My First Time Open-Air Preaching

When my friend and I go downtown to witness, we usually talk to people hanging around the bars. Occasionally, there is a little rock concert that attracts 100-200 teen-agers. We enjoy when this happens, because we get to talk to some new people. We stopped at the first bar and talked to a guy for a little while. As we left, we noticed that there was a concert, and a bunch of kids hanging out on the sidewalk. My friend asked if I wanted to open-air preach, and I hesitantly agreed. I’ve never open-air preached before.

We passed out a few tracts, and my friend gestured at me to start preaching.

I said something like,

“In John 3, Jesus said unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of God. What that means is that we are born dead in our sins, and we must be reborn. You can test yourself to see if you were born dead in your sins by looking at the Ten Commandments. The ninth commandment is you shall not lie. If you’ve ever told a lie, you’re a liar. If you’ve ever stolen something, you’ve broken the 8th commandment, and you’re a thief. Jesus said that if you’ve ever looked at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery with her in your heart. If you’re guilty of any of those, you’re going to be guilty on Judgment Day, and you’ll deserve hell.

But Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. If you repent, meaning that you turn from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus, your sins will be forgiven, and you’ll be born again.”

The whole thing barely took 2 minutes, and then my friend started preaching. Part of me wishes I had a recording of it so that I could know what I did wrong. I know I left parts out that I wish I would have included, like the part about Jesus rising from the dead. The other part of me is glad there is no recording, because I’m sure I stumbled over the words, and my public speaking leaves much to be desired, and it’s probably better not to have a permanent record of my poor quality speech.

We stayed there for at least another hour, and had several great conversations. One kid told me he didn’t believe in heaven and hell, and just thinks that you just cease to exist when you die. By the end of the conversation, he seemed to believe everything I told him, but wanted to wait until his death bed to repent. I tried to point out some shortcomings with that plan, but he seemed set on his plan. However, he agreed to read the Bible, and think about our conversation.

In spite of the lack of quality in my proclamation, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). While we can debate how effective my attempt at open-air preaching was, I think the Bible makes it clear that it’s the message of the gospel that saves, not the coolness of the person delivering it.

If anyone wishes to disagree with me on this point, they will be joining many other Christians in pointing out how my evangelism is being done wrong—other Christians like the 17 year old kid with a Mohawk, who smokes pot and gets drunk, a kid with a 1 inch diameter hole in his ear lobe and doesn’t know whether he’s born again, and a band member who said the most vile things to a young girl who professed to be a lesbian.

19 Responses to My First Time Open-Air Preaching

  1. fourpointer says:

    Matthew 10:19-20–“19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

    Many times, the most effective words we use are the ones we haven’t rehearsed. If it is God speaking through us, and if we can manage to get our clumsy old self out of the way, the Holy Spirit can do more with our weak flesh than we can do with all of our words.

  2. Isaiah says:

    Great work, brother! It takes a whole lotta guts to preach open air (some say it’s worse than public speaking). :)

  3. Bill says:

    Thanks for the kind words!

  4. rjperalta says:

    Praise God! There is nothing like “the first time”. If you are called to preach, He will back you with everything you need to do it, bottom line!
    May you be blessed,

  5. men4god says:

    I would like to add that it is not WHAT you said or HOW you said it, it is that you DID it. What you did is more than 99% of Christians would even think of doing. It is absolutely impossible that you did not make a difference (sorry, too many negatives in there). Even if you did not make any progress with the people you spoke too, I garuntee there was someone listening to what you were saying, that is now thinking about it. You didn’t see them, you didn’t talk to them, but they were siting there listening. All we can do is bring the Gospel forth. It is up to them to heed it, and God to bring them to Himself in His good pleasure.

  6. Bill says:

    Mr. Peralta and men4god,

    Thanks for your comments.


  7. rjperalta says:

    Right on! Many times we preach the word out in the streets and may not bring in the “numbers” as many would like to see, but God promised that his word would not return void. Praise Him!
    I have always enjoyed the thought that many that hear will not hear it elsewhere. They don’t go to church, they don’t turn on the radio, they refuse a tract, but they get to hear The Gospel as they pass by, how good is that?

  8. Deb says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I have been going out with our ministry team for a year and a half. For some reason I couldn’t do what I knew to do. I had been through the Basic and Intermediate courses (WOTM), but the words just wouldn’t come. Last night we went to a local carnival. I walked up to three girls and gave them a million dollar tract. Just then a teenage boy joined them. I just started talking (and praying). I was amazed at how quickly it went and that the kids were really great. I too am not eloquent of speech and wondered afterward if I had said what was needed to be said. I thanked God for the opportunity and prayed tha these kids would come to know the Lord. So anyway gret job! In Him

  9. Bill says:


    Thanks for your comment, and for your obedience to the great commission. I’d love to say it gets easier, and in some ways it does, but often it is still painful to get started.


  10. D.E. says:

    open air preaching is a difficult thing to do! at this point I have a hard enough time talking to people on the internet, I can not imagine what it would be like to open air preach. I woul be petrified of a mistake!!

    I agree whole heartedly, it isn’t us that saves (Thankfully!)

    God Bless you

  11. barrydean says:


    Where you been brother? How about a new post? Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

  12. Bill says:


    Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve been having to do a lot of writing for my job, and I just can’t bring myself to do much more writing after that. I intend to continue to post on this blog sometimes, but most of my posts will be on


  13. michael says:

    open air preaching is great,, tell them to repent
    Jesus did

  14. middleman777 says:

    Open air preaching is one good way to witness. I prefer just talking to random people and I find a way to interject and tell them about Jesus. . Sometimes people need to be blasted, sometimes they just need a gentle nudge. Jesus used both.


  15. Richard says:

    Well brother, two years later, how’s the “open air preaching” going? Fill me in.
    God bless you, and thanks for stopping by my blog recently

  16. Bill says:


    I haven’t done any more open air preaching, but continue to talk to people 1 on 1.


  17. francis says:

    i like the stand you took

  18. Bill says:

    Thanks Francis.

  19. Amen Brother! We get to be sowers of Gods word, then the Lord sends someone to water, and someone to pull weeds and clean, then the gleaning. Jesus will use those who submit to him totally. Thank you for being obedient.

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