By the Grace of God we have been able to preach the Gospel to many people over the years. Part of the fruit of witnessing to people is getting feedback that they too would like to street preach. In this guide, I will give key points to consider when engaging the general public through street preaching.
#1. Have a biblical understanding of the Doctrines of Jesus Christ.
There are those who attempt to street preach without even knowing the basic doctrines of the faith. While it is good to have zeal and be willing to go out in the public to proclaim the Gospel, one has to realize that to be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ, they need to be sound in doctrine. If one is not sound in the doctrines, then they risk being a false teacher and leading themselves and others into harm and ultimately, condemnation.
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1 KJV).
Here are a few of the Doctrines:
- Belief in the Gospel (Death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. i.e he truly died and truly rose from the dead).
- Repentance (how does one repent and of what does one repent of)
- Water Baptism (what is baptism and how is it performed correctly)
- Baptism of the Holy Ghost (initial evidence one must look for)
- Loss of salvation (the potentiality of falling back into perdition and going to hell)
- False doctrine exposure (this includes all denominations that have added to the Word of God and created false doctrines)
- Modest attire (women and men)
- Holy living (persistent striving to live a Godly, righteous life)
To be a well rounded preacher and an asset to the Kingdom of God, the street preacher should have a firm belief and grasp on the above mentioned doctrines. For example, the first bullet point is: Belief in the Gospel. One would think that would be a no brainer and every street preacher believes in the Gospel, right? Well, not so. I have heard a street preacher preaching, and I quote, “Jesus Christ was never really born, and Jesus Christ never really died.” That type of twisted preaching stems from a denomination and trinitarian stronghold. The false doctrine has taken that person so far into error that they believe that Jesus Christ was never born and that he never died! Another street preacher at a college stated, “Jehovah God died on the cross.” A knowledgeable student can easily refute by stating that Christ Jesus died on the cross. Then there will be contention and strife, all because of false doctrine and not speaking verbatim the scriptures. This is why the Word of God said that there will be “greater condemnation” to those who preach and teach falsely and carelessly. Sadly for those two, they have denied Jesus Christ coming in the flesh and they don’t even know it.
#2. Respect private property and businesses.
I have seen instances where so called preachers are rampaging through businesses shouting at shoppers. Not only is it bad etiquette but it is also illegal. The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. To invade a private property such as a Target or Walmart is not being a good witness to the shoppers or the business owners. Street preachers should not invade businesses that are on private property. Preachers should seek to preach on public property solely but if necessary get permission to speak on private property. A street preacher should also have respect when standing on the street while street preaching. He is not to block the sidewalk where people are walking. He should position himself in a spot where pedestrian traffic can freely walk back and forth. He should not block traffic signs with his banner if he is using a banner. The street preacher should be aware of the sound of his amplifier. He should not have it at a disturbing level or in very close range to the general public. I have seen so called street preachers going directly in front of a business or people eating at a restaurant and use the loudspeaker. This is not a wise thing to do and will surely create an issue when it could have been avoided. Have respect towards those dining and do not preach right in front of their tables or when they are at an outdoor restaurant. That is bad etiquette and will usually generate a disturbance call. The street preacher must be cognizant of such things and not lose all common sense.
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12).
#3. Do not engage in fights with the general public or police officers.
This is something that I found out the hard way. In my early days of street preaching I had an incident with a sinner that turned violent. As I was preaching, my personal space was encroached. I got offended and elbowed the person. The police were called and I almost went to jail. It was something that I regret but it was a learning experience as well. You can see the video on our channel entitled, “Overcoming sin like a saint” or something to that effect. The video goes into more detail of the incident and what was learned from it. The street preacher is going to have his personal space encroached and he must understand this and prepare his emotions in advance. He must not be surprised by the sinner’s sudden evil behavior but must walk in the Spirit so he will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5).
That word “moderation” in the Greek, means forbearance, mild, gentle, reasonable, patient. When the street preacher is operating in moderation of spirit, he will be able to withstand many of the verbal threats, slanders and assaults that may come his way.
