I strongly encourage you to read this article if you are a pastor or church leader, a street preacher, or even consider yourself ‘just’ a one on one evangelist (nothing wrong with that). Tony Miano combines years of experience as a Christian, as an adult, as a street preacher and street preacher trainer to commit his time to [entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.] what he has been taught. (2 Timothy 2:2 ESV)
There is now an entire section of CARM.org dedicated to the biblical practice of street preaching. This is not by mistake. For one thing, God has allowed Tony some time to put these items together; for another thing, there are those of us who see the need for “more maturity” in the community. I particularly recommend the “Quick Tips” for BOTH street preachers and anyone who accompanies a street preacher.
As far as the most recent article goes (I hope you’ve read it), I kept thinking of something else I would want to say to a young street preacher. Allow me to add to what was written by warning a “young” street preacher to first become accountable to a local church before street preaching. I offer a few reasons why this is vital in most cases. A few of these points assume local church membership at least. If you are not a member of a local church, you need to fix that problem before you “go, therefore, and make disciples.”
- As a representative of his local church, a street preacher ought to have the prayerful support of the ministry of the church for his own protection.
- As a representative of his local church, a street preacher may not realize that he is inviting outsiders to contact his pastor. His pastor needs to have an idea what is being said and where it is being said. No pastor wants a surprise phone call.
- Along those lines, the street preacher ought to be considered mature enough to preach/teach by his local body of leadership. I’m not positive, but I’d say generally speaking, if your pastor or leadership has a definite problem with you preaching, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Let me phrase it this way, that needs to be worked out quickly between you and your church.
- Finally, the street preacher must realize that part of the evangelistic process is ultimately bringing new disciples to a local church, and, if God blesses him and geography works out, to his own church. If you are not a part of a church where you would be proud to bring a new disciple, this needs to be resolved. The problem may be YOU; or your church; or a little of both. Each case will be different.
So look. I realize there are church’s that aren’t as excited as others about street preaching. Some simply tolerate it; some encourage it; and there are certainly church’s that may disallow it. Investigating why may provide insight and growth into your own evangelism and Christian life. Maybe your pastor DOES support street preaching, but just doesn’t believe you’re very good at it. Maybe your message isn’t in line with the scripture?
I know in the street preaching community we are very quick to judge. We hear a sermon and we can immediately spot the errors, and with advanced technology of today, we all listen to the “best” preachers on our ipods or whatever. Yet so many in the street preaching community are really not gifted teachers or speakers … where’s the high standard we apply to others?
I do not want to discourage you. If God has gifted you and given you a desire to street preach, that is excellent. But it isn’t something you do overnight any more than most aspects of the Christian walk have to be developed and cared for over time, with intense prayer and study. With that being said, there is a point where you just need to go out and do it, and if you fall on your face, Christ will lift you up again.
* Note: There may be situations where you ought to be preaching WITHOUT the support of your local church. I know of none at this time, but I’m open to the possibility. I think that if your local church tells you NOT to preach, there needs to be some serious discussions why and consideration for the counsel given. This post does not intend to answer or resolve all those possibilities.
** Note: In the original publishing of this article, I stated that Tony’s article was “lacking” something. The use of this word gave the wrong impression as Tony’s article was not intended to address the street preacher’s responsibility to the local church. I have amended the article to simply state that while reading the article, I kept having a thought I felt like writing about as well.
I apologize to Tony and my readers for the insensitivity I employed in calling Tony’s article “lacking,” in an way.