I want to introduce this lesson by giving the reader a “wake up call” with some hard-hitting facts concerning the state of churches in the US:

  1. 95% of all Christians have never won someone to the Lord!
  2. 80% of Christians never even share their faith!
  3. Only 2% of all Christians are active in evangelism ministries at their church!
  4. 63% of the leadership, including deacons and elders, have not led one stranger to Jesus in the last two years through the method of “Go Ye” into all the world!
  5. 49% of the leadership ministries spend zero time in an average week ministering outside of the church!
  6. 89% of the leadership ministries have zero time reserved on their list of weekly priorities for going out to evangelize!
  7. 99% of church leadership believes that every Christian, including themselves, have been commanded to preach the gospel to a lost world (notice the hypocrisy, “they know and teach, but don’t do and obey!”).
  8. 97% of all Christians believe that if the church leadership had a greater conviction and involvement in evangelism, that it would be an example for them to follow.
  9. 96% of church leadership believe their churches would grow faster if every Christian would be more involved in evangelism.*

*Taken from http://bible.org/illustration/evangelism-statistics on Nov. 3, 2012.


Definitions

  1. Witness: To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an unsaved person, Acts 1:8.
  2. Street Witness:  To preach the Gospel on the streets, i.e., “in public with strangers,” Luke 10:1-3.

Difference Between “Message and Method”

Some “well intentioned Christians” have said that though all believers are to preach the “message” of Jesus, not everyone is commanded to follow His “method of public witness.”  Meaning, Jesus preached on the streets more than any one place- more than the temple, in homes, or in the market place… the streets and outdoor countrysides were His pulpit and the public was his congregation.  However, many today in the modern church believe they can avoid following Jesus’ example and simply choose whatever way is most comfortable for them.

Thus, no one would disagree to say that all believers are to witness and have freedom to choose methods that work best for them- on the job, at lunch meetings, etc… however, the overwhelming example of Jesus’ method on the streets must be followed and obeyed as the first priority.

Notice this verse where Jesus describes where the Gospel will go… to the “roads and country lane,” i.e., “the main streets and alleys/back roads!”

Luke 14:23, “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”


The Clear Example and Command of Jesus to Street Witness

1. Jesus’ Command:  It was clear from the beginning with Jesus concerning His relationship with His disciples- they would be fishers of men (Matt. 4:19) and they were going to “go out and preach.”  Some have tried to argue and say the “going out to preach” can simply mean on their job or in churches, however, by the clear example of Jesus with His disciples it is obvious He meant in public places and on the streets with strangers.

Mark 3:13-15, Call to be Witnesses 

13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve–designating them apostles –that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.

2. Jesus’ Example: Jesus sent out His disciples in groups of two ahead of Him before He went to new cities.

Luke 10:1-3, Call to the Streets

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy- two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.


Top Five Excuses Not to Street Witness

As an overseeing elder in the church for over 14yrs I will now share the top five excuses I have heard to not street witness over the years by fellow Christians.  Plus, I will give a simple Biblical response to each one.

5. I feel if I street witness I will be like the Jehovah Witnesses.

I have actually heard this!  Just because a “cult” has been more obedient to a section of the Bible, doesn’t mean we should neglect it!  Are we going to stop praying because Romans Catholics pray?!

Biblical Answer: Mark 4:18-22, Jesus shows that though it was popular for Jewish teachers and philosophers to travel and publicly call people to follow their teachings, this didn’t stop Him from doing the same thing, but for His message.


4. I witness on my job and other places I feel more comfortable in- street witnessing is just one way that I don’t like to do.  Jesus would be okay with my method of witnessing as long as I share my faith wherever I go.

Of course, Jesus wants you to witness on your job, with your family, and everywhere you go.  However, that doesn’t exempt you from doing what Jesus commanded you to do.  Plus, those who witness on the streets are the best kind of disciples to witness on their jobs because they are trained and experienced dealing with all kinds of people.