The police officers should be respected similarly. I understand that the authorities have the duty of protecting and serving and sometimes the street preacher isn’t being served and protected by the police. This is also something we should expect when dealing with humanity in a fallen state. The police have a job and that is to thwart evil. However, it will seem at times like they are misplacing their attention by giving the street preacher a hard time. This may be the case, but still, we should always conduct ourselves with respect towards the officers. We should never tempt the officer by asking him or her to arrest us or take us to jail. I have heard street preachers say things like, “are you going to arrest me officer, are you going to take me to jail?” This is not a wise thing to say since the officers 99% of the time are not going there to arrest you. The officers are most likely responding to a call that was made. They are obligated to go out and check on what is going on. If we are respectful with the officers things may go much better than if we are disrespectful. That is just common sense.
“For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1 Peter 2:20).
#4 Obscenities and graphic visual content
Obscene language goes without saying. It’s a no brainer. A Christian should not use obscene language and call the women dirty names or call the men foul names and use curse words. Calling a woman a tramp, slut or other derogatory names is not good. There is a way to use the biblical words such as “whore” within context. We can recite the verse and use it in a general way but we shouldn’t point out a woman directly and call her a whore, especially if she is a sinner in need of salvation. Most sinners are just doing what is natural to them in the sinful state. Shaming them into repentance is not a good thing. Once again, there is a delicate way of using the biblical wording while street preaching and we should be wise in doing so and also empathetic along the way.
Another area to consider is the use of graphic banners and tracts. In this ministry we do not use graphic banners or tracts that show fetuses being ripped into pieces etc. We have never been compelled to do so and we personally do not feel it is good etiquette to display such blood and death to the general public and possibly children. We know that there are abortions being done but we don’t feel the need to place them on a sign or banner. Just making a banner that states something like, “Abortion is Murder” will get attention and draw heads and even spark conversation. Overkill is not necessary.
We believe suicide and murder is also a sin but we don’t show victims of murder and suicide on banners or tracts to get people’s attention.
“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalm 101:3).
#5 Competition with other street preachers
For some reason there are those in the street preaching community that think it’s a competition or game. We have to correct people at times who send us unnecessary praise by stating that we are their “favorite” street preacher. We have to advise them to not play favorites and that this is not a game. For those who are truly called to preach it is not something to glory in. It is a weight and a burden at times to carry the calling of a street preacher. A true preacher is not measuring himself with the next man, he is just striving to fulfill the mission God’s sends him. The last thing he is concerned with is pleasing a crowd. That sort of carnal and vain mentality usually comes from those who have low self worth. Those who seek to compete are usually the ones that have to compensate for some shortcoming or deficiency they have.
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12).
When you are called to preach, do it for the mission God has for you. Don’t care about another man’s following, success, antics, baiting, slanders, etc. When you know that you are doing God’s Work, who cares what anyone else thinks or says of you. They are not the ones who will judge you on the Last Day. They are not going to be able to use their status and popularity on judgment day. Many of the self professed street preachers are false teachers anyways that will be rejected by God on judgment day. One needs discernment to know this. We don’t follow any street preacher in the street preaching community. There are select few brethren that are preaching the Word of God unfiltered and Acts 2:38. Those are the ones that catch our attention. But for the most part, many who profess themselves to be preachers are wolves in sheep’s clothing that will contaminate you with their false teachings and doctrines just like they have been corrupted. That is not something to envy but to flee from.
In closing, being a street preacher is more than just taking a banner and bullhorn out in public. This type of ministry is not for everyone. To be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ and to truly put others on the right path, you have to be well equipped and on the right path yourself. To make disciples you should have already been a disciple. In becoming a disciple yourself you should have been grounded in the Gospel, repented of besetting sins, baptized properly in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost. You can certainly preach with a type of “head knowledge” of the things of God but that will only take you so far i.e Apollos, Acts chpt 18. How can you minster the laying on of hands and preaching the baptism of the Holy Ghost if you haven’t received it yourself? How can you baptize a soul properly in the name of Jesus Christ (not titles) if you have not been properly baptized yourself? How can you teach repentance if you have not repented? How can you preach the Gospel if you don’t know the Gospel? These are some of the things you must strongly consider before stepping out into the field of lost souls.