There is a church in Deland FL called The BIBLE Baptist Church of Deland Fl, and for over 30 years now they have ministered in public not only in Deland but all over Florida, and all over America. A lot of us in publick ministry have ties to Deland. We either know people there, or we have preached there, or we have learned valuable lessons from there. For over 30 years this group of roughly 30 or less people have stood on the same corner in downtown holding scripture signs, preaching and handing out gospel literature on Friday afternoons. I have preached with them, not only in Deland, but in a couple of other places. The red shirts my team wears at a lot of our events are modeled after the red shirts used by this small group of believers in one little town in Florida. I know these people,. They are not mean, they are not rude. They do not harass, bully or intimidate. They do not block traffic. There is ample video footage as a testimony. But they also make a convenient scapegoat for dowtown merchants trying to eke out a living in a dying downtown area. This has been the case since the church got started.
I say all this as a preface because I maintain that, as a publick minister, the public's reaction to the preaching is an indicator first and foremost of the condition of their heart. The Bible says that "light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light". So on a Facebook page dedicated to stopping the dowtown preaching, a woman offers up her opinion. I present it that opinion, unedited,spelling and grammar intact but with her identity obscured for her own protection. I think her words speak for themselves.
Linda wrote: "As children we learned certain guidelines or rules if you will. Guidelines that bring order to society. For example we learned to respect the space of another, we learned to play nice with one another. As we aged we learned that we have more rights like the right to vote and freedom of religion. Without guidelines such as these there would be kayos, anarchy. The BBC or red shirts are not the only ones who have these rights. If society has to acknowledge BBC’s rights than it just stands to reason that they must also acknowledge society’s rights. Now the public realizes that the BBC or red shirts have the right to practice what ever belief system they wish, they have a church to gather for worship. A building to shield them from the rain, protect them from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. BBC’s parish have stated here that they have a wonderful service and are friendly people. It almost sounds like there two different groups, but there not. If you have ventured out to DeLand on a Friday afternoon or evening than you’ve seen them. Friendly is not the word the public uses when they describe their one on one encounters with the red shirts. BBC’s congregation does not believe that the public has the right to freedom of religion. The red shirts have stomped on pretty much every basic guideline that everyone has followed since childhood. The red shirts do not play well with others, with the exception of like minded individuals and the people of their congregation. But when it comes to the general public, they employ bully tactics with a side of fire and brimstone. Freedom of religion is a joke to them. This site has been hit hard by the BBC congregation along with like minded individuals. And I have to say they are organized, we’re being hit left and right and with only a few of us willing to speak up it’s starting to feel (to me) like were fighting a loosing battle. But it’s a battle worth sticking up for. The rules apply to everyone, even the red shirts. The public are not the ones standing on a busy street corner screaming our religious views to everyone passing by. We’re not invading anyone’s space. We’re not interrupting anyone’s business. No business has closed because of us. We’re not detaining people on the street. We’re not scaring children. We’re not the one who chooses aggressive means to force people to change. That’s how BBC A.K.A the red shirts roll, not us. Part of DeLand's charm is being able to walk around and browse the shops and or grab a bit to eat, while taking in the charm of the old buildings. People should be able to do that in peace and they can as long as they don’t choose Friday afternoon/evening to visit those shops and/or restaurants. lt's like telemarketer’s. Ya know ya work all day, come home and work some more. Ya sit down to enjoy you dinner with your family and the phone rings. Now if ya don’t have caller ID, ya answer it only to find it’s a telemarketer. Someone who thinks now is a perfectly acceptable time to try to sell you something. Ya try and be polite and get them off the phone but their persistent, after all there paycheck (bread and butter per say) depends on them selling you something you don’t want. The red shirts (to me) are like telemarketers. Their trying to sell me something I don’t want. I didn’t ask for it, I don’t appreciate it being pushed onto me. No one is telling BBC not to hold services they have a church for that, they can believe as they like. But they don’t have to be telemarketer’s. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO AGRESSIVELY APROACH THE PUBLIC AND TRY TO FORCE THERE OLD TIME, OUT DATED VIEWS ONTO PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. The tactics that they choose to use out in public are just down right rude. It’s the rudeness factor that I find disturbing. It doesn’t matter what group of people does it, it‘s wrong and you know it. And they sound like their grasping at straws trying to justify it. They do not play well with others. Seriously if the whole circus thing was a good idea, all the churches would be doing it. There would be people shouting and picketing from every corner thru out DeLand. Then all the business in the area would suffer. Can you imagine just how much damage that would cause. They could care less how much damage they cause to the city, it’s not affecting them, it’s not taking money out of their pocket or taking food out of their children’s mouth. The red shirts just don’t get it. Just because people are different, doesn’t mean that there are evil. The city is not perfect, but is not all bad either. And trying to communicate free will to these people is like trying to talk sense to a 13 year old who thinks they know it all. We’re all taught at a young age to play nice with one another, to respect one another’s space. But these people don’t respect anyone’s space unless they are of the same primitive mind set as the red shirts. The way the red shirts treat the public is why the public has so much aggression towards the red shirts, it’s a result of their actions. You know everyone has a belief system in one way or another. And my belief system is just as important to me is theirs is to them. But they don’t want to hear that. They want to recruit everyone to their way of life. It may be just me, but I find that insulting. Jesus use to speak to people out in the open. Those people would come from far and wide to hear his message. But that’s not what’s happening in DeLand. People don’t come to hear BBC preach, if they wanted to hear one of BBC’s sermons then they would attend their one of there services. You know in their church…..on Sunday. There’s no preaching going on just picketing and yelling. Picketing is not preaching, it’s that simple. BBC’s group is not there to help the community, there their to disrupt the community. They don’t invite the public to their services, in a friendly welcoming manner. They chase people down, detain them and tell their children that they are going to hell for believing in Santa Clause. To a child you are associating fear with the word god. Not exactly the warm fuzzy feeling that they should be conveying. And BBC honestly think that’s ok??? Their tactics are aggressive, intrusive and create negativity . With the internet there’s no need to create so much hostility out in public. People have enough problem now a days, the red shirts are just adding to it. Back when Jesus was alive, speaking to people out in public was the way to spread his message. But with the internet at out finger tips that’s not necessary anymore. But they still refuse to stop, they dig there heals in and insist it’s for our own good. They must think were children. Children who needs a stern lesson in religion. I highly doubt that BBC would like a dose of their own medicine, after all people usually don’t. I wonder how BBC would feel if the public treated them the way they have treated the public? I wonder how BBC would react to people picketing their church on Sunday before and during every service? I would be curious to see how they feel having their services interrupted, their space being invaded and possibly there income reduced. Not to mention creating a hostile environment. I mean BBC doesn’t see anything wrong with doing it to the public Religion isn’t a one size fits all kinda thing, it’s a personal, what's good for one person may not be good for another."