Is Street Preaching Still Useful

Then the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the streets and the lanes and make the people come in, so that my house may be full. Luke 14:23

Recently, I engaged in a friendly dialogue with a good brother in Christ that I’ve known for almost forty years. He made a Facebook post suggesting that street preaching is no longer effective. Not wanting to misquote him, I reposted his thoughts below:

To all my street preacher friends out there! I as one who moved in that groove a number of years ago ask you to consider what is stated below. People don’t have the “God consciousness” foundations anymore in US culture. It’s just a fact. So whereas in previous times the “comin at cha!” with the bullhorn and a Bible may have had quite a bit of fruit, those days are gone. And really, Jesus said wisdom is justified by her children. If the fruit of souls coming to Christ is taking place by that method then by all means more power to ya! But over the years/decades I have observed that THAT approach has yielded diminishing returns. Yes, ANYTIME The Word is spoken it’s going to plant seeds, but if you’re out there to “reach the lost” (just even referring to them as that can be viewed as derogatory for many) then you have to evaluate the FRUIT. Are you ticking more people off than “souls being won”? If you are then you MAY (just a suggestion from one who was out there with you) want to reconsider your approach. If you come back in from a night of street preaching with the thought “Wow I really preached the word tonight and they couldn’t handle the TRUTH that I was sharing that’s why they were persecuting ME! Praise God” you need to check your heart and motives. Maybe the people just felt like you really didn’t care about them AS A PERSON.

After reading his thoughtful post and knowing he and I had street preached together many times, I disagreed with his suggestion to cease street preaching respectfully. Below is my rationale.

Indeed, some street preachers come across as rigid, harsh, or judgmental, leading to irritation and offense among listeners. It’s also valid that various approaches to soul-winning exist, including more relational methods. Additionally, some believers may find street preaching incompatible with their personalities.

Why street preaching should continue

Nevertheless, none of the above reasons justify forsaking street preaching, a direct mandate from Jesus. I offer four simple reasons why street preaching must continue.

The Gospel Is Offensive No Matter How We Package It

First, the Gospel can irritate and be offensive, even if you said it to an unsaved friend over coffee. People will be offended when a street preacher preaches that they’re sinners, they must be born again, they must repent of their sins, e.g., stop fornicating, lying, etc. But that’s not a legitimate reason to abandon street preaching.

Jesus Command We Go Preach

Second, the Bible offers numerous instances of street preaching and explicit instructions to proclaim the message publicly. For example, Jesus commanded his disciples to “go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in”  “(Luke 14:23). Furthermore, both Jesus and Paul engaged in street preaching, as documented in Luke 6 and Acts 2, respectively. They did so many other times.

Street Preachers Can Be Taught Effective Methods

Third, those unfamiliar with effective street preaching methods and principles can receive guidance from seasoned believers. The Bible says he who wins souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30), which means he’s wise for soul winning and must be wise in how he conducts soul winning to yield fruit. Effective and wise street preaching methods can be taught and learned.

We cannot cede the streets to false religions

Fourthly, yielding the streets to false religious groups or ideologies (Muslims, Black Hebrew Israelites, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Atheists, Agnostics, etc.) contradicts the imperative to spread the message of Christ. I’ve been street preaching nearly 40 years and I refuse to cede the streets to false religions that satan uses to lead people into eternal punishment. Rather, we must have boots on the ground proclaiming the Gospel and advancing Christ’s Kingdom. Street preaching is the best way to have that direct contact with unbelievers.


In essence, even if a street preacher gets only one soul to start following Jesus, believers should continue street preaching.