Steet preaching and evangelism

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Grillsy, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Yes! Every day and every hour.

    5 vote(s)
  2. It should be done often but NOT regularly.

    7 vote(s)
  3. Only under very special circumstances.

    12 vote(s)
  4. Never.

    2 vote(s)
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  1. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    What are your thoughts about street preaching and Reformed Christianity?
    Are you we involved enough? Too much? Should we be involved at all?
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  2. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    Only under very special circumstances, I don't believe Hit and Run is a good method generally
  3. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It may be used as a means of evangelism since I know no commandment against it in scripture. At the same time there is no command for it either so it should be left up to each session/council to decide whether or not this should be done.

    Having said that I would tend to discourage it for the following reasons: 1) it comes off as self-righteous and self-glorifying 2) in our day and age we need to make more of a personal connection with people 3) street preachers tend to have no call from a local church and sometimes have no connection whatsoever to an orthodox body of Christ
  4. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    Same opinion. For the most part, one never sees the people they witnessed to ever again.

    -----Added 7/7/2009 at 04:11:15 EST-----

    Another reason I think it's not the best method for evangelizing is that what I would be able to say in a minute, or however much time, would most likely be a repeat of what he or she already knows, or at least heard before.

    I think it would be better to witness to someone on a more personal level, where there is also the possibility to meet up again.
  5. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    I see we have one vote for every day and every hour. But I did not allow voter tracking on this poll.
    It will interesting and profitable to see this issue from other perspectives.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2009
  6. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

  7. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    I think the wording of your poll is flawed. As Daniel touched upon, should we... is poor wording since we (Christians) are not commanded to street evangelize. We should do all that we are commanded to do though. Perhaps there are some who are called to be street evangelists for full-time ministry. They are not in a position to say that others should do the same, just as those who share their faith through music are not in a position to say that others should evangelize in the same manner they do. Whatever ministry or service capacity you are individually called to--do it! I may be a knee, you may be an arm, and Rich may be a big toe, but we are more than likely not the same in what we should do apart from the clear commands of Scripture.
  8. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    Ouch. Sorry you do not like the wording. Actually I meant it the way it sounds. Should we.
  9. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We are called to make disciples. A 10 minute discourse with someone that I probably will never see again makes that a challenge. Unless there is a solid congregation nearby that I can refer them to, street preaching (with no follow up) is like having a baby, leaving them at the curb, and expecting them to grow up on their own. This is the struggle I have with a bunch of the street preachers.
  10. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Hmm. Then giving an accurate is difficult. :think: Well, for me personally then, since it's a case by case type of question, I would say rarely to never.
  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Is street preaching then a sub-set of the larger category of all public evangelism? Is it a sub-set of open-air preaching. What do you mean be the word "preaching" and why did you use it rather than the term "witnessing"?

    Sorry, I, too, think the wording is deficient.

    I am in favor of doing VERY ACTIVE evangelism but we must be wise in our efforts. If by "street preaching" you mean accosting people at stoplights, then we should NEVER do it. If you mean gatheirng crowds like Whitefield then I am in favor of it. If you mean passing out tracts to totally cold contacts (i.e. strangers) this is a good thing, but less of a good than it would be to engage those whom you have a personal relationship with already (nobody likes to be bothered by strangers).

    There are about 15 different scenarios I am thinking of, about 1/2 are wise, and half are not so wise and ineffective in my opinion.
  12. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    I am thinking of gathering crowds like Whitfield.
    That was what was in my head. Sorry next poll
    I will have a thesaurus and proofreader.
    Then I will it through my session.
    So we won't have anymore grammatical hang ups. :)
  13. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    Street preaching would be helpful if one were to go into an area where there are no Christian churches.
  14. J. David Kear

    J. David Kear Puritan Board Freshman

    I voted - It should be done often but NOT regularly. The NOT is a little strong. I would prefer a regular "not". It has its place.
  15. Dearly Bought

    Dearly Bought Puritan Board Junior

    I have refrained from voting due to the wording. I would be comfortable with stating that "Street preaching and evangelism should be often lead by ordained men with hearty appropriate participation by the rest of the congregation."

