Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As a minister of the gospel who serves Christ and who serves His Bride, I must remind myself frequently of the goals of open air preaching. I hit the streets weekly to proclaim the gospel publicly, to hand out tracts, to engage in conversations, to hold up gospel-signs, and to call men to trust in Christ. As I frequent the streets to open air preach to the masses, I need to review biblical goals of open air preaching so I remember why I do what I do and to guard me from veering off track. 

It behooves me to remember some of the goals of open air preaching.

1. Preach Christ crucified.
Though Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom, the Apostle Paul said, we preach Christ crucified. Paul did not adapt or alter his message to suit the desires of the audience. He came to all people with one message: Jesus Christ, the God-Man, entered the world and lived righteously and he died on Calvary’s cross bearing the full weight of God’s wrath against our sin. In so doing, he became the substitute that took the punishment of sinners and appeases God’s wrath directed toward them. Christ died for sins. He rose up in victory! This is my message. This is my only message. Apart from this, I have nothing to say to the crowds.

2. Rely on prayer.
Evangelism has no power if it is not attended by the Spirit. Prayer takes hold of God and begs God to work through the preached Word so that dead souls might be awakened to new life in Christ. I must rely fully and wholly on prayer. No weapon is available to me that is mightier than prayer. I must rely entirely on prayer. I must pray ahead of time for the preaching and for those who will hear. I must pray for those who will walk by and scoff and ridicule. I must pray for those believers who will be encouraged as the gospel thunders forth. I must beg God to be glorified as the Spirit draws many to the Savior through the message preached in the open air.

3. Exude grace & truth.
Jesus entered the world full of grace and truth. He came and taught the Word of God. He preached the Scriptures. He proclaimed the gospel. He presented the good news and always heralded the truth! As He did this, he perfectly exuded grace. Full, gospel, divine, matchless grace. He modeled a perfect evangelist as one who presented the truth with all grace! He was fully balanced in the giving of the truth with demonstration of heartfelt compassion and grace. I must make it my ambition to exude this kind of Christlike blending of grace and truth in my preaching.

4. Pity the unconverted.
Those who walk by and hear the preached Word are dead souls, walking in living physical bodies, alienated from God, hostile to God, hating the truth, rejecting Christ, and living as self-worshiping idolaters. But I must never be angry with them nor should I retaliate -- ever. I must pity them since they live in darkness, love the darkness, and don’t know anything but darkness. I must see them as sheep without a shepherd and pity their souls and earnestly pray for God to awaken them. I should evidence David’s heart from Psalm 119 that my eyes would shed streams of water because they do not keep your Law (Ps 119:136). I must go on the streets with a genuine brokenness for the lost and a loving, compassionate pursuit of the lost so they may find their Shepherd!

5. Trust the Spirit's work.
As with any evangelism, the duty is mine to obey Christ and proclaim Him to the lost and yet my confidence rests wholly with the absolutely sovereign work of God to save His elect, to draw His own, and to sanctify the redeemed. Even if I see no visible results, I must keep on serving Christ knowing that it’s the Lord Christ that I serve. I must trust and pray and expect that the watering of the gospel-seed will produce much fruit according to God’s will. I go and I continue to go and trust God. I expect Him to work. I pray and ask for many souls to be won for His renown.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this post. Our church in Honduras has just been praying about open air preaching and some have begun to do so on the local buses. This is a great article on the Biblical and important points to remember, and if you don't mind, I will translate to share with our pastor and Honduran brothers and sisters. God bless you and make His name known through you as you preach Christ!

Oscar Guinness said...

Great post. How would you respond to culture war issues during street evangelism? Such as gay marriage, abortion, atheism(which approach of apologetics would you use?), and others... When people passing by bring those issues up, how do you bring the focus back to point 1? Also, what do you think about people who have an overtly inclusive way, like CS Lewis did, regarding Roman Catholics and other gospel-denying groups, during evangelism? Thanks! God bless!

Home Site said...

MYSELF I HAND OUT TRACTS MORE THEN I OPEN AIR PREACH . THE GOSPLE TRACT AND THE PERSON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT .http://chick.com/catalog/tractlist.asp :) have a great story about the home I lost to the bank and the Muslims who now owns it .

Bill Hamilton said...

Great post! And it so refreshing to discover a local pastor preaching on the streets! Your church, your leadership at your church and your street ministry sound a lot like where I want to be! I've got the street (and campus) covered, but not leading a local church... yet. You've inspired me to move in that direction as a missionary to a country - Brazil - where expository preaching is rarely seen.

Just one comment on your first point. I trust you'll agree that there's a big need to preach the Law along with Grace so that our hearers will understand why THEY need the crucified Christ, right? Otherwise, sin and the Spirit's conviction of it can remain "general."

Keep up the excellent work, Brother Geoff!

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