PHOTO: Paul Obregn
Orlando is the worlds number one tourist destination, with 46.2 million
visitors each year. Resort missionaries Marc and Sandy Johnston see Orlando not
only as a huge playground, but also as a mission field that reaches the world.
Any day of the week youll find people from all over the world, says Marc. You
name the country, we have people here from those locations. Its been so
exciting here in Orlando because weve been able to touch literally hundreds of
thousands of people each year who are from all over the world. Weve seen people
from Holland, Wales, France, Germany, England, Braziljust to name a few!come to
know Christ. Its been wonderful to see these people go back home and take
Bibles and tracts in their own languages to their families and friends.
Marc and Sandy use a variety of ministries to reach out to the millions of
people who visit Orlando each year. They provide chaplaincy service to several
hotels in the area, they minister at major amusement parks, and they use
creative arts at several other tourist locations. In the summertheir busiest
timethey use a volunteer force of summer missionaries, sojourners, innovators
and church mission groups to make an impact on the city.
We lead worship services at one of the major attractions in Orlando as well
as some of the hotels. Its wonderful to be able to put together a worship
service for the guests, says Marc. Many times the guests are from all over the
world, so worship services at hotels and major attractions provide a church
away from home for many guests.
The Johnstons have found that tourists are very open to hearing the gospel.
Many are looking for a new experience, others are looking to get away from it
all, and that makes them more open to new things. With our being in the tourist
area we have an opportunity to plant seeds that otherwise would not have been
planted, explains Marc.
The creative arts team they develop every summer is very important to their
ministry. Performances include music, choreography, puppets, fire eating,
juggling, clowning, whatever talents the people have to use as a way of
ministryof reaching out with the gospel. Orlando is a major player in the
entertainment industry, so you have to be very professional in what you do.
Weve created a ministry team that we can offer to venues like Pointe Orlando or
Watermania and some of the hotels, says Marc. We bill it as free family
entertainment and use it as a way to connect with our audience.
As soon as the creative arts program is over, volunteers flood the audience
so they can share one-on-one. Weve been able to plant many, many seeds like
that, and we have seen people come to know Christ through these
As director of resort ministries, Marc supervises all the volunteers (about
1,500) who work in the resort ministries area. He also coordinates worship
services and sets up ministry activities. We believe that all Christians are
called to serve. Here in Orlando we have a great opportunity to show volunteers
of all ages how to be on mission. Our youngest volunteer was six years
old; our oldest, 84. We put them in places where they can share their faith in
Jesus Christ and meet people where they are hurting. Part of our ministry is
teaching volunteers how they can share their faith in the various settings
where weve placed them.
During the summer, Sandy takes on a lot of the supervision of the summer
missionaries. As the year goes along, she also participates in the fair
ministry as a clown, face painter and balloon sculptor.
Marc and Sandy started their ministry in the Orlando area in 1994. We saw
different kinds of people working from all different walks of life with
different perspectives, and we just saw that as a huge opportunity to touch the
world for Christ without ever leaving our doorstep, without ever leaving
To find out how you can be involved in resort missions visit www.namb.net/beonmission/volunteers.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC