Alan Greene is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His mission is to take the church outside the walls of the church building. To accomplish that, he started the LifeLight Music Festival. Over the twenty years of the LifeLight Music Festival thousands of music lovers have come to the music festival and heard about Jesus.
LifeLight is a non-profit Evangelistic Organization based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While on a mission’s trip to Mexico in 1998, God grabbed the hearts of Alan and Vicki Greene with the mission of “Taking the Church outside the walls.” LifeLight exists to bring people together across denominational lines, to reach out to communities and beyond with the message of hope and the love of Jesus Christ. They are missionaries and base their work on Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” They facilitate events, mission trips, Youth Center and Training Center by partnering with local churches, businesses and other ministries. Their founding principle is to offer all events/Youth Center FREE of admission so that all may come, and all may freely hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ!
Questions I ask Alan Greene:
What is LifeLight Festivals?
How did you start doing LifeLight?
Why did you decide to use music to attract people to come to the LifeLight Festival? If music is the universal language, then it makes sense that LifeLight would use this tool to reach people’s hearts as we proclaim Jesus’ name.
How do you raise money to do LifeLight?
What are you doing for the Global Network of Evangelists?
Evangelize – We are evangelists who proclaim the gospel of faith in Christ and Him alone in all we do. Ephesians 4:11, Mark 15:16
Encourage – We build up the body and provide encouragement in the Lord with those we minister to. Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Thes. 5:11
Equip – We train and equip others to change lives through the power of Christ. Matthew 28:19
Empower – We provide resources to help people be passionate and ready to be Ambassadors for Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17
For Evangelism Coaching call the Host of the Evangelism Podcast, Daniel King
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:01):
Alan Greene is from Sioux falls, South Dakota. His mission is to take the church outside the walls of the church building to accomplish that. He started the Lifelight music festival. Over the 20 years of Lifelight music festivals thousands of music lovers had come to the music festival and heard about Jesus.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:23):
Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King we’re Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host missionary and evangelist Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:59):
Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I am excited about telling people about Jesus. And today I have a very special guest, Alan Green. He is the founder of LifeLight music festival, and they have reached lots of people for Jesus up in their part of the country, brother, Alan, thanks so much for being on the evangelism podcast.
Alan Greene (01:26):
Daniel, I’m so excited. I like speaking with other evangelists and, you know our passion, our [inaudible] for sharing the good news of Christ. You know, we share that together and we want to spread that to as many as possible.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:38):
Now you’re up there in Sioux falls, South Dakota,
Alan Greene (01:43):
South Dakota, North central Middle of nowhere.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:47):
And a few years ago, God put it on your heart to do a music festival as an evangelistic outreach. Can you kind of tell me the origin story of how that came to be?
Alan Greene (02:00):
Yeah. You know, it’s a, it’s a quick you know, long story, but I’ll make it short. You know, I was a guy in business. I was in sales and business, all my own business. And and yet many years earlier, God had reached my wife and I through music and Christian music led us into God’s word it, it got us to reading the word and we were on a missions trip to Mexico and I felt like God said, take the church outside the walls, you know, bring the light into darkness and bring the body of Christ together to reach the loss and the scripture, John eight, 12, which we had had had many years earlier when God reaches through music, he gave us the scripture, John eight, 12, Jesus, Jesus says, I am the light of the world. Whomever follows me, will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
Alan Greene (02:48):
So we lost a ministry called LifeLight. We came back to our city and as you know, Sioux falls is a medium to large sized city now. And when I say middle of nowhere, a lot of people think that, but it’s a going on now. But in those days people didn’t really understand a lot about festivals or, you know, Christian music and that whole realm. And we felt like I was saying continue to do mission trips like Mexico, but do something in your own city. So we launched this festival on a church lawn and it grew each year. And about three years, we were too large for the church and had to move it to a fairgrounds. And it, that began the story of the LifeLight festival.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:27):
So how many people came on that first festival? How many people showed up? Do you remember?