    I believe that Christians should be actively involved in many different ways of bearing witness in our world from "cold call" methods such as street evangelism and tracts to life-long relationships of repeated discussions. If we really believe that the thousands of people passing through our city square every day are in danger of the fires of hell without the knowledge of Christ, how can we disparage the efforts of those who attempt to reach them with the Gospel?

    I believe that the efficacy of Gospel proclamation is located in the Spirit of God working by the Word. His Word and Spirit may convert hearts regardless of the limits of a short encounter with a complete stranger. Sometimes I think we begin to impute too much power to our powers of relational persuasion instead of trusting in the power of God's Word and Spirit.
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Sorry, the problem is not a mere grammatical hang-up.

    Street preaching conjures up images of fundies in cheap suits waving bibles like clubs harassing pedestrians as they try to get through cross-walks to go to work.

    What Whitefield did was gather volunteers in open fields to preach to, not harangue. Whitefield's activity could more aptly be called "open air preaching."

    "Open air evangelism" might be done at a fair

    "Street Preaching", again, is the confrontational approach above.

    Then there is tract ministry, door-to-door witnessing, street witnessing, soul-winning, and many other words, all which conjure up different nuances - some good and some bad.

    Why be nit-picky with these descriptions?

    Because some, in seeing bad examples of public witnessing, decide not to do anything at all.

    And others think that they must accept all forms of public witness, no matter how inane, if motivated by evangelistic zeal.

    I just saw a guy toting a large wooden cross down a busy city street with a "Repent or Perish" sign on it. I am not sure his method communicated, "Let's glorify God." I think it communicated, "I'm a fruitcake!"
  17. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    It's really surprising to me that so many people are against "street" evangelism and open-air preaching in general. Granted, there are extreme forms of both, but most accounts of evangelism in the NT were street evangelism or open-air preaching. Think Acts 2, Paul at Mars Hill, Phillip to the Ethiopian, Jesus talking to the woman at the well, Paul to the crowd at Ephesus, etc.

    I can't think of any examples of friendship evangelism, at least not what it looks like today. The apostles didn't always do open-air preaching and street evangelism, but the NT doesn't describe evangelism in other form (that I can think of) in detail. Of course, I'm certainly willing to be corrected.
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I don't think people are against evangelism; I think many are against certain forms of evangelism.

    I also think that there are MANY examples of evangelistic witness in the NT. Most of these were not like modern fundy street preaching. Jesus talking to the woman at the well cannot be a proof-text for shouting at someone on a street corner.
  19. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

  20. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

  21. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree that they're not saying they're against evangelism per se. But several people have made it clear that they're not really fans of open-air preaching or street evangelism. Maybe part of the problem (as I think you previously mentioned) is what we mean by these terms. Is anyone for a preacher just yelling at someone? Of course not! However, we do see Peter heartily and passionately calling to a crowd to repent and be baptized. However, many would be terribly uncomfortable with that form of evangelism today. And the woman at the well certainly wasn't an example of open-air preaching evangelism, but in one sense, you could call it street evangelism. Jesus started a discussion with a woman and quickly directed the conversation to spiritual things.

    What I was really surprised about was that people seem to be uncomfortable with clearly Biblical forms of evangelism. Not every effort at evangelism is Biblical, but we can't write off whole forms of evangelism simply because some people give them a bad name. Most Christians wouldn't say that they are against this "officially", but that is how they behave in practice. If I stood up on a bench in downtown Denver and started reading the Sermon on the Mount or Peter's sermon at Pentecost, or Paul's sermon at Mars Hill, how many Christians would support me. My guess is not a lot. They'd probably feel a little uncomfortable. But these were sermons that were preached to crowds in the Bible! We should have no problem with something like this being done. end rant. :)
  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Open air preaching and street preaching are not synonymous.

    It is NOT mere semantics.

    There are VERY important nuances here. Many many people would be supportive of one nuance and not another nuance.

    Also, you have failed to define "preaching" or to differentiate it from "witnessing." Passing out a tract is not preaching but it is witnessing. Women can pass out tracts, right?

