Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lift Up Your Voices!!!

It has been said that an open air preacher can reach more lost people in one short sermon than the average church can reach in a year. However true that statement truly may or may not be, there are lost people everywhere and the typical Sunday morning service is not the place for evangelism. Soul-winning is to be done primarily in the streets, at the neighbors house, in the laundromat, or the local grocery store.

Like most people, I fail in every aspect of evangelism in part if not in whole. There are those occasions however, that I get to go out with a friend and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost. With the colleges and universities back in session, we have been able to go out on Friday nights and witness to students wandering around on campus. This has been a wonderfully rewarding experience and we have seen some great professions of faith being made in those situations, but as the Lord saw it fit, he began working on my heart last May to do some open air.

The first time that we decided to do open air we were not prepared or really planning on doing it. We simply went out on our normal Friday night outing and saw a crowd gathered around Old Thompson Field (the old football field) at SRU. We immediately grew excited in seeing so many people in one location that were simply walking around the track. They were all participating in the Relay for Life event being held at the school and were planning on walking through the greater part of the night. We had in our midst a captive audience.

After getting into some on-on-one conversations, my friend Mike suggested that we do some open air. Given that the purpose of the event was to raise awareness for cancer, we hesitated as many people there were morning the death of important people in their lives that had been taken by cancer. We didn't want to be inconsiderate toward those who were hurting and needed that time to heal. We spent much time in prayer in deliberation and then finally felt no hindrance from the Lord about going forth. We then spent some time shaping our message. Mike was the only one who was supposed to preach that night. After more prayer and spotting the best location to lift up our voices over the crowd, Mike began to preach. Chad and I held him up in prayer on and off as we eagerly peered out among the people to see the crowds response. Immediately a few young ladies protested and threatened to call the police. I attempted to speak to the kindly and assured them that we had every right to be there as this was a public campus. I then spoke to the ladies about our motives and that I too had a father taken by cancer. They let me return to my post after that but began to hurl insults and cuss words at us.

I soon leaned over to Chad and whispered "what were we so afraid of." Just then Mike stepped off of the box and said, with a slap on my chest and a smirk of satisfaction on his face, "you turn brother." I moved into position and tried to speak but nothing came out. I then took a deep breath and said another prayer and began to preach. It was thrilling. There were times that felt as if the Lord was guiding my tongue and then there were times when I liked hearing the sound of my own voice. It was a battle staying on track and shunning away fear. Toward the end I simply began preaching as if to myself.

After I was done, we ventured back into the crowd to see what people had to say. Surprisingly we were able to spark up quite a few conversations. Many people were curious as to why we were there. We were able to witness to a few small groups of people. In the short time of evangelism that night, we were able to share the Gospel with about 500 people in the open-air.

Since that experience, we have proclaimed the Gospel in the open-air on two other occasions, of which I will write about in the near furture...Lord willing.