Street Evangelism Questions
Question: About this time in Carbondale some Christian groups go out with a cross and seek to evangelize Millennials out on the Strip. People seek to persuade the lost in a few minutes that they need to avoid Hell and surrender their lives to Jesus. Now I’m all for evangelism but am questioning if this is the best approach. I have noticed how some street evangelists seem less eager to listen and more eager to share their message. As one who is constant contact with Millennials at work, I see a generation that wishes to be heard. Yes we need to share Christ but maybe we should be listening to where they are coming from. This is coming from someone who has participated in street evangelism in the past. But what do you think?
David Oliver Kueker
The best approach to evangelism is to not evangelize but to make disciples that make disciples that make disciples.
It’s like thinking that more children are the goal and the choosing as your method one of the following:
1. Create a marriage (committed partnership) and raise children within that family
2. Have sex with as many strangers as possible. (John Wesley called this begetting children for the murderer (Satan)).
The goal is not more children or more conversions, but more healthy children/converts who grow up to be mature, responsible and healthy. If you “make” them (Matt 28:19) but are not present to disciple them (Matt 28:20), you have made choice #2 … and abandoned them.
5 AM PREACHING
Wesley and his helpers practiced street evangelism from horseback every weekday at 5 a.m. The circuit rider would wait on the road that the miners travelled to work and would preach to them as they gathered.
What is completely forgotten and ignored is the role of the Methodist Layman walking to work with his companions, stopping to listen to the circuit rider and encouraging his companions to also listen, discussing the matter with them subsequently and consistently serving as a spiritual mentor in relationship to draw them into the society and class meeting. These are the disciple makers that fulfill the Great Commission.
Preaching that stirs up the unconverted to have conversation with a disciple maker is useful. It’s both/and.
As Jesus pointed out, the problem is not that there is insufficient preaching but that there are insufficient disciple makers laboring in the harvest. Our problem is similar. We are focused on proclamation and making disciples, and ignoring the command to make disciple makers – to teach people a whole system of how to fish for people.
The end result of the Great Commission is a disciple taught to obey all the commands of Christ, including the command to make disciples … the end result of the Great Commission is not a disciple, or a sanctified improved disciple, but a trained and experienced disciple maker. This is not our focus.
God might use one to plant the seed and another to water. (Referring to 1 Cor 3)
Or John 4 … one sows, another reaps. Often a long line of different folks with periods of no one characterize how we are discipled.
We would not allow our children to be raised in such a cavalier, institutional fashion. But I can’t say that it is unusual for discipleship. God gets the job done in spite of our lack of investment. Most churches function like very poorly run orphanages.