day as well as the reason we were having the fights. I was able to visit with them and tell them that although we were there to see them use their God-given martial arts skills we are more concerned about letting them know about the love of God through His Son Jesus. At this point I was able to explain the message of God's love and offered to any fighter that today was a day to begin living for Him. At this I several fighters say that they wanted to begin living for Jesus. It was truly awesome and as far as I was concerned we could have ended the day there in victory! But thankfully the day continued. We had over 1500 seats set out around the ring and we had 3 bands lined up to play. I could go on play by play but I will cut to the chase.
The chairs were full by 6pm and the bands began to play. We had slight rain showers that thinned the crowd but the event went off after an hour delay and the crowd returned. Throughout the night I was able to step into the ring and share a message of hope and love in Jesus. We had a prayer tent set up with volunteers ready to pray with families as well as give out a "what's next kit" that had a Bible, devotion book, and invite to church.
By God's grace we were able to hand out 1000 kits and pray with several families. There were no major security issues and we did not have to escort anyone from the event. This was the second year that we tethered the event to help the non-profit organization, Stomp Out Hunger. The mission of Stomp Out Hunger is to eradicate hunger issues in Garland County, especially with the children. This year we were able to collect several hundred bags of food that will be distributed by Stomp Out Hunger this year! Here is a video of one of the messages that was shared that night.
We understand and know that not every church can or should have an MMA Fight in their parking lot. What we do know is that God in His infinite grace and mercy has used this event to allow people that would never attend LakePointe or any other church in town to come to a free event and hear a message that God loves them, and that Jesus is the only way the truth and the life. That Jesus didn't tap, and our God is a Warrior King! For that we are extremely grateful.