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From "Street Preachers' Manual" © 1989 by Rev. Gerald Sutek
Reproduced by permission.
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a
trumpet, and shew my people their transgression ......
"Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." This verse
was written especially for street preachers, and you'll claim it
when you face the street.
Here is a list of prayer requests to be made prior to your
street preaching. Pray:
for power and filling of the Holy Spirit
for rapport with the people
for exaltation of Jesus and His word
for the fear of God to fall on the area of ministry
for the blood of Jesus to cleanse the area
for decrease of self, crucifixion of the flesh, and complete yielding
for salvation of souls
for strengthening of weak Christians
for protection from police or physical harm
Have several short verses memorized on the subject you
intend to preach. I do not recommend notes. Make your notes
in your head as much as possible. A street preacher must learn
to be "instant in season and out of season." He must learn to
think on his feet and not to be easily distracted. In actually
preparing your message, meditate on the few memorized verses
and on the brief comments that will compliment the scripture.
Three points and a poem just won't do on the street. Most of the
time, you have less than one minute to preach to any person as
they pass from store to store or office to office. Parks and
outside lunch areas or other similar situations might be an
exception. Ninety percent of your street messages will typically be on salvation. There may be times when a different
subject would be in order such as a demonstration, or gathering of queers, or anti-capital punishment proponents, or other
Bible issues. Prepare your own heart with confession and
Finding a place to preach is usually not too difficult if you
really want to. Night hours will complicate the problem as well
as extremely small towns. The element most important is people.
Find a place where people gather. Bus stops, parks, flea markets, unemployment lines, college registration lines, box offices for sports, fairs, carnivals, parades, fireworks displays,
lunch hour traffic, beaches (careful), public schools (before
and after school), miniature golf courses, and college campuses
to name a few good examples. If possible, get a float in the
parade and preach. Do it with some class, though. Decorate and
adjust your message to the theme of the parade.
Search your heart and find out what you want to project.
This will determine your appearance, your message, your attitude, your rapport, and your result.
After eighteen years of street work, I came to Cleveland,
Ohio, for yet another street meeting. We found a parking space,
prayed, and carried equipment to where it was needed. We
sang, preached, passed tracts, dealt personally with folks,
packed up, came back to the car, prayed, and drove on.
What was wrong with that? No one got saved, but then
that happens often. The real problem was that I really didn't
expect anyone to get saved. I had done this so often that I had
become too mechanical. I didn't expect the fear of God to come
down on that area where we were preaching, and it didn't.
Don't ever make that mistake. Preach expecting the Lord to
move in a mighty way, so that when He does, you'll not be shocked.
Street preaching is the single most physically vulnerable
ministry that I know of. It is imperative to depend one hundred
percent on the Lord, and yet there are a few rules of protection.
Jesus sent His disciples out two by two, and He certainly knew
what He was doing. One preaches and the other looks for
obstacles or distractions which may hinder that preaching.
Positioning yourself with your back against, or almost against,
a building is beneficial both for protection and as an aid to
projection. While preaching in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, I
found a hollowed out little concave platform made into the side of
the Post Office. It was four feet above the sidewalk and just big
enough for me. Best of all, it faced Canal Street, where thousands
of partiers were passing. I nearly preached myself to death standing
there safe and sound, my voice projecting at its maximum.
If women and children are part of your army on the street,
be sure to always keep them in view.
I do not advise carrying any weapon or even mace on the
street. I wonder, if Steven would have used mace or a .45, how
it would have altered church history.
Stand straight and tall, drawing yourself up to your full
stature. Cup one hand or hold a Bible to your mouth as a megaphone. Reach way, way down inside and grab your diaphragm
(stomach muscle) and push inspired air over your vocal chords.
Don't allow your voice to be gravelled or ragged. Quit before that
happens. Your vocal chords are simply a muscle that can either be
built up to strength, or torn and weakened if abused. Much like a
body builder works out, the vocal chords should be built by strong,
but not too long, repetitions with appropriate rest periods.
The preaching should be aimed toward buildings or people
at least a block away. The words should be preached extremely
slowly with as low a pitch as possible. Simulate artillery shells
being lobbed at a target three hundred yards away, as you aim
your words down the street.
The ideal situation is to find a location that is to some degree
elevated above the people you are preaching to. If the situation is such
that you must preach extremely close to the hearers, be sure to project
your voice at a forty-five degree angle and not directly into the crowd.
Music is an extremely valuable asset on the street. Assuming
it is the right kind and is done in the right manner, music builds an
instant rapport and sets the hearers up for the message.
An instrument of almost any kind can be used. Some are better
than others. Guitars do not project well and have some bad associations. Trumpets are difficuit to sing to, but are attention getters. Abrass
band would be great, but not many of us have ready access to them. The
best instrument that I have found is an accordion. Everyone has a good
remembrance associated with an accordion, and it projects well and is
good to sing with. Get as many people singing as you can. Several
songs are in order before the preaching commences. Old familiar
songs, such as "Power in the Blood," "Saved, Saved," "When the Roll
Is Called Up Yonder," and other songs that project well are the best.
You'll notice people as they subconsciously mouth the words to those
familiar songs which they learned in Sunday School twenty years
ago even if they have never been back to church since.
Every street meeting should begin and end with prayer.
Pray, thanking the Lord for the following:
the privilege to preach His word
the power of the Holy Spirit
the rapport with the people
the strength you received
the protection He provided
the witness that was given
the souls that were saved
Next chapter: Results of Street Preaching
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