Let me begin by introducing myself. I’m Sam, a youth worker from Cambridgeshire who has a ministry focus of evangelising to teens and other young people. I also have a degree in Theology and Evangelism from Chester University. So, over the past few years I’ve really been able to dive deep in to the subject of “Street Evangelism”.
So, what comes to mind when you hear the words “Street Evangelism”? Is it people preaching on the corner? Someone walking around with a cross or walk-of-witness type thing?
Before I started my degree, I saw Street Evangelism as just standing with a microphone on a street corner preaching at people, the key word being “at”.
During my University placement I learned what Street Evangelism can be. So, here’s a story from last December:
One day as a team we were out doing our usual thing in Peterborough City Centre. That involves ‘Free Hug’ signs and giving things away. This day we were giving away fruit with stickers on that said the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ (joy, peace, kindness, love, goodness, etc). We invited people to come and take what they need. On this day there was a man and his friend selling some toys in the street nearby. I started talking to this man’s friend, asking him about his life and what he needs. After a while I offered to pray for this man. He asked God to help him find a job, somewhere to live and transport.
A few weeks later the man selling the toys came back to the City Centre to find us as were are out there every Friday afternoon. He came to me and said “Your prayer for my friend worked! He has moved to Boston, has a job and this job provides a van. God is real!”
From this story I’d like to you to see that when we do Street Evangelism we shouldn’t just proclaim the good news but translate it into the language that people understand. When we look at the story of The Woman at the Well, John 4:1-42, we don’t see Jesus jumping straight into saying he’s the Messiah. No, he starts where the woman is and asks for a drink. From there a conversation opens up and he shares who he is and offers her forgiveness.
Where are the people in your local community? What do they need? How can we share the love of Jesus with them? When we carefully consider these questions and use these to shape our approach, street evangelism really does work.