Satan Tried, But He Couldn’t Stop the Evangelization of 80,000 Youth in Tennessee

Satan Tried, But He Couldn’t Stop the Evangelization of 80,000 Youth in Tennessee by Larry Tomczak for Charisma News

Every year, tens of thousands of youth pack the fields in Manchester, Tennessee for a classic music and arts festival. Over 150 musicians make music before an ocean of fans for four days.


I join the team every year with one purpose: share with them the love of Christ and help them find a relationship with Him.

Arriving on the grounds with a van load of zealous ambassadors for Jesus, I immediately encountered three obstacles adding to the challenge of the heat and humidity.

Having lost sight in my left eye and battling vision problems for years, a strange fog-like blockage obscured my vision.

Seemingly out of nowhere, severe winds and thunderstorms invaded the grounds. Pulling into the area, a policeman stopped us and warned us of the eminent danger.

Finally, as I disembarked and proceeded to mingle with gathered laborers, I started feeling sick—why and what was the explanation for what was coming upon me?

Paul stated, “We wanted to come to you—I, Paul again and again—but Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18). It shouldn’t surprise us when we experience the devil and his minions trying to interfere with gospel proclamation and kingdom advancement.

I still remember at an outdoor Jesus festival decades ago when the weather service alerted the 20,000 gathered on a hillside that a tornado was on its way. As the leaders huddled together to discern God’s direction, we sensed we should do what Jesus did when He rebuked the storm and also cursed a fig tree. The crowd collectively spoke to the tornado in faith-filled, fervent declaration and to the glory of God it reversed course and never came our way!

At Bonnaroo, we ignited praise and worship in our tent and prayed for God’s intervention. A short time later the turbulent wind subsided, my sickness lifted and I persevered in faith for clarity of sight to get on with our gospel mission.

Why Bother?
On the 30-minute ride from the church base of operations (which hosted 100 hours of intercessory prayer) to the festival grounds, I had a captive audience as I encouraged and equipped them on lifestyle evangelism. For almost 50 years, I’ve shared from scripture that the gospel is good news. The method of the Master shows us that sharing our faith should be relational, natural and enjoyable.

If you’re sporadic in personal evangelism, struggle with or have never engaged in the fantastic experience of missional living, I encourage you to watch the free YouTube videos, “Enjoying Lifestyle Evangelism,” to inspire and equip you to be consistent and effective in sharing your faith! Receive it as my gift to you. I promise you there is an impartation you’ll receive from Jesus who said the reason He came was to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

This is a directive, not an elective! We are called to plant gospel seeds in the hearts of the unsaved and remember there is no impact without contact!

If you’re a pastor, you need to lead the way and not pass off this privilege to a “youthful evangelism team” or make excuses that you’re called to study the Word and let others do the work. That’s unbiblical!

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