"If you're called to preach the gospel to the lost, why not go where the lost folks are? They certainly aren't in church these days, in any great numbers," observes Gerald Sutek, author of I Am Not Ashamed: Public Ministry Then and Now. Sutek heads SWAT Team for Christ, Christians in "publick" ministry. His approach is simple: find a place where people gather and give them the gospel.
This can be done in a variety of ways. He prefers to just open the Bible and preach, using short scriptures and sentences so that people will have something to think about even if they are just walking by. If preaching is not feasible, he may just play his accordion and sing. Meanwhile, his wife or others hand out tracts witnessing one-on-one.
Sutek says publick ministry can revitalize a sleepy church. He claims that he has never seen a dead service in a church with an active public ministry. Even children can get involved handing out inflated balloons with rolled tracts inside.
Observing three general rules will avoid most conflict with the authorities: avoid private property, no PA system and only in the daytime. Occasionally the rules are violated, but only with special situations.
"I am convinced," writes Sutek, "that the heart of the Lord beats with the heart of the publick minister who will unashamedly publish the good news of the gospel any time and in any place he has the opportunity."
Sutek's book, I Am Not Ashamed is a how-to manual for Christians willing to take their ministry to the lost. He tells how to deal with fear, inexperience, legalities, hecklers, police, unreasonable city officials and unconstitutional ordinances.
Sutek tells of ship yard workers that jeered him until the police had to keep them from rioting. Or of shy listeners who hid behind walls to hear him and later got saved. Once while preaching near a phone booth the phone rang as a man called from his car phone nearby. He wanted to know more about the gospel.
Sutek's book is available from Bible Baptist Bookstore. A companion booklet called, Street Preachers' Manual, by Sutek, may be read in its entirety online.
Sutek's SWAT Team for Christ can be reached for training sessions at Word for the World Baptist Mission Board, POBox 849, Rossville, GA. 30741.