What is Street Preaching? Is it Still Done Today?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Are there still those who preach in the streets today?  Have you ever done this?  Is it biblical to preach in the streets today?

What is the Definition of Street Preaching?

Street preaching can be defined many different ways and maybe you have your own definition but from what I have seen and what I have experienced is that street preaching is when you are proclaiming the message of the gospel to those who may or may not yet be saved.  It is not standing up yelling at people that they are going to hell nor is it telling people that God loves them and Jesus wants them to come to Him.  Preaching in itself always contains the bad new first before the good news makes any sense.  Imagine you’re a patient and the doctor comes in and gives you a prescription.  You might ask, “Why do I need this?  I’m not sick. I’m just here for a checkup.”  The prescription is useless to you and you don’t see any need for it…but what if the doctor came in and showed you x-rays and told you that you had a fatal disease and unless you took this medicine you would die.  Then you would most certainly be interested in filling that prescription wouldn’t you?  No one wants to die but unless we tell people the bad news that the wrath of God is on the sinners, then the good news is meaningless.

Why Not Preach the Love of God?

I saw a former church member who was in the park witnessing to people by holding up a sign that God loves them.  I am not saying that this isn’t true but for a person that is not saved, they can always say, “Hey, my wife loves me, my children love me, my parents love me, so what do I care if God loves me?”  This former church member left our church because he hated the idea of being called a sinner, even after we are saved.  Paul struggled with sin too and his battle is recorded in Romans chapter 7.  He did the things that he knew he shouldn’t do but did them anyway and then the things that he knew were the right thing to do, those he didn’t do.  Have you been there too?  I have and still am.  Martin Luther was right…we are both sinners yet justified.  We can have the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21) yet we still sin.  We do sin less, but we are never going to be sinless in this body.  Until people see the bad news of their need for a Savior and that they will face a holy and just God on Judgment Day, they will never see the need to repent of their sins, confess them to God, plead for His mercy and put their trust in Christ.  Paul understood that even though he was still capable of sinning, there is victory in Christ. You can read Paul’s conclusion that salvation is possible even with sinful people in Romans chapter 8…as long as they have repented and trust in Christ.

That is street preaching.  Getting out there and being bold.  Courage is not so much a lack of fear but it is proclaiming the gospel despite your fear.

That is street preaching. Getting out there and being bold. Courage is not so much a lack of fear but it is proclaiming the gospel despite your fear.

What is Street Preaching?

About a year ago, I tried my very first street preaching. Now I’ve witnessed to one or two at a time for a few years now but to do this with a crowd of people is another story altogether.  It was at a car show in the town in which the church I am under shepherd of is located.  I must confess that I was fearful.  I am ashamed to say that I feared man over what God commands us to do…that is to proclaim the gospel of Christ even at the expense of appearing foolishness to the crowds.   I began by talking about Revelation 20:11-15 that we all must appear before God and give an account for our lives.  No one will escape the Judgment Seat of Christ. We have all broken God’s commandments and deserve hell.  As I began telling people about what God says will happen to those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ, one by one they began to leave, when eventually I was left with one person standing with me.  I thought at first, “What a waste of time.”  But was it? No, if even one person heard the gospel and they later came to saving faith, wasn’t it worth it?  Yes it was.  That is street preaching.  Getting out there and being bold.  Courage is not so much a lack of fear but it is proclaiming the gospel despite your fear.

Street preaching is one of the scariest things to do but it is also one of the most rewarding and joyful things.  Even if no one appears to have accepted the message, I remember that it is God who saves and not me.  The power is in the message and not in the messenger.  Like a farmer, we can plant the seed of the Word of God but as the farmer knows, it takes a lot of time before anything comes up and they know that not all the seeds will sprout.  Some will not make it up.  Some will wither and die.  There is nothing the farmer can do.  Perhaps you have planted the seed of the Word of God and saw no results.  But wait, maybe someone will later come along and water that seed.  Someone you may never even see or know about.  Then another may come by and fertilize it with more of the gospel.  We are not responsible for the increase…God is…so just be faithful and share the bad news and then the good news and leave the results up to God.

Related post: Bible Verses about Courage: 20 Great Scripture Quotes

Be Prepared to Be Blessed

Here are what blessings to expect when you are persecuted, when you are reviled, when you are despised, when people mock you, when they reject you, and when they ridicule you for Jesus’ sake:

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

First Peter 4:14 “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

It is not a matter of if but how much you will be persecuted for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ but this comes with such a blessing that your joy cannot even be described.

The Odor of Life or the Stench of Death

Paul has a great description of what we are to those who are being saved and to those who reject the message in 2 Corinthians 2:15-17

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

Yes, we are like a beautiful floral garden to those who receive the message gladly but for those who are convicted of their sins, we are the stench of death.

Counting the Cost

That is the price a Christian must be willing to pay or you cannot be a disciple of His as Luke 14:25-35 says,

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”


It takes a woman or man of God, with the Word of God, and the Spirit of God to make children of God.  Notice that it’s not about us but all about Him.  We are only vessels that can pour out the seed. The power is in His Word and even the worst gospel presentation can be used by God.  The Great Commission is largely being ignored today even though it’s an imperative command given by Jesus Christ our Lord (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).  Commit to memory some of these verses:  Acts 4:12; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-13; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:1; Revelation 20:11-15 and maybe some you may decide on. The only way to conquer your fear is to go out and get scared.  Pray to God for the strength and boldness and then get out there and take part in the harvest…for the fields are ripe…and pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send forth more laborers (Matt 9:38; Luke 10:2).  That way there will be more to worship Christ when He returns and Jesus will be more glorified but also Jesus will say to you, “Well done thou good and faithful servant (Matt 25:21).

Related Post: Where Is Heaven? Where Is Hell? Does The Bible Say?

Resources: New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

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