Why open air evangelism?
Open air evangelism is taking the gospel to the streets so everyone has a chance to hear the good news. Many people will never enter our churches, so we want to go where they are. Christians throughout the ages have done open air evangelism. Even in today’s society, people stop and listen, and many people have come to Jesus.
Open air preaching has a bad reputation in some places, what have you got to say about that?
While the desire to preach the gospel open air is commendable, sometimes it has been done harshly and without a heart of compassion. Our desire is to speak the truth in love. We do not want to compromise the message and avoid talking about the problem of sin, the eternal consequences in hell, the solution of the cross, and the need for repentance and surrender to Jesus. That is the gospel message that Jesus and the apostles preached, and that is what people need to hear to be saved. But we do want to creatively share the gospel filled with the Holy Spirit and with love for the lost.
What is the most important part of your ministry?
Although the ministry is called Ontheredbox, and it is very attention-getting standing on a red box in the public square, it is just a method. There are thousands of methods we can use to engage people (songs, dramas, puppets, coffee shops, tent crusades, personal relationships, etc.). But the most important part of the ministry is the MESSAGE we preach. The complete gospel message needs to be the foundation of all evangelism and include: the problem (sin), the consequences (eternity), the solution (the cross), and the call (to repentance and trust in Jesus). We call these the Four Columns of the gospel message, and every one of them is essential to the evangelistic message.
Why stand on a Box?
Being elevated above other people is a real advantage when you are doing open air evangelism. We use a box because we can store our preaching objects, tracts and gospel portions inside it, but also, when we stand on top of it, people can see us better, and hear us better since we preach without a sound system.
Why is the box RED?
It doesn’t have to be red, but red is a color that’s very striking and people say, “Hey look, someone is standing on a red box!”
Why do you use illustrated messages?
Illustrated messages capture people’s attention with an object and a story, and provide a memorable comparison with the gospel message. We give practical examples of our problem of sin, explain our eternal consequences, the solution Jesus offered on the cross, and our need to repent and surrender to Him. People have recounted illustrated messages they had heard a year before and still remembered. We have 100 different illustrated messages available for you to use.
How do you prepare before going out to evangelize?
We need to prepare ourselves spiritually, so we pray for several hours before we go to the streets. We worship, we intercede for the lost, and we pray for God’s anointing on our lives. We also prepare our illustrated messages, testimonies, and personal evangelism, and then go to the streets.
Is open air evangelism legal?
Just about anywhere in Europe there is freedom of speech. But you will need to find out whether public expression is legal in each city. In Spain it is legal to do open-air preaching. But Christians can do personal evangelism anywhere.
Have you ever had a bad night of evangelism?
Looking at it from God’s perspective, there is no such thing as a bad night of evangelism. Just going out makes it a successful night. Just preaching the gospel makes it a successful night. Just being able to get the gospel seed into somebody’s heart, that makes it successful.
Do you still go out if it’s snowing or raining?
We made a commitment several years ago that, no matter what the weather is, we’re making a commitment to God and to our team that we’re going to go out. If it’s raining, we bring umbrellas, if it’s cold, we dress warm. As long as there are people on the street, we’re going to be there to talk with them.
How do you decide on a good preaching spot?
We look for a place where there are a lot of people that are walking by, a place where there is not a lot of traffic noise, and a place that’s acoustically advantageous for open air preaching, for example in front of buildings.
Do you translate the messages?
We find that in the square where we are doing evangelism, there are many tourists who don’t speak Spanish, but do speak English, so that’s why we have translation. We have also noticed that more people stop and listen to us when we translate.
Do you have a nightly goal for evangelism?
Our goal is that the Holy Spirit would come down on the street, and convict people of their sin. So we communicate a pure gospel message that invites the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin, which leads to repentance, and then a genuine conversion. That doesn’t happen every night because I can’t convert anybody. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. But what I can do is challenge the people and bring them one step closer to the cross.
Do you really think God needs you to be out there on the street preaching?
God needs us and we need Him. The Bible says, “we are co-laborers with Christ”, and “how can they hear without a preacher?” Our part is small, but God is not going to do it without us. So we need to go out and present the gospel, and He does the rest.
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