Alan Greene (03:32):
Yeah, that first festival, you know, maybe 1500 people and which was a lot because it was a residential neighborhood. And you know, I don’t think anybody expected much to happen with this. It wasn’t like we had big band names or big musicians, you know, we just, the whole idea was to gather the church outdoors and you know, bring the gospel to those that maybe won’t walk inside. The church
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:56):
Just started with what you had just on the front lawn advertising. And lots of people started coming. And then how many people were coming when you decided to move over to the fairgrounds?
Alan Greene (04:07):
Well, after the third year at the church, we were over 5,000 people on the church lawn. And so we moved to the fairgrounds and then that’s when it started to explode. You know, then we we were seeing crowds of a hundred thousand people by the fifth year, fourth year at the fairgrounds third, third year at the fairgrounds that they, the fair had said we had 240,000 people. Now that’s over a three to four day period. Cause we, we held the festival Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and that’s how they count those kinds of crowds for fairs and events.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:39):
And so at these music festivals, you had some of the greatest music artists in Christian contemporary music who are some of the guests that you had over the years,
Alan Greene (04:50):
Mo most of any band that people have heard on Christian radio, we would have had, you know, Newsboys and Toby Mac and Lecrae and casting crowns and those, those bands and the list goes on. But what we did is we felt like we wanted three things that we had as distinct distinctives for doing the festival one. We had to offer it free of admission, a lot of great ticketed events and people go to ticketed concerts. But we said, if we’re really trying to say, take the church outside the walls and reach the unchurched Christian, music’s not relevant to them. And so buying a ticket for a Christian festival is not what, what they’re going to do. So we wanted to sponsor it. So it would be free to unified the church, bring the body of Christ together and three be across all generations. So we ended up having six different stages and all genres of music. So one stage might be more of a coffee house setting, praise and worship. Another stage which we called the sold-out stage was pretty hardcore. I mean, we’d have some people that were traditional church people that would look at that stage and be like, Whoa, that’s not music. But you know, it’s hip hop and hard rock and so forth. And then kind of the main stage would, would, would be more of the mainstream music.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:04):
So you had some places for the older people to go. And then some places where you turned up, the music really loud and the old people stayed away from that because their eardrums couldn’t handle it. What a great way to reach to different levels of society and to have a tremendous impact over the years, do you have an estimation of how many people came and, and how many people gave their lives to Jesus at the festival?
Alan Greene (06:30):
Well, you know God knows all their names. I, there, there are people that we don’t know about that we hear years later you know, they didn’t come into a prayer tent. They didn’t fill out a card, but years later we’ll hear their stories. But in terms of crowds, you know, every year from you know, starting 1998 through 2017, we held it every single year in the soup, Sioux falls, South Dakota. So every labor day weekend starting in about 2004, we would see crowds of, you know, a hundred to a hundred thousand, a hundred, 200,000 people every year that would show up. And so over those years, you know, 20 years of festivals again you know, three and a half to 2 million people easily, that that would have come. And I believe that there were over a million souls reached for Christ through that timeframe because of the cards that were turned in the responses in a festival setting where people are kind of crammed against the stage. It’s not really the same as the old crusades where, you know, Billy Graham or someone would leave an open field for people to come. A lot of times people were just raising their hands and, and prayer responders are just trying to get to them so they can hand them material. So some of them get missed, but we know the Lord Lord works on their hearts.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:51):
Wow. What tremendous fruit that is. And I think that’s amazing that you were able to do that right here in mid America. If you go to Africa, sometimes you can gather a big crowd of people. People will walk for two or three days sometimes to come to the festival and reaching a million people in, in some countries would be easier than doing that here in America, but you’re here and you’re proving that there is a way to reach people here in America. And basically as evangelists, we’re looking for bait where Jesus said we’re fishers of men. And so we’re looking for the right bait to attract people to come and to hear the gospel. And so the bait that you used was music. And so I saw something on your website. You said, if music is the universal language, then it makes sense that LifeLight would use this tool to reach people’s hearts as we procreate claim Jesus’s name. And I think that’s so beautiful, just looking for any possible way to draw people into an atmosphere where they can hear about Jesus. And you said something a little bit ago that I found very interesting. You talked about taking the gospel outside the walls of the church. Talk to me about why that’s important.