    I am not trying to be nit-picky, but this is an IMPORTANT topic (and THANK YOU for posting on this topic), and so we must dive deeper than our loose troublesome definitions.

    -----Added 7/7/2009 at 10:20:24 EST-----

    If you stood up on a bench in a crowd and started reading ANYTHING loudly even I would be offended and want you to shut up, even if you were reading the Bible. Impoliteness in the name of evangelistic zeal is still impoliteness.

    There are places where public discourse and debate is acceptable and expected, such as Hyde Park or the Areopogus. On a bench in central park while people are trying to enjoy their days is not a good way to glorify God.

    I see Paul going into places where it was accepted and expected for him to speak.

    I am all FOR evangelism and missions. I am against BONE-HEADED evangelism and missions. To discern what is bone-headed and what is good, we need to use more precise descriptions of what we do.
  23. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    I would like to delve deeper. I have been attempting to do so. But so far everyone wants to gripe about the poll wording.
    I wanted to keep the poll vague in the hope the discussion would be fruitful on the thread. The poll will not bear much I do not think.

    So should we preach, literally expound the Scriptures, from a public place. Like say standing on stoop connected to a sidewalk?

    Can anyone do this only the ordained?

    Is it even profitable to do such a thing?
  24. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    You can't equate the NT open-air preaching to what is going on today. If one is to look at the context in which they were done it is totally different. In a present day situation, I would hardly be able to talk as much. Back in the NT times, the timing was different. For example, the open-air preaching of Jesus at the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21) is not comparable to today, unless you can get a crowd to stay and listen to you for a couple hours and then have lunch with them. It seems like in the NT the disciples and Jesus actually had the ability to spend a great deal of time with people, instead of the 30 second of 2 minute street preaching we have today.
  25. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Don't like it and that comes from someone who even avoided it as a Fundamentalist Preacher Boy at BJU. Plenty of other effective methods of Evangelism to explore.
  26. Michael Doyle

    Michael Doyle Puritan Board Junior

    In 2004, I had been saved a few years, I was introduced to Hells Best Kept Secret, by Ray Comfort. It immediately changed my life and with fervent zeal, I am became an open air preacher. I did tours with organizations and traveled various cities. I open aired in parks and bus terminals. College campuses and university hall ways. My life was consumed with sharing the gospel. I was sure I was in God`s will. I met my previous pastor and he was all for this type of evangelism. So what happened?...

    I, overtime became aware that we evangelists were discarding and neglecting our local churches. We, the many, had created a parachurch organization, with no moorings or accountability. The words spoken by myself and the many were idolatrous with respect to evangelism. Many became convinced that "pew" sitters were in grave sin and needed rebuking. It was mildly anarchy and I had a moment of biblical introspection and have repented. I do now stand confused over it all. What do I do with what seemed like gifting from the Lord. My current pastor has counseled with me and I am hopefully going to be working with a local OPC pastor hopefully doing some prison ministries.

    I find it strange. On one hand, I was awoken from my slumber and moved to be the hands and feet of Christ. On the other hand, I am convinced by scripture that I need be under the authority of my church.

    As for its effectiveness, I agree with the majority position here. It is very difficult to make disciples doing hit and run evangelism. As fruitful at times that it was for me, I believe there are better ways to participate in kingdom work. My :2cents:
  27. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    Whitway would you care to elaborate please?

    What did you see at BJU that was you disagreed with?

    Would you object to the open air preaching of men like Spurgeon? Or do you feel we are dealing with an entirely different evangelistic mentality in modern street preaching?

    I can feel your pain to some extent. I have a similar background. Although not in college. My college was Campbellite institution...a whole different animal.
  28. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore


    I am sure that everyone on this board is for evangelism and missions but against bone-headed methods of doing this. I am also sure that all of us want to glorify God in our endeavors. I know that there have been times when I tried to talk to individuals and left thinking that I had not honored God in my attempt to make his name known and felt conviction for my actions.

