Notes from a talk given by Steve Gurnett from OAC-Streetwise on ‘Open Air/Street Evangelism’ at the Capital Youthworks youthworker training morning. OAC-Streetwise is a giveaway ministry involves in sharing the gospel in the open air plus work in schools, prison and training others to do evangelism.
Why do Christians have a problem with open air evangelism?
- They don’t know how to do it.
- Their ministers don’t like doing it.
- They are afraid of looking like a loony.
- It’s scary!
- It’s hard work, its cold, and people walk away from you.
- We’re in a ‘come and see’ culture.
What’s the problem with only inviting people to church/youth group (‘come and see’)?
- It communicates to Christian that the gospel is not that important.
- It communicates that the church/youth group will share the gospel for you so you don’t have to go out and do it yourself.
- It communicates that the church/youth group is the only place where the gospel is shared.
- It communicates to those outside the church that the gospel is not that important and it’s not for them.
Some people will say that street preaching doesn’t work, well that’s because we don’t do it. Why aren’t we good at street preaching? We don’t do it enough. Like everything it requires practice.
Saints of old on open air preaching
John Wesley: “What marvel the devil does not love field preaching! Neither do I; I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit But where is my zeal, if I do not trample all these underfoot in order to save one more soul?”
Charles Spurgeon: “No sort of defence is needed for preaching out of doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting-house. A defence is required rather for services within buildings than for worship outside of them.”
Open Air Preaching Tips
- Outside the church is where people feel comfortable but is often the place we don’t.
- When doing open-air evangelism wear red so that you stand out.
- Don’t use PA so people are forced to come to you to hear what you’re saying.
- Be yourself.
- Try to pray with people before they leave.
- Keep going back to the same place.
- A prayer to pray: “Lord, will you give me the opportunity to talk about you today!”
Some helpful links