Does Street Preaching Work In 2021?

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I’m not going to argue in this post that street preaching doesn’t work, I am more of the opinion that it is less likely to work. In my world, conversion is a mixed bag of tricks, but, you know, some tricks work better than others. With that in mind, why has street preaching outlived all the other methods? It is a good and fast way to reach the public that is why.

Is reaching a greater audience the most important thing? To some the focus of maximizing ones audience in the most affordable way possible is the answer. As someone who has worked in sales, our technique was always a numbers game. The more doors you knocked the more your chances are of getting a sale accelerated. Sure, out of 1000 knocks you will get 950 “No” as an answer, but you got 50 yes’s and that is all that mattered because you reached your target for the week when the numbers added up.

However, as sales people we realized very quickly that simply knocking loads of doors was not good enough. Your method of pitching the sale had to be top notch. The more presentable and clever you were in selling the item, the more Yes’s you ended up with. The world of evangelization is no different. You can have a really great audience on the street, but if the method of preaching already puts a bad taste into the mouth of the public, you’re on a losing streak. ~

For example, I’m a salesperson walking through a neighbourhood that finds the wearing of shorts very distasteful. If I wear shorts while selling, what do you think is going to happen? I’m going to get the door slammed in my face and walk away with nothing. I failed miserably because I did not respect the cultural attitudes of my audience. No different in Christianity.

It’s not that street preaching is outdated, it’s got nothing to do with how old something is. The question is does it work for the time, place and culture of the present moment? If the answer is a resounding NO, then we must employ another type of method that does speak to the culture. St.Paul was very clever in scripture, he was able to examine the time, place and language of the people in order to reach out to them.

Street preaching happened to be one of them and it was acceptable by the culture of the time even though his message was not he got a beaten for it. He became a Jew and mimicked their behaviour in order to develop relationships with them and convert them.

In my world of sales and my world in general, time is money. In the Lords world time is souls. Remember, I am not saying preaching on the street doesn’t work, only that it’s not good enough. You’re spending all that time and money talking to a big crowd who views your method as corny and distasteful. Time is souls so how do you maximize that time in reaching out to others with the message of Christ?

I could spend all day coming up with answers, but here’s one I’ve recently employed. I’ve begun learning new languages. Yes, I’ve pinched from the world a man who is desperate to learn English. In return for me teaching him, he’s going to instruct me in the ways of his language, Norwegian. And you develop that relationship and trust and then you hit him with some English homework. . . THE BIBLE or some clever book that may not be as heavy material as the Bible but eases them gently into the concept of religion.

You see, what I’m doing is using what it is he loves such as learning a new language, in order to bring the message of Christ to him in a subtle way. We live in a world now where being subtle has a better affect on the person. It’s preferable to hitting them with a sledge hammer of “Jesus Loves you” phrases and quoting bible passages on the street. “Jesus loves you”. It’s a lovely thing to say but it means nothing to my newfound Norwegian friend or anyone on the street. What are you hoping to accomplish? That they will turn around and say, “Yes, he loves me, JESUS LOVES ME. I’M CHRISTIAN NOW!!!”?

It’s time for Christians to get clever and look for ways to bring the Gospel message in a way the culture finds acceptable. But it can’t look corny or too religious otherwise you lose your audience. In my opinion you may be speaking to hundreds throughout the day and who knows, many may be getting saved from the world, but time is souls, and you’re losing out on better techniques.

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