People are asking me why I'm jumping into street preaching this weekend. Here's a little history and the burden I'm feeling.
In February of 2011 Steve McCoy began talking to me about open air evangelism--preaching the gospel in the street. He then put up a blog post called, "The Gospel in the Open Air" that was so strong I said that it was perhaps the most important blog post of the year. Steve stirred me up. Or perhaps the Holy Spirit stirred me up through Steve.
I have long been fascinated with the tales of open air preachers like Whitelfield, Wesley, the Haldane brothers, Moody, etc. But I have never done it. I evangelize conversationally in public. I formally preach in the gathered assembly. But I haven't mixed the two (perhaps I did a bit in the early days of my conversion--but that's a later blog post).
I would have said "no" to the idea of open air preaching back then in light of the culture we now live in being so different than it was in earlier days when God blessed the work so richly. I would point out all the very bad examples of street preaching, and not wanting to be confused with such religious noise. But Steve got me wanting to do it. Badly. And I told Steve then, if I don't do this soon, this burden will disappear. I did nothing. And the fire that was in my heart died out.
God has rekindled the fire and put other men around me in our church who are gifted preachers and zealous evangelists, and when I brought it up they suggested that we do more than talk about it. Their zeal is contagious, and I know by experience, if I don't do this now, I will never do it. We immediately put it on the calendar.
But the question remains. Why go all Whitefield in my city? It certainly isn't because I have romantic notions about street preaching being as successful as in days past. And I am definitely no Whitefield. I really don't know what expect. But I'm compelled because I want to see more people pass from death to life. I need to do this because I want Christ's name to be heard and lifted up. I am also concerned about the relatively low number of conversions happening through our church despite our evangelistic efforts thus far. I'm doing this because I believe I have to do everything I can to get the gospel to those who don't hear it, and this is something I can at least attempt.
So, I'm jumping in on Friday to preach in the city for the glory of Jesus Christ and the good of our neighbors. Please pray for us. In the next post I will explain exactly what we are doing in terms of strategy and approach.