Alan Greene (09:09):
Well, Daniel, you know, for many years the statistics are real and that, you know, 70% of people in any given community, aren’t going to church anywhere, you know? So, and you know, and millennials, I heard a statistic last week that 43% of millennials don’t believe that. And these were Christian millennials. They’re not even sure that that another person should be telling them or proclaiming about Jesus. And yet 97% of them said the best thing that could happen to their friends is if they came to know Christ and have a relationship with God. So knowing that a lot of unbelievers aren’t walking in the doors of the church, then we, can’t just, we can’t just hope they’re going to come inside the walls. We have to go to them. And, you know, the model of taking the church outside the walls, it’s not unique.
Alan Greene (09:59):
It’s really the call of the gospel and the Bible. I mean, acts one eight is a pretty clear strategy where Jesus says you will receive power when the Holy spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses first in Jerusalem, Judea Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. So that really was our model and our prayer. And we felt like if we could make it top quality and relevant to people then people would come. And so that’s kind of what happened over the years. It kind of became the, the media hype secular media gave us a free press because, you know, they would say South Dakota and they will go at Sturgis motorcycle, rally or LifeLight, you know completely opposite kinds of events. But the people came,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:42):
I have a lot of missionaries and evangelists who listen to this evangelism podcast. And one of the questions they frequently ask is, is how do you raise money to do evangelism? And, and, you know, I tell people, if you go to my website, just give a, a dollar a month, you could lead at least one person to Jesus for, for every dollar that you give. Because the Bible says that all of heaven rejoices when one sinner gets saved and over the years of our ministry found, it takes at least a dollar for each person that we’re, we’re able to reach it. So I’ve been telling people, you know, for $1, you could start a party in heaven, but it, it takes a substantial amount to, to do a music festival, like, like you’ve done I’ve hired various music artists to come, and it’s not cheap over the years. How did you raise money to make this happen year after year?
Alan Greene (11:42):
Well that’s you know, and the easy answer is it really was and has been God. I mean, if God, this was a movement of God and he moved upon people’s hearts to give especially Christian business people who said, we can give substantially to this as a sponsorship, but it’s interesting. The business guys, I talked to most all of them, you know, you can say, Hey, there’s a sponsorship benefit. You know, you get advertising benefit and they would say, yeah, that’s great. I appreciate that. But they’re doing it because they saw change lives. And we keep talking about reaching the next generation and they saw that happening. But there’s also a lot of work as, you know, an event of that caliber. The bands do not come for free and, you know, we understand that it’s an industry. And so if you’re getting bands of any high level, there’s going to be quite a cost to that.
Alan Greene (12:34):
There’s quite a cost to production. People see these jumbo screens and, you know, an event that attracts 150,000 people. You have to have everything from porta-potties to the parking lot to security, to just lots of operational logistics, which can get costly. But faithful people in, you mentioned just people that give even a little bit, God, God uses every single gift. And so some people in the church over the years have said, well, mass evangelism doesn’t work. It’s not effective. I can tell you, God works through massive evangelism because it’s, there’s just a, there’s a God awareness in the community when something that big is happening and people get on board. And so people gave even small amounts and large amounts and the church partnered. And so we had a partnership with churches, businesses, and individuals who gave to keep this thing happening for free.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:29):
That’s amazing. You have also had a heart to raise up other evangelists into, to coach evangelists. And so I actually met you through the global network of evangelists, which both of us are on the council for the global network of evangelists, which is a ministry of Luis Palau, who is a great evangelist from Argentina and has a heart for raising up evangelists. But you’re very involved in that. Talk to me about what you’re doing to raise up a new generation of evangelists of evangelists.
