“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
Not today though, and not for many decades, today it is go out into the byways and invite them to the church, where the best place to preach the Word of God is. Perhaps in some of the larger metropolitan areas you may see an occasional street preacher, but they are rare these days, and many times they have placards and easels with much information surrounding them. It is rare indeed to spot a man standing out of the way of passerby’s with nothing more than the Word of God in his hands and a heart for all that walk by him.
I believe I can quite honestly use the word “most” here when I say that if a pastor of a church wanted to hold a Sunday morning meeting out of doors that it would first have to be approved by some committee within the church. Then of course permits would need to be obtained, then a date would need to be set. “Oh, perhaps we should rent a large tent and some chairs.” “Refreshments would also be nice, wouldn’t they?” The bulletins would need to be printed up; notices handed out about the “special event.”
“And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.” (Matt. 13:2)
“For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.” (Luke 9:14)
Open air preaching, going out into all the world, not simply inviting them to a building at a specific time, and most generally for a specific amount of time.
How would you react if your pastor, once everyone was seated, stood up and announced, “You know, it’s a nice day outside, let’s all go across the street to the park and proclaim the message of love this morning.”
“Oh, I can’t do that, I have my best dress on.”
“He can’t possibly expect us to sit on the grass, can he?”
No, the place must remain the same, the same order must be maintained, the structure of the meeting cannot even be modified in any way, the proprieties must be observed at all times.
There is, since the advent of the internet, a new form of street preacher, and he can go out into all the world, it is not as advantageous as speaking to someone in person, but it offers an unlimited supply of listeners of the truths of the Scriptures. Those that go out into the world are rarely pastors of churches these days, it would not do, at least in the eyes of some of their congregations, to see him standing on a street corner, in the park, or even in a vacant lot or field preaching the Word to all that would stop and listen. At best they would see it as beneath him, and at the worst he might get called into one of those committee meetings and be informed that he is not getting paid to perform such actions.
If you are indeed born-again, I ask you this question, are you going into all the world? Perhaps not down on the corner with the Word of God in your hand, but to your neighbors, your co-workers, individuals that you do not know but strike up a conversation with, are you spreading the good news?
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)
If you happen to come across one of those street preachers, stop for a moment and listen to him. If he is expounding correctly upon the Word of God, thank him, if not, correct him, but do not just walk past him unnoticed. Outside, with the heavens above Him, that is where the Lord met the people. We are to go to where they are, not just invite them to where we meet.