    Here is what I am confused by. From what I read in Acts 2, Peter seemed to be offending some of the people that he was preaching to. It is also not clear (at least to me) that he was in a place where people were expected to preach. However, he gave a clear evangelistic call to repentance and faith. Do you think Peter was improper in doing this? Perhaps I missed something in the text (honestly), so someone please correct me if I am wrong, but Peter gave a loud, bold evangelistic message to a group of people who didn't really want to hear it (at least not until the Spirit convicted them) in a place where people didn't seem to be that interested in listening to them. Why would it be inappropriate to go to a public place today and do the same thing? I ask this question in sincerity.

  29. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Here is an attempt to further define our terms (just brainstorming here....lets refine and correct as we go):

    (1) Public and official corporate witness of the church = preaching of the Word by ordained ministers during church service (including the sacraments too). Usually occurs in a fixed place that meets at a regular place and time.

    (2) Additional special church events = preaching and witness done by the church body on special occasions as they gather on times and places other that that which is ordinarily fixed. These can be official outreaches where the elders preach open-air or at "revival meetings" (this is a whole'nuther issue), or at special conferences.

    (3) Personal evangelism:

    This is what we are talking about really in this thread it seems, the personal evangelism of the church. This can largely be done by laymen who are either women or men. All Christians should be engaged in personal evangelism.

    This includes such sub-categories such as:

    --praying for the sick,
    --Praying for friends, families, etc.

    Praying can be done by anyone.

    --A lifestyle witness, of making sure you live rightly in front of the eyes of the world.

    ---Testimonying and telling of God's grace in your life (again, can be done by anyone and in a variety of places and times,

    ---Explaining/teaching: This can be done more formally or informally, depending on the location. A person has the privilege of teaching anyone in their private home of the things of the Lord as opportunity arises. Sometimes one can be invited to schools, board meetings, community events and these can be opportunities to speak the Word as well in an informal way. Care should be given so as not to hijhak the event and make your Turkey Bake-Off into a sermon.

    Street preaching: This is a narrowly defined activity whereby one preaches on the street to bystanders who have not gathered there for the event but happen to be passing by. If this is preaching, then wisdom would dictate that those who have the ability and (maybe) the authorization to preach only to preach. I would say that most "street preachers" are probably not ordained.

    Street witnessing or street tract ministry: This is more subdued and involved more of a one-to-one witness with the use of tracts. It seems that anyone gifted can have a conversation about the Word and this can be done by women too. It's effectiveness varies according to the time and place and contact in which it is done.

    Open-air preaching:" This is the voluntary gathering of people to hear someone preach. One goes to a place rather than having the preacher block normal thoroughfares of human traffic.

    One commonality in many forms of "street evangelism" is that they target "cold contacts", i.e. strangers. This is a fundemental flaw. The most successful spreadings of Christianity have always occurred through the natural webs of relationships that God has placed us in, like job, family and long-time friends. We should not be vigorous in engaging the strangers until we have first striven to be vigorous in praying for an loving our family, job-mates and friends. This is one reason why many onject to "street evangelism" because they see that many will engage a stranger before their own friends with the Gospel...I guess it is easier to give a tracts but not REALLY get involved.

    There is a book out called "Stop Witnessing and Start Loving" and I think this is a good title. It is not so much an activity performed on tuesday nights as it is a lifestyle of intentionally finding opportunities to love and speak grace into the lives of those who are already close to us.

    I propose using the "Bridges of God" method of evangelism. God has placed us into many webs of relationships. These webs and relationships have always been bridges by which God spreads the Gospel. Instead of engaging "cold contacts" let us be more deliberate and intentional in those around us who need God's grace in salvation.
  30. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    I didn't vote. I'm not going to insult your wording of the poll. But I'll say that there should be more options to choose from.

    I have learned that people generally don't listen to "my" message until/unless they really believe that I care about them. What I believe is the correct thing to do is befriend people before trying to evangelize them. For instance: I have taken it on myself (with our session's blessing) to evangelize some local Muslims. I've contacted a man who has a ministry to them and gotten advice on how to approach them (he's Arabic and grew up in a Muslim country). He says, "Love, love, love them!" People will find out pretty soon if you really care about them or if you're just trying to make them another knotch in your belt.
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