Rose Parade 2009


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Initial draft for Baptist Press article about 2009 Rose Parade outreach.

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Rose Parade 2009

  1. 1. PASADENA, CA - Abi, a young Hispanic woman, was one of the thousands of people camped out on East Colorado Blvd. waiting to see the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA on December 31. She was unaware that the greatest thing she would hear that day had nothing to do with the parade. Loren Phippen, Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) team member and evangelism director for the Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association in Wichita, KS ( approached Abi and began to share the gospel with her. As Loren shared the good news with Abi using the Evangecube, he noticed that she was very receptive. As he was about to invite her to pray the sinner’s prayer, Abi asked Loren to sit down in a chair beside her. She wanted to ask him a serious question. “What does the Bible say about homosexuality, Loren?” Abi asked. “The Bible has a lot to say about homosexuality, Abi.” Loren answered. Abi admitted to being in a homosexual relationship and she wanted a way out. Loren knew this conversation was a divine encounter and he prayerfully shared with her from the Word of God what she wanted to know. With tears streaming down her face, Abi declared that she wanted to leave her life of homosexuality behind and trusted Christ as her Savior. Loren was one of 8 ICE team members and 152 volunteers from California and other churches across the country that converged on Pasadena, CA for the annual Rose Parade Outreach. Martin Davis, a Mission Service Core missionary from San Diego, CA has been organizing this outreach for 13 years. According to Davis, this year brought the highest number of volunteers in the history of the outreach. Each year between 750,000 and 1 million people line up along the 5 mile long parade route to see the beautiful flower-covered floats, hear the marching bands and watch the equestrian teams. Some parade goers claim their parade viewing spot on the sidewalk as early as 8:30 AM on New Year’s Eve. The gospel is shared with parade goers through a variety of methods including mime teams, tract distribution, face painting, balloon animals, popcorn and cotton candy giveaways, and “What’s in a Name” certificates. A number of volunteers man the base camp on the corner of East Colorado Blvd. and Roosevelt St. From there, they engage passersby and give out free food, paint faces, and print name certificates. This gives them many opportunities to engage in spiritual conversations. One teenager asked, “What’s the catch,” after a volunteer offered him free popcorn. The volunteer assured him that there was no catch and then shared the gospel with him The centerpiece of the Rose Parade outreach is a souvenir parade program, created by Davis, which has the marching order for the parade and a gospel presentation inside. This year about 17,000 of these brochures were distributed to the crowd. Many people asked for extra copies as keepsakes. In addition ICE team members and volunteers gave out an estimated 5,000 gospel tracts. Mark and Gwynette Yoho of Fourth Watch Ministry, ( based in Sugar Valley, GA, were distributing gospel tracts and parade programs along the parade route. They found three 12 year-old boys playing cards on the sidewalk. Gabriel, Gabriel and Joseph listened closely in spite of several distractions like ringing mobile phones and a running dog that got away from its owner.
  2. 2. Both the boys named Gabriel to receive Christ. As Mark began the follow-up process with them, a college-aged man approached the group and began to question the boys. He wanted to know where their parents were and why they were talking to Mark. One of the boys replied, “Because we are interested in what he has to say.” At that, the college aged man walked off and said no more. On Tuesday before the outreach began, ICE team members spent the day prayerwalking the 5 mile parade route. While prayerwalking, Hiram Acree from Duluth, GA and Dan Christian from Denver, CO felt the need to pause and pray for direction. After 10 minutes, the wife of a local Hispanic pastor came walking down the sidewalk. She stopped and shared with Acree and Christian how discouraged she and her husband were in trying to reach the city. She told them that she never walked down that street but felt like she wanted to walk that day. She was encouraged to see other people who had a heart for the lost in Pasadena. Her husband Alfonzo arrived and shared some of the same frustrations with Acree and Christian. Acree and Christian shared some scripture and prayed with them. They both went away encouraged. Darrel Davis of Foundation Ministries based in Garner, NC ( went out with the AIM San Diego Mime Team. This team is composed of middle and high school youth. They carry portable sound equipment with them and present the gospel visually on the street by performing mime routines choreographed to contemporary Christian songs. Many people remembered them from previous years and requested that they stop and perform. After one of the presentations a woman approached Davis, who was using a megaphone to preach the gospel between songs. She was touched by the presentation and requested prayer for her incarcerated brother who was sick. Davis prayed with her that the Lord would heal him and send someone to share the gospel with him. After the next performance, several people approached Davis and requested prayer for their sister who was suffering through lung cancer. “It was another divine appointment,” Davis said, “Turns out that the lady that I prayed for was in the RV directly behind the spot where the mime team performed.” According to Martin Davis, 27 people gave their hearts to Christ through the outreach. Many more heard the gospel while other believers were encouraged through this ministry. If you would like more information about the Intentional Community Evangelism strategy, visit the North American Board Website at Article written by Darrel Davis, Foundation Ministries ( – 919-740-5732. Darrel Davis is a full time vocational evangelist and endorsed ICE consultant with NAMB, He resides in Garner, NC.