From the News-Globe, Amarillo Texas - January 24, 1999


SWATmobile gets ink

Brother Sutek with the "SWATmobile" in Texas

The article from the Amarillo newspaper, January, 1999:

Jesus preached in the open air, and it's a tradition that should be continued, said a street preacher in Amarillo this week for a revival.

The Rev. Gerald Sutek, who is scheduled to preach his final revival service at 7 p.m. today at Charity Baptist Tabernacle at 1040 S. Eastern St., puts about 18,000 miles a year on his motor home. And his wife and daughter always are with him because the 34-foot motor home is where they live.

Sutek, 53, said he spends half his time preaching on the street and the rest giving lectures in churches and at bible colleges, trying to convince others of the need for public preaching.

"I am doing what the Bible tells every Christian to do, to be unashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ in the public forum," said Sutek, who calls his ministry "S.W.A.T. Team for Christ."

"We bring the gospel out of the church and into the streets, where it is so desperately needed."

Sutek said he preaches in front of bars and liquor stores, wherever teen-agers are hanging out and even at noon downtown when the business people hit the streets.

To get their attention, he carries signs, plays his accordion, sings old-time gospel hymns and preaches in what he calls an "authoritative" voice.

"We get a lot of verbal abuse, but I've never been hit in 30 years," he said.   Sutek said he is not "obnoxious" in his preaching and does not use a public  address system. But, he said, "The gospel is offensive. Sinners realize they are guilty of sin. Nobody wants to repent. It's humiliating."

Street preaching is not easy, Sutek said. He said most preachers shy away from it because "people might make fun of them."

"We're supposed to bear reproach for Jesus Christ," he said. "We are to be partakers of the afflictions of the gospel. A person who holes up in the church is not a partaker of any afflictions. We have a glut of professional preachers who preach to a voluntary audience on Sundays for money, but won't preach to sinners on the street for free."

The Rev. Charles Jones, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Amarillo, said there is plenty of work for everybody.

"I would like to think all of us are called by God, regardless," Jones said. "He can probably reach people we aren't able to reach. I think any of our preachers today would be willing to reach those people if they could."

Sutek said he was "saved" at age 18, started serving in churches at 24 and went to Independent Baptist Bible College at age 27.

He said he has been on the road for the past 12 years, with the exception of three years he served as pastor of Gloryland Baptist Church in Bally Mena, Northern Ireland.

While in Ireland, Sutek and his wife, Robin, preached throughout Europe and taught a seminar in the Philippines. Unable to have children, they had been praying for a chance to adopt, and it happened there.

They met a Filipino woman who had seven children and was dying of cancer. Her husband was a farmer who knew it would be difficult to care for all the children, so they asked the Suteks to take their infant. That was four years ago.

Mary Bethany, whom Robin Sutek home schools on the road, is now their child legally and soon should become an American citizen.

Sutek never accepts money for his street preaching, but he does accept love offerings for his seminars.

"And some churches support us, but I have never solicited their support," he said.

Sutek said people often stop to listen to him when he preaches outdoors, but he admits he is not always well-received. He said he definitely got the cold shoulder from shipyard workers in Connecticut, college students at Harvard and Mardi Gras revelers in New Orleans.

"My best reception is not in America," he said. "Our best reception was in the Ukraine, and second-best was in the republic of Georgia."

Sutek said he preaches publicly because "I believe in it, and it's fun. I'm looking forward to the blessings of eternity."

Sutek said he puts on a national street preaching seminar every year. For more information about the seminar, call 1-800-428-3660.