My friend Paul Latour (who runs an excellent blog called “The Word Street Journal”) graciously granted me permission to re–post this revised and updated column from August, 2008. I noticed a few mistakes he made when he sent me photos from a Canadian Gay Pride Parade (it was only his eighth time preaching in the open air). Here are three tips that I offered to make his “irksome task” more winsome; you, too, may find these helpful. (Start at part 1 of the “Evangelism Gone Wrong” series by clicking here.)
The 3 “DO NOTS” OF OPEN AIR PREACHING
Do Not hold a Bible when preaching in the open air.
“Wait a minute,” you protest. “Are you ashamed of the Gospel, God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit, Pastor Steve?”
Readers of this blog know better. I just think that in this post-Christian, anti-Christian culture, a Big Big Bible being waved around is not a visual selling point. There is just something about a guy shouting and holding a black book that builds fences around sinners’ hearts and minds before they even hear what I’m saying. I prefer to lure them in with some humor, trivia, interesting statistics, then WHAMMO!, they hear the Law and Gospel. I don’t want to blow my cover that I’m a Christian until it’s too late—for them.
Think about it like this: Before you were a Christian were you appreciative of a guy standing , hollering, and gripping his Holy Bible? Was your first thought Gee, I wonder what that guy is saying? I think I’ll walk on over and have a listen. Have you also noticed, Way of the Master acolytes, that Ray Comfort never holds one? (Discount this advice if you are devoted to the public reading of Scripture. By all means, bring your Bible then; but that is for a completely different purpose.)
“Do-Not” is really important…
Do Not forget to stand on something.
Nothing stops a fiery sermon faster than a six-foot-four linebacker-Bigfoot who hates you, your message, your life, stands in front of you and blocks every last sound wave emanating from your preacherly mouth. The only time God’s Word returns empty is when it slides down a behemoth’s chest. Even little women with attitudes and hand held objects can stop you—if you have no elevation. Advantages to getting “on the box” are that your voice will carry farther and more people will see you.
Do Not forget to smile every now and then.
We are pleading for sinners to repent; we’re not angry at them. We are out there because we care for their souls.
We are not preachers of hate.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “…he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)
Let the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in your hearts…rise occasionally to your lips.
Remember Charles Spurgeon’s words: When you speak of Heaven, let your face light up, let it be irradiated with heavenly gleam, let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of Hell, well, your ordinary face will do.”
The Good News: Paul Latour mended his ways after reading this article and had a photo taken of his new and improved preaching style, taking to heart the 3 “