Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What do you think?

I have mixed feelings about this show and the method they use. I have been involved in street ministry as presented here. I have done one on one, group proclamation, carrying a cross on a street corner, hand out tracts, surveys, door to door and a few other expressions of modern evangelism. I have seen some amazing moments take place, souls touched, and seeds planted. I have had other less enjoyable moments too...a knife pulled, spat on, bibles torn in front of me in front of a Marilyn Manson concert, cussed out & chewed out and most often just flat out ignored. I have also felt the rush that this type of sharing faith can bring and I have also felt the tinge of pride that can ride in on the brave act of cutting edge proclaiming. You almost start living for the confrontation or the adrenaline of the hunt. I am not sure how to quite put it but it can be slightly addicting on some levels.

I have grown uneasy with the "battle" motif that is often used in promoting this kind of evangelism. The fight, the confrontation, the wrestling all appeal often to a certain personality that can do more harm than good. I have seen God use it, often but I also have seen God dishonored in extremely rude ways. The whole "GOD HATES FAGS" group being the height of that error....the chopped up babies on huge signs in front of abortions centers is also painfully vivid in my memory.

There is defiantly a draw to the whole "prophet proclaiming" edge to this kind of ministry and it can stir up a host of devils, snakes and scorpions for sure! I remember in Portland OR a certain street preacher getting a crowd and women pulling off their tops and a man dancing around the preacher butt naked in opposition.

What do you think?

Are we chicken to not be doing more of this kind of ministry on our streets? Should you be going door to door in your neighborhood? Should we stand at street corners and hold up signs? How about grabbing a bullhorn and start talking at people at intersections? Should you...or more importantly, will you?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect" (NIV). -1 Peter 3:9


MaryMGlynn said...

In my opinion is different, I happen to think this is not what this ministy is asking for as what you have written about in this post. I think we need to reach out to others, meet the people where they are and bring repentance. I think the way of the master speaks is for us to be bold in Christ and bring repentance. I could go on and take over with my opinion and how man church are failing to do thier jobs. How having the largest building fund campagnes to not even having alter calls. People are given many times some luke warm message with not meat and are milked of money. Matter of fact one church I heard of this morning now has a credit card swiper and check reader at the back of the church!!
Will I talk to people about my faith, in a heart beat. Will I die for Christ sake, in a heart beat! I love the Lord and if he calls me to touch the world then so be it. I think many christians are trying to be like the world to be accepted by it, then trying to not be like the world and realizing you won't be like the world if Christ is in you. We were not created for the world, but for God.
We were created to speak the truth about Jesus Christ to all the world. Not just in our churches comfortably hoping a sinner walks in.

I know we are also suppse to live by example.
Anyway my opinion with lots of spelling errors lol
Bless you and I hope this finds you well....

Michael McMullen said...

I've been apart of door to door work before, mostly handing out flyers or some such. The only thing that really kept me away from houses were dogs. Not a huge fan of strange dogs.

As for that aspect of ministry, I believe it has it's place. If the Lord wanted me to do it, I'd do it. But I'd have to be sure (like "make the dew on the grass, not on the mat" sure) before I did it. Just because that's not me generally.

Good topic for discussion.

Mel said...

I agree that this type of evangelism has it's place, and I think that for those God has called to it, it comes naturally and easily to them and they are comfortable with it.

I certainly am not comfortable doing it. In fact, I'm usually not even very comfortable being approached by those who are evangelising in this way (even though I agree with a lot of what they're saying), nor do I enjoy being around them when they're evangelising in this way to other people. But that doesn't mean that God doesn't use those situations to draw people to Himself. As we all know, there isn't anything or anyone that God can't use to fulfill His purposes.

Anonymous said...

When I have seen that kind of evangelism it always made me ill. I think it opitimizes what most non-christians don't like about Christians. There is a time and a place for everything, and that behaviour is probably best left for the closet. You don't invite someone to dinner by yelling at them "you're a hungry idiot!". ~Matt

Anonymous said...

Thats a tough one...A balanced Christian life of not going to the extreme of being offensive yet not being so timid of your faith that you dont reach out and stand for truth.
I dont know an answer that best fits this question,...like (matt) said, certain kinds (not all!) of evangelism affirms what non-christians hate about Christians.

