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Street Preaching 101
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Great Street Preacher Dr. Terry Vanbuskirk
The Joshua Stone
Do's and don'ts of Street Preaching
"Let all things be done decently and in order" I Cor. 14:40
FIrst of all as Corinthians says we are to be in order and with a decent message when preaching in the streets. Keeping yourself and team in order is a key in being successful in the streets. We need to remember the ears we are preaching to do not want to hear some loud mouthed idiot telling them how quickly they are going to Hell. There is a need for us to take the Gospel to the streets but in a loving way. We do not want to offend and push the lost even further away.
A gravelled and harsh voice that does not sound sincere. Do not be harsh or obnoxious with what you have to say.
Do not be trying to tell them off showing your superior knowledge of the Gospel. The streets are no place for you to vent on the hearers of your message.
Name calling may well be a good way to get arrested, it may lead to the police taking you away instead of people taking the Gospel. Derogatory remarks or anything considered ethnic bias can land you in deep trouble. If you are not preaching with love and compassion on the streets then find another place to get it all out other than on the streets.
Facial expressions can win or lose an audience as they gather and see your mannerisms. Looking stone cold or like you are ready to pounce on them will turn them off immediately. Try to relate your facial look to what you are saying. When speaking of the love of God or heaven try to look as though you know just what it is you are trying to convey. Show them the surety of your lesson, keep it fresh in words and looks.
Preach the Gospel, leave your personal convictions to share one on one when asked.
I have heard it said any idiot can get arrested preaching. Know why you are there, getting arrested does not help to win the lost. Nor should you go and preach just to get arrested. If however you do get arrested make sure it is for street preaching. There is a long line of other offenses that can come along with preaching on the streets. The usual offenses fro street preaching are:
B) disorderly conduct
C) failure to maintain locomotion
D) disturbing the peace
To avoid some of if not all of these situations here are a few more areas to look at:
1) Stay away from private property
2) Do not use a P.A. system, some towns have laws about the use and how loud they are.
3) Avoid preaching at night, though there may be a few times that are exceptions try at all cost to avoid night street preaching
4) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, have a helper with you. Never go at it alone, no matter what kind of he-man you think you may be, never go to the streets by yourself.
Check with local authorities before going out, especially if you are out of town and do not know the ordinances of that town. Knowledge will keep you on the streets, out of jail, and safe. When possible talk to the local police and let them know what you are to do and where. It is a good thing to let them know how long you will be there and what you are going to say. Ask for the Badge number rank and name of who you talk to saying it is ok. Make a note of these 3 things and keep it with you. That way if police do show up then the one watching out for the one preaching can give it to the officers and let them know it is ok for you to be there. Also leaving your vehicle discription may work to your advantage. They know the strange car in the area is yours.
It is inevitable in a street ministry to think you will never have the police called. Remember the Gospel is an offense to those that are lost.
Limit your time. You do not need to be there for hours on end. Somewhere along the line people will get agitated you are there so long. A good rule of thumb is 25-35 minutes of preaching is more than enough time to get a good message out. It may take a few minutes once you start for people to gather to listen but then go and preach the message and do it with compassion. When you have music with you then give yourself about 45-50 minutes. A good song or two to stir up interest and then the message.
Keep it simple! Preach on salvation! Never preach in the streets on the doom and gloom of things to come. Never preach Hell Fire and Damnation. You are there as an ambassador of Jesus Christ to win the lost not push them away.
The best street messages are ones you know the subject matter inside and out. Sure it is a good thing to have your Bible with you but it is more effective if you do not have to read from it but rather quote the verses. Have your message memorized or know what you want to say. Notes are not a productive tool in the streets. I know you have seen and heard preachers in churches always using notes if not actually reading them directly, but in the streets that will not work. People expect you to be the expert, or you wouldn't be there. If you only know one sermon by heart, then preach it every time you go out, just go to different areas with that message. Repeating a message several times like this will enhance your knowledge of that message. Then from memory you will be able to ad verses of scripture or subtly change the message as you go.
Always be in prayer for your street preaching, or public preaching ministry. Pray for God to lead you and protect you in all things. Pray for power of the Holy Spirit to carry your message. Pray for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse the area you are about to preach in. Pray that God will give you the words to say and to not be easily distracted. Distractions not only may come but WILL come. Pray God to give you the ability to preach around the distractions or to them with the right words. You must be "instant in season and out". Do not let it bother you that you preach the greatest evangelistic message ever and no one gets saved. Remember the words of Paul, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase," I Cor. 3:7.
Compassion and concern for the lost soul will be your greatest weapon when preaching in the streets.
These are a few lessons for starting street preaching, if you are to start this ministry I have a couple others to pass along. Be open to the word of God, listen as He leads. Do it of God not of yourself. "I must decrease and He must increase", keep in mind it is not you to be promoted but the Word of God. Lastly make sure that God has called you to this ministry. Make sure it is in God's will and plan for your life to preach His Holy Word in the Streets. AND, May God Bless you as you go.
Street preaching is like many hobbies or jobs, you must practice. You must be out there and doing it.Just going once in a while you will get rusty. Consistency is the key. The more you go the better you will do. When you lay off the hecklers will once again bother you. Do not let them be a distraction. When you go know your surroundings as I have previously stated and know what you are going to say. Keep it at the planned sermon, that way hecklers will not silence your message. Know the scriptures you will use so you do not have to look them up. Doing so makes it seem like you do not know what you are saying. Practice the scriptures you plan to use. Memorize them before you go. Remember there is nothing wrong with using the same message every time you street preach.
Repetition will be one of your greatest allies in hitting the streets. Just like the great free throw shooters in basketball. They shoot hundreds of free throws everyday in practice. You need to do the same when you prepare to go to the streets to preach. Personally I use the Romans Road and know the text. I have repeated it so many times it is a natural thing to run all the way through it now. I have taught it in Sunday School class and each time I gain more retention in the verses and explanation of those verses.
Practice not being distracted so you can keep going. Practice being able to look at that heckler and just say,"thank you" and keep going. Stay with your text, do not try to take on the heckler and prove the Bible. Remember they already think you are he expert and waiting for you to mess up or not answer them. So don't! Stick to your message. This happens from practice.