Does Street Evangelism Work? Part II

Last week I blogged about an intriguing article from Salon.com written by a non Christian college student who went undercover as a believer on a missions trip with Liberty University, reaching out to the “lost” people partying during spring break at Daytona Beach, FL . This guy actually enrolled at Liberty (as in “Jerry Falwell’s” Liberty) to learn the inside scoop about evangelicals first hand. (apparently, this is an excerpt of Kevin’s book, The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University)

The article was really amazing… and as I already shared in my previous blog… I was compelled to ask my friend Greg Stier to write a response to it. Greg is the “evangelism guru”… a true authority on the subject.

Greg obliged, and I promised you that I’d post Greg’s response. Well… yesterday we sent out his response to all our web site’s EZINE subscribers, encouraging them to take the time to read that original article from the “unlikely disciple,” then Greg’s response.

I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s the original article from the non believer.

Here’s Greg’s response as per our EZINE newsletter.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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5 Responses to Does Street Evangelism Work? Part II

  1. Fred says:

    WOW! Just read the whole article. Great stuff. We do a lot of street evangelism at our church. We’ve seen alot of the same that Greg talked about. For the last two years, we’ve been going to the various neighborhoods around our church. We bring welcome packets, which include a letter from our pastor, brochures about our church, The Father’s Love Letter, a worship CD, a coffee mug & a package of ground coffee. We use this as a way to open the door, & then go into evangelism. At one apartment complex we went to in January this year, we saw 54 converted & out of those 5 have become a fruitful part of our church. I am in that apartment complex alot, driving people to & from church. Many that we witnessed to that one day recognize me & I am still able to get relational with them. I love it! We still do the cold turkey evangelism, I do think there is definitely a place for it, too. We go to the bus stop (our pastor’s favorite fishing hole) with bottled water on hot days. There just waiting there and they’re thirsty. Give them a FREE bottle of water & that opens the door to give them God’s FREE gift. Not sure if you are familiar with Rodney Howard-Browne & the Great Awakening Tour, but we use their soul winning script. It’s simple & it works!Anyways, thanks for the great resources you provide. I always look forward to reading your blog & as a youth pastor, you’ve given me insight to many things I had not recognized in this youth culture. Keep up the great work.

  2. jon forrest says:

    this stuff is so good. I really enjoyed the Roose article. He is totally fair and honest. Although i don’t do things exactly like the Liberty folks he was with, i have a great respect for them. I’m using this tonight and i haven’t been able to read it yet without crying at the part where the girl is sitting, crying with the homeless man in the rain.
    Greg’s response is unbelievable. He is so transparent and willing to change if there is a better way to reach lost souls. i love his desire to make disciples.
    thanks so much for bringing these gold nuggets to our attention.
    btw i listened to your new podcast yesterday and WOW. powerful. you got me laughing and convicted me before i even knew you had me…Jerk. thanks

  3. Chico says:

    I’m kind of on the fence about street evangelism. On the one hand, I understand the desire to reach everyone with the Gospel. On the other, I, a faithful Christian (and youth pastor), honestly get a little irritated when I’m blindsided at the grocery store, the dump, or wherever with an out-of-the-blue, obviously-scripted attempt by someone to share their faith with me. I tend to apply my experience with teens to a lot of situations. And of everything I’ve learned when dealing with teens, it’s this: They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And I don’t think you can convey how much you care about a complete stranger by walking up to them and saying, “Hey, I care about you and I don’t want you to go to Hell, so accept Jesus.” I guess I lean heavily on the relational and only pull out the relentless when needed…but I believe it HAS to come in that order. I mean, yes, Jesus was very out-of-the-blue with the woman at the well, at face value. But, He had an advantage that we simply do not, nor will we ever, have. He was Jesus. He knew everything about that woman, not only before she approached the well, but before she was even born. Oh, and, He was Jesus!
    I’m not trying to come off as totally opposed to street evangelism. I believe it has it’s place. But more importantly, I don’t think you can be successful at it by simply posting a flier on a bulletin board, getting an application and trip money, going through a “routine” with the trippers and then running out into the streets and clubs trying to talk to people who are in a frame of mind where God is the last thing on their mind…and they like it that way. I think street evangelism needs to be something that is prayerfully considered and the person doing the evangelism [strong]absolutely must[/strong] be called and gifted to do it. If the gift, calling and anointing isn’t there, then it goes from being street evangelism to drive-by condemnation.

    • Frank says:

      Chico,

      I agree with you. I am pretty much on the same page with you regarding street preaching and such. I too, am a youth pastor. Kids really don’t care if you can define every theological word with accuracy. What they want is to know that you care. I have been watching some street evangelism videos that I believe are an example of the incorrect way of doing things. In fact, most of the people in those videos walk away angry or embittered by the lack of compassion. These guys hide their hatred and self – piety behind such phrases as, “I do love you, that’s why I’m warning you about Hell!” God has given His children common sense and expects us to use it correctly. While I do appreciate seeing people spread the name of Jesus, I believe that there are so many whose motives are questionable. Good post man!

  4. Jay says:

    I go door to door and do open air preaching several times a week. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten kicked out of two apartment complexes and ordered off a man’s property. But still it is a blessing to tell people about the Gospel. Today, people are simply not hearing the truth about the Gospel. They don’t know what it is. Our church is overflowing as a result of people coming because of door to door evangelism and open air preaching in parks, street corners and bar districs in Orlando, Florida. Plus people of different races, cultures, and economic statises come and truly love each other. It is unbelievable. We always look for poorer neighborhoods to do evangelism. Just as in Jesus’ time, these are the ones who welcome you and come to Christ. Jesus’ heart was to seek and save the lost.