PLAINVIEW - A fall Friday night in Texas means football. The stands are packed with the band blaring away at the fight song; teens and adults stand side-by-side yelling for their favorite team. Cheerleaders are cheering. Young boys are behind the stands playing their own version of the Friday night game.
Among the crowd, several people take the time to pass out religious tracts and share the good news - Jesus loves you! But their efforts are met with varying degrees of indifference.
"So many times, people, teenagers, would pick those tracts up and just flat out mock Him," said Jennifer Brigman, who has seen er fair share of doors slammed in her face. "Or they will get it and ask, 'Jesus who?' and just throw it on the ground.
"There was a dad walking with his little son. We were asking, 'Would you like some good news?' The little boy was looking up and was about to take one, but the dad said 'You don't need that,' and just steered his son away from the word. It's really sad. It just breaks my heart."
Discouraging? Yes. But it is something Brigman believes in as she strives to build her personal ministry.
A junior at Wayland Baptist University, Brigman splits her time between two campus jobs, a part-time position at a local restaurant, the track team and classes where she works toward a double major in business and physical education. She plans one day to own a gym and work as a personal trainer using her business as a ministry. It is a busy schedule for the 20-year-old, but she still finds time to further her personal walk with God and share the gospel by going door-to-door, placing her faith on the line as she witnesses to anyone who needs a little good news.
Brigman quietly goes about her business. She doesn't do it for recognition or prestige. She doesn't do it as part of a church group or college program. But she believes in what she is doing and is genuinely concerned about her community and the people she meets. For her, knocking on doors is a personal calling from God.
"In Philemon 1:6 it says, 'Be active and share your faith so that you may have a full understanding of everything in Christ Jesus.' Go and preach the word and make disciples of all men," Brigman said. "He gives us those instructions. That's His rule for our lives."
It's a command Brigman seriously takes to heart.
As a high school student in Eula, Texas, Brigman met Jose Munoz who started a group called Jesus Crew. Under his leadership, she began reaching out, witnessing and passing out tracts at clubs or football games or whenever she had the opportunity.
Munoz's ministry has grown as he has started Jesus Crews in Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and "all the way out to L.A."
"He just really had an impact on my life," Brigman said. "I started going out in Abilene. We would go out to clubs and just hand out tracts. We would go on different trips, like to Austin and Sixth Street."
Munoz related a story to Brigman, saying that one day he and his wife were out driving when they came to a red light. The light turned green, but Munoz didn't move. As his wife urged him to move on and not back up the traffic, Munoz asked a simple question, "Should I go?"
"As Christians we just sit there," Brigman said. "God is telling us, 'Go, the light is green,' but we sit there and ask, 'Should I go?' We are asking other people, 'Is this the will of God? Is this what the Lord wants me to do?' And the whole time He is saying, 'Yes. Go.' But we are still sitting there and while we are sitting there, we are backing up all these other Christians and impacting their lives in the wrong direction when they could be going forward, too. We are making them stand still."
Brigman continues to walk the streets and witness in her hometown every time she returns from college. But it wasn't until this semester, as a junior, that she decided to expand and begin her ministry in Plainview.
"I realized that if I want to be what God wants me to be and who he called me to be, I can't just sit here and ask 'What do you want me to do?' when He has already given me the instructions," she said. "I just have to go."
Still, it's not an easy task.
"Obviously it is scary going up to people you don't know and presenting the gospel," Brigman said. "It's really dying to yourself. The first time I went out (in Plainview), I put on my t-shirt. I put on my tennis shoes. I loaded my bag with the tracts, and I just sat there saying, 'OK, Lord. I'm going.' And I just sat there."
Brigman's strategy is simple. She approaches the people and asks if they would like some good news. After telling them that Jesus loves them, she asks if they have a personal relationship with God. If they don't, she shares a tract or the plan of salvation with them. If they confess to be a Christian, she asks if they have any prayer requests which she logs into a prayer database.
"One lady . her mother was going to have surgery the next day," Brigman said. "She said, 'This is amazing. The Lord sent you to me. I have been trying to get hold of my family all day, but I can't get anybody. I have been going crazy not knowing what to do. Please come and pray for me.'"
At another house, Brigman ran into a man she had only briefly encountered once before, but he remembered her. As part of Wayland's orientation weekend for freshmen, upperclassmen attend a retreat with the new students in order to help them meet other students and familiarize them with the university. This man had driven the bus that Brigman rode to the retreat. The man invited her in to pray for him and his family.
"The spirit of the Lord just filled that room," Brigman said. "There have been countless numbers of times when people just give their lives to the Lord and just confess things to you. You can just begin to see the Lord work in their lives. It is awesome."
Brigman said despite the doors being slammed and people turning away, not wanting to hear about God, those people who are blessed or receive salvation make every step worthwhile.
"There is a verse that Jose, my mentor, shared that really affected my life," she said. "Proverbs 11:25 says, 'A generous man prospers and he who refreshes others will be refreshed.'
"No matter where you are in your Christian walk, you need to be out there refreshing others. That is how your spirit is going to be refreshed. If you are out there sharing the Word, that is how your soul is going to be watered."