In St. Augustine we preach to all different kinds of lost people, and we preach to all of them the same message. We preach Jesus Christ crucified, died and buried, and risen again on the third day according to the scriptures.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 (KJV)
On March 24 in 2012, I stepped out onto the corner of St. George and Hypolita streets in downtown Saint Augustine, Florida, and answered the call of God on my life to preach on the street. I preached alone that day, but amazingly God has provided co-laborers to minister with me every time since then including today.
So I thought I would share some of the lessons that the Lord has shown me through street preaching.
ACOUSTIC PREACHING: Though I have never used amplification when preaching on the streets, I have watched and listened as others have done so. It seems to me that when you’re preaching without amplification, it comes off more like the conversation that it’s supposed to be. Street preaching through microphones has a very harsh quality to it, and can be quite off-putting to the passersby. I believe with all my heart that if God has truly called someone to preach on the streets, then He has also given them a voice that can carry through on its own without electronic amplification.
LOVING THE LOST: Nothing makes me cringe more than watching some angry, self-righteous street preacher calling people out for their sins while mocking and belittling them. I think these people do a disservice to the cause of Christ. Yes, we are called to preach against sin, that’s true, but we need to always remember that it’s the Holy Spirit that brings the conviction. In St. Augustine we preach to all different kinds of lost people, and we preach to all of them the same message. We preach Jesus Christ crucified, died and buried, and risen again on the third day according to the scriptures. We preach Jesus Christ as the one and only way to Heaven. We preach because Hell is real and we don’t want to see them or anyone else going there. In short, we preach because if God loved the lost enough to send His Son to die on the cross for them, then showing them love is the least we can do.
A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THE POLICE: When we started this street ministry, one of the first things we did was pay a visit to the then St. Augustine Police Commander, Steve Fricke, and spoke with him of our desire to preach on the streets while at the same time staying within city codes and ordinances. Commander Fricke was very nice to us, and told us what we needed to do, and we did it. From that day to this, 6 years later, we’ve never had a tense or bad moment with local law enforcement as we’ve preached within the hearing of well over a million people and the handing out of over 250,000 gospel tracts. The St. Augustine police have treated us very well. So it makes me just a little suspicious when I hear stories of street preachers who have these horrific run-ins with their local police. I can’t imagine they are not operating “in the flesh” when these incidents occur.
Many things about the Church have changed over the past 2,000 years, with some of those changes being good and some being not so good. But one thing that has never changed is the God-appointed ministry of street preaching. Jesus was a street preacher, all His disciples and apostles were street preachers, and the apostle Paul was absolutely a street preacher.
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23 (KJV)
If God has called you to be a preacher, don’t wait around to “get a church” who will give you a “pulpit”. Grab a boxful of gospel tracts and your King James Bible, and head out to your local street corner and preach the gospel of the grace of God to the people walking by. I promise you that by the time you’re done, you will know for sure if God has really called you to street ministry.
How the NTEB Gospel Tract came to be sent around the world
One day back in 2015, I was walking to St. George street to preach, and this thought came into my head that I should make the NTEB gospel tract we were using available through the website. I entertained that thought for a moment, then after we started preaching, I promptly forgot all about it. About an hour later, I was approached by a young Spanish couple on St. George street who stopped to hear me preach. After listening awhile, the man asked me in broken English about what I thought was him getting some tracts. So I handed him a box of tracts and he gave me a $20 bill. I assured him that there was no charge for the box of tracts, but that’s not what he was asking me. I finally understood that the the $20 he was handing me was to be put towards printing the tracts in large quantities and making them available online. Funny how the Holy Spirit works, isn’t it?
So in March of 2015, I made a web page advertising the tracts for sale, and within minutes orders starting coming in and they haven’t stopped. We regularly get orders from just about all 50 states, Canada, New Zealand, and as far away as South Africa. The Lord has truly blessed our efforts to get the gospel out.
At the 6 year mark of our street ministry, these are some of the things I have learned about preaching on the street. I’ve learned that preaching to people goes a whole lot further than preaching at people, that showing a little love and compassion can make the difference between someone walking closer or walking away, and that lost people really are listening even when you think they aren’t.
And I’ve learned that there is nothing more satisfying on this earth than having the privilege of leading someone to the Lord Jesus Christ in whatever way God chooses to use me to do it. If you would like to experience what it’s like doing street ministry, please send me an email to make arrangements, we’d be happy to have you join us some Saturday afternoon.
The war is real, the battle hot and the time is short…to the fight!