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Street Preaching 101
The Dos and Don’ts of Street Missions
“Let all things be in order and in order” I Cor. 14:40
First of all, when we preach in the streets, we must be orderly and have a proper message, as the Corinthians said. Keeping yourself and your team organized is the key to success on the streets. We need to be mindful of our preaching ears so that we don’t want to listen to a loudmouthed fool tell us how fast we are going to hell. We need to take the gospel to the streets, but with love. We don’t want to hurt or alienate our lost one.
It will NOT happen
A gravelly, harsh voice that doesn’t sound sincere. Do not be harsh or resentful in what you say.
Don’t try to show them your superior knowledge of the gospel. The street is not the place to get your message across.
Name-calling can be a good way to get arrested, and it can lead to people taking the police instead of accepting the Gospel. Anything that comes across as derogatory or racist can get you into deep trouble. If you don’t preach love on the street, find somewhere else off the street.
A facial expression will win or lose when the audience gathers and looks at their behavior. Looking stone cold or ready to pounce on them will turn them off right away. Try to match your facial expressions with what you are saying. When you talk about the love of God or heaven, try to look like you know what you mean. So let them be the proof of your lesson and keep it fresh with your words and looks.
Leave your personal beliefs to preach the gospel and share one by one when asked.
I have heard that any fool can be caught preaching. Know why you’re there, getting arrested won’t help you lose. Also, don’t go and preach to get arrested. If you get arrested, make sure it’s for a street mission. There is a long list of other crimes that can go hand in hand with street preaching. Typical crimes of street preaching are:
C) not maintaining motion
D) disturbing the peace
To avoid all these situations, there are several things to consider:
1) Stay away from private property
2) Do not use the PA system, some cities have laws about the use and their loudness.
3) Avoid preaching at night, although there are a few exceptions, try to avoid street preaching at night.
4) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be with a support person. Never go alone, no matter what man you think you are, never go out alone.
Check with local authorities before going out, especially if you’re out of town and don’t know the city’s regulations. Knowledge will keep you safe on the streets and out of jail. If possible, talk to the local police and let them know what to do and where to do it. It’s a good idea to let them know how long you’ll be there and what you’re going to say. Ask for the badge number rating and the name of the person who says “Fine”. Make a note of these 3 things and take them with you. That way, if the police show up, the person watching the preacher can hand it to the officers and let them know it’s okay for you to be there.
Surely you would think that the Ministry of Streets would not call the police. Remember, the gospel is hurtful to the lost.
Limit your time. You don’t have to stay there for hours. Somewhere along the line, people will be upset that you’re there too long. A good rule of thumb is that 25-35 minutes of preaching is enough time to get the message across. It may take a few minutes for people to start listening, but then go and preach the message and do it with compassion. Give yourself 45-50 minutes if you have music with you. A good song to pique interest, followed by a message.
Keep it simple! Preach salvation! Never preach about the doom and gloom of things to come in the streets. Never learn hellfire and damnation. As an apostle of Jesus Christ, you are there to win the lost, not to push them away.
The best messages on the street are those that know the subject inside and out. Of course it is good to have your Bible with you, but you don’t need to read from it, but quoting from the scriptures will be more effective. Memorize the message or know what you want to say. Notes are not a productive tool on the street. I know you have seen and heard that preachers in churches often used notes in the streets if they did not read them directly. People expect you to be an expert or you wouldn’t be there. If you know only one sermon by heart, preach it every time you go out, and go somewhere else with that message.
Always pray for street preaching or community evangelism. Pray that God will guide you and protect you in all things. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to carry your message. Pray for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse the area where you are going to preach. Pray that God will give you the words to say and not be distracted. Distractions will come and go. Ask God to give you the ability to surround yourself with distractions or preach to them with the right words. You must be “in and out of season.” Don’t let it bother you that you preach the greatest gospel message ever and nobody gets saved. Remember Paul’s words, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God multiplied” I Cor. 3:7.
Compassion and caring for lost souls will be your greatest weapon when preaching on the streets.
These are a few lessons for starting a street ministry, and I have a few more if you are looking to start this ministry. Be open to God’s word and listen to His leading. Do it from God, not from yourself. Remember, “I must decrease, He must increase,” it is not you who are promoted but God’s Word. Finally, make sure that God has called you to this ministry. Preaching His Holy Word in the streets, plan your life according to God’s will. AND, God bless you as you go.
Street Mission 201, a more detailed look at Open Street Mission. We all hope the second reads as well as the first.
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