Introduction to Street Preaching
An article from the Street Preacher's Page of Westside Baptist Church
One of the greatest tasks any church faces is providing an environment and
training ground where young men are called to preach the Gospel and equipped to preach
Biblically, boldly, effectively, and fearlessly. One of the great vehicles for this is
Gospel Mission Preaching, which we do at the San Francisco Gospel Mission. Another vehicle
in these needy times is the art which has, in times past, been called "publick
ministry," or street Preaching. This is perhaps the most misunderstood and feared of
all options when churches plan how they will reach their areas for Christ. There are three
reasons for this:
First, street preaching has largely been abused. We are all familiar with the "man on the street" with a "sandwich board" who shouts at passers by and generally causes a public disturbance and bad feelings. His message is poorly organized, disjointed, often unkind, and is generally lacking in a clear presentation of the Gospel. I don't know what this is, but it is NOT street preaching as it ought to be done! The Street Preacher should be heard, but not be strident. His message should show careful planning and preparation. His compassion for his hearers and friendly concern should be evident even when he is subjected to ridicule and heckling. His presentation of the Gospel should be clear, concise, well laden with Biblical references, and concluding with a clear invitation. Experienced
Soulwinners and street musicians will do even more to increase the effectiveness of any Street Preaching campaign. We have even printed out a special Street Preaching Tract for use in such meetings.
Second, There is a great misunderstanding of the legalities which exist. Street preaching is perfectly legal when done on public property in a correct manner. If you wish to use any kind of loudspeaker, check with local ordinances to see if this is allowed and the maximum amplifier wattage allowed. You cannot block motor traffic, impede the flow of pedestrian traffic, stop people who do not wish to be stopped, engage in abusive language or demeanor, or make statements which are slanderous or libelous. These actions will get you in trouble with the law (and deservedly so!) If you are challenged by a police officer (I have found this to be rare!) have one person detailed to talk with that officer and see what problems there are. Courtesy toward the officer goes a long way to avoiding trouble. Use your temper - don't lose your temper! A street preacher who preaches for a half hour at one spot and then moves down a block or two will rarely have any trouble. If you are
"looking for trouble" and want to be the "jailbird hero" of your church, you should check your motives, tough guy! For information on street preaching contact:
"Christian Law Association"
Gibbs &Craze Co.,L.P.A. Attorneys and Counselors at Law
P.O. Box 4010, Seminole, FL 33775-4010
Phone (813) 399-8300. . . . .FAX (813) 398-3907
E-mail David Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Third. I have found that the average pastor is terrified at the thought of street preaching.! He is afraid of what others may think, he is concerned for his safety or reputation, and he fears of the ridicule which he will sometimes experience. From five years of experience as the Pastor of a Church who preaches both in the pulpit and on the "Streets of San Francisco" I have seven things to say: (1) We are now seeing folks saved nearly every time that we go out Street Preaching; (2) We have had visitors in the church and people baptized as a result of Street Preaching; (3) Street Preaching has been a great help to young men in our church who want to preach; (4) Street Preaching has been a great help to our Church Soulwinning program; (5) Our teens love to go out on Street Preaching meetings; (6) Street Preaching is great "heart therapy" when I am in danger of losing my compassion for the lost condition of unsaved people; and (7) God will bless the church who uses Street Preaching even as He blessed the church in the book of Acts - indeed, Street Preaching was the predominant method of outreach used by the church in Acts and I fail to see how we can ignore Street Preaching and claim to be obedient to Christ's call, ministry, methods, and message!