Street preaching is supposedly controversial these days… Many professing Christians even frown upon it… But there is arguably more Biblical presidence for open air public proclamation of the Gospel than any other form of evangelism. Throughout the book of Acts it is the most pronounced form of sharing the message that we see. Moreover, throughout church history it has been the method which has both stood the test of time and which the Church has predominately viewed as the way we are to share the message of Jesus with the world.
Yet, many these days love to use Matthew 28:18-20 as a means to look down upon or attack the Biblical presidence of open air proclamation siting that Jesus called us to “Go and make disciples” not mere converts and that this is best accomplished through relationships. And while what they say is true and relational discipleship should be our goal and part of our emphasis as it was Jesus’ while He was here. We would be incredibly abusing the Gospel, Church history, and Jesus’ words directly if we try to use this as a means to not just not participate in open air preaching of the Gospel but look down on others who do.
Why do I say this?
Well first and foremost because Jesus said clearly in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” This for one, should be enough for us to proclaim the Gospel in the open air to “all of creation” of which is groaning for the day of the Lord to come (Romans 8). Secondly, we need to trust in the message not the method. I am all for strategizing and being students of our cultures and how we can best communicate to them and reach them, but I trust the anointed message of the Gospel above all of such things. We proclaim the message and trust that the Lord will move through it and draw people to Himself through it. For it alone has the power of salvation for mankind (Romans 1:16). Thirdly, as being a people who are teaching those we are discipling to “obey all that Jesus has commanded”, we aren’t just hypocrites if we look down upon open air preaching but we are actually saying to Jesus, “I’ll do it my own way.”
I see two problems with most people who criticize open air preaching, 1. Most who criticize it not only don’t do it, but in many instances have never done it. Call me a skeptic if you want, but to me that seems more like pride or the fear of man than anything that could be remotely argued Biblically. 2. They are often after results more than they are after obedience. We are commanded to proclaim the Gospel to all of creation….period. We are not to only proclaim the Gospel to all of creation only when we are satisfied with the results we get from it.
Anyways recently I had a season of trials where I suffered a great illness which put me out of commission for nearly two and half weeks and also a serious sinus surgery. Both reminded me of how short our time is here and that for most who profess Christ they spend more time talking about reaching the lost than actually trying to reach… That they spend more time talking about their own hope in the Gospel but yet not trusting the Spirit in them enough to go out and share it with others. I don’t say either of those things as a means of attacking any of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ or to in any way heap condemnation on them…No we are free in Christ and our identity is in Him and what He has done alone. However, I do share those things to encourage and provoke my brothers and sisters to consider the Gospel… Consider its power… Consider Christ’ words to proclaim it to all of creation… And then to simply begin doing it without all the over thinking and getting hung up on a results based mentality. Let us walk in obedience and proclaim the Gospel boldly trusting the Spirit that resides in us to move through it.
Through the physical trials mentioned above and others that I have encountered recently, I know it has rekindled this flame in me to proclaim the Gospel boldly as I ought. Here is a short clip of a recent open proclamation in our city which we live and serve… I hope it encourages you immensely and provokes you to go and do likewise… Blessings!
For those who have an attention span longer than three and a half minutes and want to watch the full version of our video click here.