Bull horn, bible, box to stand on and raging face. “You are all going to hell!” The preacher yells at the small crowds around him or disinterested passing bystanders.
Sometimes books and pamphlets are available for the reconsideration of your life and all lives. I have been accosted by more than one of these “preachers” in the course of my travels around the country. As a Christ-follower, I have not felt drawn into a conversation with them about faith. I have felt repelled by them. I think that the spectacle and accusations must do the same thing to other non-believers. I guess the street-corner preachers have their way to spread the Good News. It’s an unusual approach but not necessarily an uncommon one. You don’t need a bull horn to preach or a box to stand on to tell people what they should be doing. When I want a sermon, I know where to go to get one. If I am a non-believer, where would I go or how would I like to be met in conversation regarding faith?
I do not like proselytizing, (talking with others about your faith as a way to convert those people to your faith). It’s uncomfortable. I do not like being not liked. I’m not always certain what to say and I would prefer not to pick a fight. It’s hard enough to say “TRUMP” without getting into a shouting match, regardless of being either a supporter or detractor. What happens when you say “Jesus Christ, my personal savior” in a group of non-believers? (Matt 10:32-33) It may not start a shouting match, but often you will find a lot of space around you as the non-believers leave the area. Still, the great commission,(Acts 1:8), commands us to spread the Good News around the world. <sigh>
I’ve written about this before - Chapter 19, Let’s Not Talk About It from "Saved-ish: Salvation Conversations." It’s my simple approach to opening conversations about Christ. It’s still really hard, but I like step-by-step instructions, so I wrote down the ones I follow there.
Here’s something else though, from the perspective of an atheist. I watched an online video featuring a famous atheist, Jillette Penn, one half of the Penn&Teller magic duo, describing how he was proselytized to well. You can see in the video that even though he was not moved from his atheist perspective, he was still moved. Even more compelling is that he believes Christ-followers have a moral obligation to proselytize. Watch this, it only takes 5 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8
Ok. Jesus tells us in scripture to preach the Good News, salvation for the world. Your pastor has told you to be fearless in preaching the Good News, at least if your pastor preaches from Matthew 10:18-20. An atheist tells us to preach our Good News if we believe it to be true. I think that about covers all of the bases. I have a small map I follow for sharing the Good News as I have outlined in Let’s Not Talk About It. I get it- spread the Good News. I’m just not going to do it from a street corner with a bullhorn…that approach is not the Good News.