David Brandt Berg’s evangelism methods of reaching the drug induced hippy generation
Below paragraph: David Berg discusses how the traditional churches cannot evangelize to the hippies.
“THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO WORK WITH HIPPIES! They’re just church people & have church meetings, & the hippies don’t like it! And they don’t like the way the hippies dress, & they just don’t like hippies!”
WE DID HAVE TREMENDOUS SUCCESS WITH THE HIPPIES in the meetings we had at the Light Club, which had been a Christian Full Gospel Businessmen Mission, but Dave Wilkerson had helped to start it. They gave it over to us because they weren’t accomplishing anything. On the nights they had their church meetings, like a mission, there was nobody there but church people! The hippies stayed away.
Below paragraphs: David Berg explains how he was able to build a bridge of friendship with the hippies and reach them.
ON THE NIGHTS WHEN WE HAD OUR MEETINGS THE HIPPIES JUST PACKED IN because we had nothing but kids, kid singers & kids’ testimonies!–And we didn’t preach church! We just preached Jesus & the Endtime & the Warning Message. It was just geared for the hippie generation & the message they wanted to hear & needed! They wanted to hear Bible Prophecy. After all, here’s the atom age & they’re scared, & they want to know what’s going to happen, & we could tell ’em! TG!
WE HAD A TREMENDOUS TIME! We packed that place 50 to 75 kids every single day & every night! We fed ’em & we slept ’em, & I saw something was really happening & was going to really explode! I just knew it! I saw the Lord was really doing something!
THAT’S WHEN I BEGAN TO COME DOWN & TEACH in my dark glasses, beret, baggy pants, old torn jacket & tennis shoes, looking more like an old beatnik instead of a hippie! I was teaching the classes, & things were just booming!”
As we read the above excerpts from the writings of David Brandt Berg, we can see how Berg really adopted the methods of the Apostle Paul in reaching a generation with the gospel that few could reach. Reading the below Bible scriptures helps us to understand the ministry of David Berg.
“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
As we read the above scriptures it’s clear that Berg became a hippy in order to reach the hippies, just as Paul became “all things to all men, that he might by all means save some.” I think this is key when making an effort to evangelize in unchartered territory. On a personal note, I used to evangelize on the city streets near the nightclubs, disco’s and bars, and I just dressed in a casual way when litnessing (handing out tracts) and witnessing (personal testimony and sharing the gospel verbally). I would mainly where street gear clothing that most ravers (modern day hippies) and nightclubers would wear, so that I would be on their level when witnessing to them. I myself am a former raver (I have no regrets about being in the rave scene), and used to attend numerous secret underground dance parties over the years. I found dressing on the same level as my target audience definitely helped a lot, and many ravers and nightclubers heard the gospel and my personal testimony as I was able to engage them on a personal level. On the other hand, I have seen certain street preachers go out to evangelize in suits and ties, and they are much less effective in engaging their audience. Dressing in a formal suit and tie when witnessing, gives people the impression that you think your superior than them. It’s really about blending into the crowd you’re trying to evangelize to, and showing them that you’re just a normal person like them, and that you don’t think your better than they are. Unfortunately dressing up in superior clothing on the streets does send the message that you think you’re better than those you’re ministering to. Humility and blending in is the key to reaching the lost with the gospel. However if your witnessing to business men, then I think it would be wise to wear a suit and tie. It’s all about being all things to all men that you might win them to Christ. Even Joseph had to shave his beard and dress in Egyptian nobility clothing before he came into the Pharaoh’s service.
According to Berg’s testimony he never preached church (church politics, church positions, church governance etc), he just preached Jesus Christ and also had a lot of music involved as well. He mainly had kids and youth singing while he shared the good news of Jesus Christ, and he also dressed as a mature hippy with: sunglasses, a hippy hat, and clothing that fit in with the hippy culture. This all happened in Los Angeles where Berg took over the hippy youth ministry that the local churches were unable to work with. When Berg began reaching these youth, the movement grew as more hippies and youth began to join. It was this hippy youth movement that would become the Children of God, who would later change their name to The Family International.
However one of the key ingredients when evangelizing is love. You really need to have a love for the people you’re witnessing to in order for your witness to be effective. A regular visitor and contributor to this blog is a woman named, Karen Lane. Karen Lane said that the youth and lost need real love in order to experience the real Jesus and real gospel, and I think this is so true. I remember the humble and loving people who first shared the gospel with me, and it was this love and humility that really won me over. At one stage in my life in my early or mid 20’s, I did have a degree of innocence and I did have some love in me, and that’s what inspired me to share the gospel with others. I used to evangelize on the streets with a friend of mine who got saved in prison, and I remember I had a real love for people and a genuine desire to see them saved. Unfortunately I no longer have any love within me to give, I have been through some tough times in life in the last few years and it’s robbed me of any love I ever had. The last few years of my life has consisted of some very dark and difficult times. However there was a time when I had the love and inspiration to evangelize to the lost, and I remember I had a real love and passion to share the good news of Jesus with them. Maybe one day God will give me back that love and inspiration so I can start witnessing again (please pray for me if you feel led). Until then, all I can do is talk about the past and write about the testimonies of others. If you’re a regular reader of mine, thank you for reading and for continuing to support me in prayer.