Why I Am Not a fan of Street preachers
They seem to be every where
You have probably seen and heard them. Street preachers do seem to be everywhere. Even in the local and Christian news outlets, they pop up from time to time. But while Jesus was technically a street preacher, I am not a fan of most modern versions.
It is clear that many were called of God to perform this task, yet there are times that there seems to be a big disconnect between that calling and the implementation of it. There seems to be a lot of difference between the modern street preachers and the they Jesus did it in the 1st century.
Jesus did preach repentance
We see that his first recorded sermon in Matthew was a sermon on calling the people to repent. His words are recorded in Matthew 4:17 and the verse goes like this:
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus sermon came just after John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned and not long after the 3 temptations he faced. It was during this time that Jesus started to call his disciples and told them that he would make them fishers of men.
Yet, we see no record of Jesus being abusive, illegal, hate filled and so on as he preached his message of repentance. In Matthew 11:20 we read that Jesus did start to denounce those villages and towns for their lack of repentance. He said,
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the [v]miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in [w]sackcloth and ashes.
But there is a key word in there that draws a distinct line between Jesus’ style of street preaching and the kind we see take place today.
Many modern street preachers condemn first
As you can see in that verse one of the reasons Jesus started to condemn those villages was because they refused to repent AFTER all the miracles he performed in their presence. This is not something we see from many modern street preachers today.
If they do miracles, those acts of love have not made it to the news. Whenever I have heard street preachers, I have only heard a harsh salvation message condemning those who pass by. Now these modern street preachers may be trying to warn every one of the coming judgment from God, but their approach seems to lack something.
That something seems to be the love that Jesus had for the people he was ministering to. Too often modern street preachers are only after the soul of those they try to warn. They do not care about the person in the slightest way except to save the soul and let the people make it on their own.
That is the way these preachers come across and their message may be more of a tinkling bell that one fueled by the love of Christ which we read about in 1 Cor. 13.
There seems to be a lack of understanding
In reading the article Street preacher rebukes Kirk Franklin for failing to represent Christ at BET Awards”” at the Christian Post, the street preacher written about seems to lack insight and understanding. This is a common trait I have seen throughout the years.
In the modern street preacher’s mind, it seems thy think that everyone must do what they do in order to be a true Christian. They seem to forget that there is a whole body of offices that believers must fill and not all of them include ministering like a street preacher.
God uses his people in a variety of ways as he knows the hearts of the unlost. The street preachers seem to be motivated by their mission and do not apply all the scriptures to their ministry
Jesus cared about the whole person
This is evident by the number of accounts we have of the various individual interactions Jesus had with different people. When they were sick, he healed them. When they were hungry, he fed them, when they were caught in ignorance, he taught them. Jesus did more than just rebuke the Pharisees, etc., for their hypocrisy.
He met the people where they were at and helped them through their physical struggles. The widow whose only son had died, was raised from the dead. The Orman servant was healed just by his speaking and on the examples go.
Sadly, we do not see many of the modern street preachers do anything close to the acts of Jesus when they are on the street preaching at everyone who goes by. If they did do what Jesus did, certainly they would draw a crowd and gather more souls than they are currently harvesting.
We would also hear about it more often.
What makes a street preacher good
Anybody can get on a soap box and preach a hellfire message and walk away thinking that they served the Lord. It doesn’t take much training to be a street preacher. Just a bible, a place to stand and a few words in their mouths.
It takes someone special t be a street preacher like Jesus. First, they need to have compassion for the people. They are not just souls to save but fellow human beings who have struggles and problems they need help with. Some even need miracles.
Second, they need understanding. Their message cannot always be a sermon of repentance. Jesus did not preach that every time he spoke. He varied his sermons to meet the needs of his listeners at that moment.
Also, Jesus did not have everyone who converted do as he did. Many of his followers looked after other needs. Third, Jesus taught with wisdom and a vital message. His Sermon on the Mount laid out a lot of God’s rules. This allowed the people to know what they were supposed to do.
Among other important details. A close examination of Jesus’ street ministry would sow the various differences between his work and the work being done today by modern street preachers.
Some final words
For some reason many of the modern street preachers seem like fanatics instead of solid believers. They get hold of one idea and then run with it forever. They never seem to broaden their work or their message.
It is like they are stuck on their call and will not budge from it even to grow into mature believers who have a lot to give to the people they encounter on the street. They seem stuck in a rut and place themselves as greater Christians than those they rebuke.
In a final assessment, it seems that these street preachers are missing the mark on their potential. They turn more people off of Christ than they are bringing to him and this is a tragedy.
Street preaching can be an effective tool for Christians to use, but so is feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, healing the sick and other physical acts that are related to the category of the social gospel and ignored.
Doing such activities in Jesus name would bring better results than limiting one’s message to repentance and condemnation only. To be effective, street preachers need to grow a lot more in Christ and see more passages than the following one
‘If I say to the wicked, you shall surely die and you don’t warn them, their blood is on your hands- Ezekiel 3:18
We can warn while we are meeting people’s needs and do it in a nicer way than some street preachers do.
© 2019 David Thiessen