Alan Greene (14:05):
Well, first we want to identify who they are. And I think there’s a lot of young evangelists who may not even know that that’s there. I mean, they might have an urge, they might want to do something, but they need someone to affirm them in that calling. And then, you know, we always say identify, affirm, mobilize, and equip them to go. And so I hear a lot of stories around the country. Let’s do this, just take business executives or, or ministry leaders. And they will say, Hey, we wanna, we want to get the next generation involved. And then they never really do all of a sudden they’re 88 years old or 90 and they go, Hey, okay, we can pass it to the next generation. Well I think we need to be involving the younger people in their, their thirties, forties now, you know, and and giving them involving them in all of our events. So we’ve been very conscious about that. One of the things I’ve loved and especially serving with you about global network of evangelists you know, Luis Palau ministry is sponsors that and started that organization, but they’re purposed in and getting younger evangelist involved and finding a way for them to serve. And as you know, is we can mentor younger evangelists. Then that gift comes out and it builds confidence in the new ministries have launched.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:28):
It’s a really a new day for LifeLight. You have transitioned to where you are now doing a lot more international evangelism. And you’ve handed over a bunch of the, the day to day running of LifeLight to, to a team. And they have a youth center. Tell me some about what LifeLight is doing now.
Alan Greene (15:51):
Okay. There’s really four areas. One you just touched on. There’s a youth center. We stopped doing the annual festival. We did it for 20 years in Sioux falls, South Dakota, God moved in incredible ways, but he spoke to us and said, that season is over. We may do another festival in our own city, but it was clear that God said, you need to go and you need to do this festival model in other cities. So and in addition to that, my son-in-law Josh who runs LifeLight now had a heart for the neediest community in Sioux falls, South Dakota. And so they launched a youth center. And just about, I mean, it’s, it’s, multi-racial ethnic it’s kids, it’s young kids who are middle schoolers and high schoolers who gather every week at the LifeLight youth center. And they’re coming to Christ, they’re being discipled.
Alan Greene (16:39):
And it is like a missions field because these young people have zero knowledge of the Bible. I mean, you could talk about Bible stories and there it’s like, they have no idea and yet they’re wide open and once they become Christians they’re very bold about it. I mean, they want to learn more. So it’s a youth center and then we’re still doing festivals. We do them regionally. Some national last year was a festival in Michigan even in a pandemic. And then North Dakota one down in Nebraska of Northwest Iowa rural towns in South Dakota LifeLight is doing kind of the, the smaller festival, but deeper, I would say spiritually with people.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:20):
If someone wants to support lifelike or find out more information about your ministry, what’s your website. How can they find out more about you
Alan Greene (17:30):
Lifelight.Org, just L I F E L I G H t.org. And you’ll see the four different areas. You’d center festivals, Josh and myself speaking as evangelists. And then the internship program where we bring people in and train them not only in evangelism, but how to do events. Thank you so much.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:50):
Let’s finish up by praying for people who have a heart to be evangelists. Would you pray for those young evangelists out there that just are looking for any way they can to share the gospel?
Alan Greene (18:03):
Let’s do that. God, we just come before you in the name of Jesus, Lord. We know that at that name one day, every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord and father. I know that you have called, and when those that you call you equipped. So we know you have called up a generation of younger evangelists of younger missionaries who have a passion to just go with the good news of the gospel. So the Lord release them, Lord bring them so we can come together in unity for one purpose to let others know about you. Father, I pray that you would provide all the resources as we know that you can pray that you would go before them. And that in all things, Lord, you would be glorified. I thank you for my brother, Daniel and Lord. Those that might be watching or listening to this podcast we believe your Holy spirit is speaking to them. Lord, if there is anyone that’s listening and that they just, they don’t know what this means to have the relationship with you, to put their faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone. I pray you would move up upon their heart. Thank you father, for allowing us to be involved in your work. We pray it in Jesus name. Amen.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (19:17):
Amen, brother, Alan. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thanks so much for listening to the evangelism podcast today. I’m Daniel King and I’m always excited about telling people about Jesus and I’m also excited about helping other evangelists. And so if there’s something I can do for you go to my website, King ministries.com and get in touch with me. And also while you’re at it, could you leave me a review on iTunes go and your five star review will help other evangelists to find this program because we want to help everyone
Evangelism Podcast Host (19:54):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.