I’m proud of our church. Not only do we believe in Biblical evangelism, we believe also in putting our faith in action by hitting the streets of Skid Row on a monthly basis with our Skid Row Outreach. In addition, we also have a ministry called “Hope in Action” that provides food and clothing to the homeless in our area on a daily basis.
Though this ministry does its share of witnessing to the homeless through one-on-one conversations and by handing out tracts, the evangelism team explored the possibilities of preaching to those in line not only in our location, but in other areas of Skid Row as well.
With my daughter holding on tightly to me (this was a bit of a culture shock to her), I positioned our sound system, Lil’ Mike, so that the homeless could get the meat of the Word along with their sandwiches.
There were a few hecklers as always, but overwhelmingly, these people were appreciative of the sermon they got to hear before mealtime.
After the message was preached, we went across the street where another group of homeless were gathered, with no discernible reason for being there.
Since no one was handing out food, I was curious as to why there was such a large crowd hanging out. “What are they all waiting for?” I asked someone who lived in the area.
“Night,” he replied. “That’s when they score their drugs.”
We moved on to another location: In a parking lot adjacent to another line of homeless people receiving food from another church. Our friend, Carol Nicholson, a woman who retired from her nursing profession so she could preach the Gospel, got on the box.
As Carol preached we noticed a nicely dressed man clinging to the chain link fence and shouting.
She ignored him.
He continued to shout, arms spread wide, while Carol preached on.
I went over to the man afterward and heard him shouting, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” He was the church’s pastor and was rejoicing that someone was out in the parking lot preaching the Gospel. In fact, he had a request: “Can you come back next week?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he was fully capable of preaching the Gospel, too.
R.A. Torrey, wrote this 100 years ago about street preaching:
“You can reach men in an open-air meeting that you can reach in no other way. I can tell of instance after instance where men who have not been at church or a mission hall for years have been reached by open-air meetings. The persons I have known to be reached and converted through open- air meetings have included thieves, drunkards, gamblers, saloon-keepers, abandoned women, murderers, lawyers, doctors, theatrical people, society people, in fact pretty much every class.
“Open-air meetings bring recruits to churches and missions. One of the best ways to fill up an empty church is to send your workers out on the street to hold meetings before the church service is held, or better still, go yourself. When the meeting is over, you can invite people to the church (or mission). This is the divinely appointed means for reaching men that cannot be reached in any other way (Luke 14:21). All Christians should hear the words of Christ constantly ringing in their ears, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor,’ etc.”