This morning in Greenville, NC, I had breakfast with Bobby Jackson, who has traveled the roadways of America for decades in thousands of evangelistic meetings. He’s one of the most unique characters I’ve ever met, and I never tire of listening to his stories. He preached a revival in my home church in Elizabethton in 1964, when I was eleven years old. I can’t actually say I became a Christian in that meeting, but maybe I did. It’s about that time that I began consciously trusting Christ as Savior. Bobby returned for repeated meetings at my home church, and he was much loved by my dad and mom – as he is by Katrina and me.
Well, at breakfast today we talked about the ups and downs of ministry. He told of one time when he held a series of meetings with about 2000 people in attendance; then he got in his car and drove to another church where he found an audience of seven. One of them was a five-year-old boy who kept running around the room playing Cowboys and Indians during the message. Occasionally the boy would point and fire his popgun at Bobby. Bobby finally paused in mid-sermon and said to the mother, “The next time your boy runs around in front of you, would you mind grabbing him and holding him still because I just can’t compete with him.” The mother was sorely offended. She got up, grabbed her son, and stormed out of the meeting, slamming the door behind her.
“And then I had a audience of five,” Bobby said laconically.
“On another occasion I was preaching at a youth camp on the crucifixion. Suddenly a commotion broke out in the audience and interrupted my sermon. There were screams. Kids leaping over pews. Turns out a black snake had fallen down from the rafters and landed among the girls.” The snake was finally captured and removed, and Bobby finished his sermon.
“I’ve had all kinds of things happen during meetings,” he said, “but that’s the only time the devil himself dropped in on a sermon.”