ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–I love the outdoors. So do a lot of men and women. One man in particular I know has turned his passion into a mission for the Lord.
Patrick Tyndall is just an average guy with a love for the outdoors. During the week, he works for the federal government. On the weekend, he likes to hunt and fish. As a committed believer, Patrick wanted people to come to know Christ, especially his neighbor, Greg.
For five years, Patrick tried to get Greg to come to church. Every time he asked, Greg made excuses: “I’ll check with my wife and see what we’ve got going on.” Nothing worked — not letters from the Sunday School class, not visitation teams dropping by. Nothing.
Then Patrick and the guys in his Sunday School class planned their first hog hunt. Greg didn’t have to be asked twice to go hunting. He was eager to go. Over two days, Greg heard the Gospel in his own language, masculine with an outdoor twist. He found out, contrary to his opinion, church wasn’t just for “wimps.”
When they returned from the hunt, Greg asked Patrick, “You know that Sunday School class you’ve been talking about? Do you think it would be OK if I came tomorrow?”
Greg showed up with his whole family at North Trenholm Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. As soon as he walked in, six guys who were on the hunt surrounded him and treated him like a long lost friend.
Greg became involved in the church. He even joined North Trenholm’s men’s ministry, called Men’s Fraternity.
After about seven months, Greg surrendered his life to Christ. Patrick’s pastor, Paul Ballard, asked him if he would baptize Greg.
“So in early December 2007, I had the highest honor of baptizing my hunting buddy and next door neighbor,” Patrick says.
That’s just part of the story. Patrick and the guys in his Sunday School class recognized the value of reaching men where they were, so they started a non-profit ministry, Ironman Outdoors (www.ironmanoutdoors.org). Now on weekends, they are creating “adventure retreats” for church groups all over South Carolina.
If you’ll let your passion be used for God’s glory, it can become an adventure of a lifetime. Just ask Patrick Tyndall.
For information about Outdoor Evangelism or Men’s Ministry, contact your state Baptist convention. Your church’s proportionate giving to the Cooperative Program supports the evangelism team or the men’s ministry leader who can help you with resources.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.