I would like to think that most persons know that if your a jackass to people or offensive, most people in our society probably wont listen to you.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...well, immediately they lost me with the combination of pastor clothes and HUGE boxing gloves. (wow)
But, after that I tried to listen with an open mind.
My feelings are, that while I don't doubt their sincerity and drive, I don't think their meathod will reach many. When Jesus spoke of letting your light shine, I imagine the warming glow of a candle...not the piercing, harsh beam of a floodlight! There are a few that would welcome that sort of intensity, but most would feel very cornered, vulnerable and offended...ESPECIALLY if they are convicted of their sin!
When a person realizes they are a sinner before Almighty God, fear and embarrassment sets in, resulting in repentance or flight. Grace and forgiveness and the love of God MUST be preached louder than hell at this moment. As the scriptures say: it's His kindness that leads us to repentance. In the middle East, the message of "we're right, you're wrong" is the whole basis for why they are at war. Using this meathod in that culture is suicide. - my 2 cents: LeeElla

Mel said...

I'm reading "One Holy Fire" by Nicky Cruz (thanks, Kayloni!) and in it Mr. Cruz tells how he once spent almost an entire message condemning the myriad different sins that run rampant in our society, and even quite a few "minor" sins such as not wearing the "right" clothes, etc.

He said the response to the altar call was weak at best, and many people walked out of the sanctuary before he was finished speaking. Still, he felt good about his bold, truth-telling message until he was on his way home and the Spirit spoke to him and basically rebuked him for pushing away the very people who needed to hear his message of love and forgiveness the most.

He vowed never again to preach a message full of condemnation and judgement, and God has blessed his ministry beyond what most of us could even dream of.

I like what Christian said in his blog--"I think the church would get a lot more done if they spent less time condemning sinners and more time loving them."

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting subject, and I have done some street witnessing as well. I can relate to what you said Eric.
To me, regardless of where I witness, where I have seen the fruit is where there was a connection. Rarely in the street are unbelievers connected with. But often Christians that have fallen away are willing to listen and it is as good a place as any to encourage them. In the street, the average person has their defenses up, and if with others, pride and self-conscienceness is high. Not a great forum to introduce one to Christ. Often they are in the midst of some folly, and approaching "a fool in his folly" is a waste of time. So, when ever I witness, I look and listen for someone that has a hearing heart. Of course this is much easier if you know them and can share in their life struggles and build confidence, trust and then they are far more likely to listen to spiritual things. We are not to throw our pearls before swine and in a street situation, especially in a group setting, there is no way to discrimiate because all that are present hear. So I would avoid that setting. That being said, if one felt a strong call to street witnessing, and you have confirmation by other mature Christians that you have a gift or enablement, go for it.
But, often a young Christian filled with zeal and little discreation, gets into the fray and discredits Christ. That is not good.

Unknown said...

Of the 160 million unchurched Americans, about 60 million (almost four in 10) are eager for a Christian to share the Gospel with them, according to research by Thom and Sam Rainer III. - Source: Outreach magazine (March/April 2007)


Anonymous said...

Ah but there's the rub, what does share the Gospel mean? ~Matt

Unknown said...

The gospel looks like Jesus.

Anonymous said...

What does the Gospel according to Outreach magazine look like? Does this stat mean we should be sharing our faith on the corner with a sign and loudspeaker or sharing our faith by eating and drinking at the same places as others? What I mean is how consider sharing your faith is obviously quite different depending on the person, so I don't understand how they came up with that stat, or what it could mean to others without understanding what sharing the Gospel means. ~Matt

Anonymous said...

Obviously we need to speak the truth in love...but I think even Hell has a place in that. I was scared of Hell and that fear is one of the things that propelled my search for God and Truth...and ultimately led me into Gods loving and graceful arms. Seriously, the verse that talks about the road to Hell being wide and broad and the road to Heaven being narrow...this verse became a seed in my soul that sprang up in salvation. We need to preach the whole gospel...and that includes Hell. God Goodness in wanting to save us from that reality should always be infisized (why can't this blog have a spell checker).

Since Mrs. Coe brought up Nicky Cruize...I will add that I remember a lot of stories of outreach where there were people trying to cause chaos, and distractions just like those people getting naked with that pastor. God still had his way and moved in those situation even if it was just to reach one person.

Last thought--I think it is better to error on the side of 'too much outreach' because of how generally the church as a whole is apathetic and doesn't really care about the lost. Door to door, streets, whatever...even if only a few are reached because of your efforts isn't that better that none.