Biblical Answer:  Luke 4:43-44, Notice Jesus preached in the villages publicly AND in the synagogues   Meaning, Jesus loved to preached everywhere, but He never neglected the streets.


3. My other church and pastor don’t street witness and they are good examples for me to follow.

The Word of God is not found true whether or not we as leaders believe it or obey it.  The Word of God is true because God said it.  There are a ton of godly preachers that do street witness, thus, the issue isn’t up for vote, but rather, “What did Jesus say?!”  We, as street witnessing leaders, are more than willing to meet with your pastors and leaders to discuss/debate what the Bible says, but you my friend will be held responsible to what the Word of God teaches, no matter what anyone says.  Therefore, “Do what Jesus did, period.”

Biblical Answer: Luke 10:1-3, Imagine you were with Jesus that day when He sent out the 72 in the streets, would you obey and follow His command or disobey? Would you say something like this, “Jesus, my other rabbi says I don’t have to do this- I can just preach on my job.”  God forbid- its really that simple- choose to obey Jesus over man.


2. I’m too scared- I want to wait till I’m ready.

Imagine being with Peter on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, the whole city is filled with the same people who demanded Jesus to be crucified.  Then all of a sudden, after a powerful upper room experience Peter boldly calls out to everyone, “Let’s head out to the streets and publicly preach Jesus to to the crowds as loud as we can!”  Would you dare say back to him,  “Uh, I’m not ready yet, I’ll stay here and keep praying, maybe next time!”

How did those first disciples have the power to overcome their fear and publicly preach Jesus to thousands?  By the power of the Holy Spirit!  The same is true today- God’s power will overcome your fear to street witness.  Therefore, be filled with the explosive-fear-annihilating power of the Holy Spirit and be Jesus’ public witness like the first disciples!

Biblical Answer:  Acts 1:8 & 2:14, It is obvious by this passage and thus should be a “finisher” to all excuses concerning public witness, that the power of the Holy Spirit empowers and compels all believers to be public witnesses for Christ!


1. I’m too young or I’m too old.

Can you please show me an age requirement or retirement age for keeping God’s commands? Until then, I suggest you obey all of God’s commands no matter your age.  Also, consider the story of Timothy.  When Timothy was young in the time of Paul God command him, “do the work of an evangelist,” 2 Timothy 4:5.  However, did you know how Timothy died as an old man long after the time of Paul?

Please read this story of Timothy passed down by the church fathers concerning his death while “doing the work of an evangelist,”… Timothy (at the age of 80) tried to halt a pagan procession of idols, ceremonies, and songs. In response to his preaching of the gospel, the angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to death.”

Wow, Timothy being both young and old kept Jesus’ commands to be a public witness on the streets!  Not only did he preach in public places like Mardi Gras, but he gave his very life as a martyr.  May we all be like Timothy until all our streets are changed by the Gospel!

Biblical Answer: 2 Timothy 4:5, The life of Timothy both while being young and old sets the perfect example for everyone to follow.


Go!

Now its your turn to stop making excuses and be obedient to Christ’s commands to street witness!  Find a corner and share your faith publicly.  Pick a festival and go to it like Timothy and share your faith.  Grab some tracks and head out an hour before your life group/church service and tell the world about Jesus- bid them to come!

If your church doesn’t do it- humbly ask your pastor if you can start a street ministry or find a church that does and work with them.  Don’t get discouraged if you are mocked or mistreated by sinners, for this is how they treated Jesus and the disciples before you.  Also, don’t be in bondage to a difficult schedule, make times that work best for you and your family- but don’t just sit there, do something.

In conclusion, the Bible doesn’t state how much you should street witness- once a week/month/year, etc… however, it does teach us to do it.  Therefore, start today and let God led you!  Make it a priority and find ways and times that work best for you.

Resources: Here is a great website called, “Way of the Master,” by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort.  They have resources, training materials, and tons of cool stuff to encourage you in following Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and make disciples!”