Although this method of Gospel-sharing is mostly misunderstood and rejected by much of the church these days (in favour of so called ‘better’ ways), street-preaching was THE method the Holy Spirit chose and the Early Church used to spread the Good News.
In fact, it was directly prescribed and commanded by Jesus Himself:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
The word ‘preach’ in the Greek is the word ‘kerysso’ and means to herald and proclaim as a public (town) crier. This was the original sense of ‘preacher’, and why the Apostle Paul said, “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald” (2 Timothy 1:11, NIV).
Because the disciples simply took Jesus at his word to publicly herald (preach) the gospel, the book of Acts shows us that entire cities, towns, and entire regions came to Jesus on-mass. Nothing could stop God moving throughout the lands, not even fierce persecution.
Today a lot of the Church wonders why we don’t see God move like He used to.
We’ve created many programs, meetings, and ‘new’ ideas to get the gospel out, but most seem to fall short. Our towns, cities, and countries continue to morally implode, and people are losing hope. Even Christians are becoming discouraged, throwing in the towel, and giving in to solely ‘Sunday-morning Christianity’.
Getting over the ‘I’m not called’ hurdle
This is a popular excuse and hurdle I’ve heard throughout the years. Many say, “The Apostles were called, and Evangelists are gifted, but we’re just every day ‘Joe’ and ‘Mary’ Christians”. This thinking misses two crucial truths.
First, Jesus first called disciples to preach the gospel, not Apostles. When Jesus gave his command in Mark 16:15, not one of those he spoke to were Apostles yet. This means Jesus gave this command to every Christian, and to His Church as a whole.
We see this in Acts, as believers obeyed Jesus by going out into the highways and byways to tell people what God had done for them. The Church’s main goal was clear for all to see back then; to openly-proclaim the Gospel to unbelievers!
Second, believers aren’t only ‘called’ to preach the gospel, we are ‘commanded’ to do so. Jesus in Mark 16:15 didn’t say ‘preach it if you feel like it,’ he used an imperative command: “Go” (Mark 16:15). Preaching is not a lifestyle choice, an option, or for the specially gifted, it is a commanded-calling for all believers, enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Getting over the ‘fear’ hurdle
Fear kept me from street-preaching for years. Fear of how people would respond and of not being eloquent or convincing enough. But when I started one thing was clear: it was nowhere near as scary or difficult as I’d anticipated.
For one, it’s true that the Gospel is powerful, but it’s also a very simple message. It’s tough to mess up when all you have to do is explain that Jesus went to the cross, bore our sins, and that all who repent and believe will be saved from their sins.
People are also a lot more open to the Gospel than we think. Even those that aren’t, won’t go for your throat. Usually they just ignore the message and keep moving. The worst I’ve ever had is someone swear at or give me the middle finger. Another person called the cops because they didn’t like me using a sound-amplification device, so I simply continued preaching without it.
The biggest hurdles for preaching the gospel only exist in our minds. The reality is that they are usually very small. But if every we encounter great opposition or persecution, the Bible shows that God will be with us in very powerful ways so we have nothing to fear.
Finally, seeing an example video of someone street-preaching or joining with someone who has or is doing it already is very helpful. They can give you advice, feedback, and help with conversations or questions from hearers. For an example of street preaching feel free to check out my YouTube page.
Getting over the ‘unbelief’ hurdle
Many people today don’t believe that street preaching works. When they don’t see results they can physically hear or see, they conclude that it mustn’t be effective. Whereas Scripture says that the Word of God is powerful and always effective, because it is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word never returns to him without it accomplishing His purpose (Isaiah 55:11).
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is always convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). Therefore when we share the Gospel, we can always be confident that God is at work in hearts and to open eyes and ears to understanding the truth. If some reject it, like some will, God is also sovereign over that; still giving unrepentant sinners the opportunity to respond.
The Bible also clearly shows us how important it is to share the gospel to all who will hear. It says, “…how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Jesus also tells us to preach in public (Matthew 10:27), and himself demonstrated this wherever he went while on Earth. Jesus called the first disciples to be ‘fishers of men’ (Matthew 4:19), so our primary calling is the same.
What do I need to share the Gospel in public?
First, you need to be saved. You need to repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross. Then you will have the Holy Spirit inside you; and the ability to share the Good News.
Second, you need a basic understanding of the Gospel.
You need to understand what Jesus did on the cross, why he did it, and the effect it has on the repentant sinner. A basic understanding is more than enough for God to save souls. Then continue to deepen your understanding of the Gospel and Scripture so you’ll be able to defend the gospel and answer questions from potential-believers when needed.
Third, you need to rely on the Holy Spirit. Pray for boldness and ability before you share. Pray for open hearts to the Gospel, and for God to save people. Realise there’s nothing you can do to save, only Jesus saves. You are just a vessel.
Finally, trust that whenever you share the Gospel Jesus is at work to save some who hear you. Because he says that he will build His Church, and the gates of Hell won’t succeed to stop or bring it down (Matthew 16:18). All who hear and are appointed for eternal life will be saved (Acts 13:48).
Our world is in desperate need of the Good News of Salvation! Will you obey Jesus’ command to “Go” and share it with them?
Tim is a high school teacher in Queensland and just finished a season being a youth pastor in America. He has a passion for the gospel and for seeing lives changed by the power, person and love of Jesus Christ.
Tim Price’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-price.html