Dear Pastor, Elder, Churchgoer, or Pew Warmer
I have been evangelizing the lost in street ministry since I have been in college (1984). For a majority of the years, my street ministry looked much like it does now, however my message was somewhat different. I would tell people that all they needed to do to go to heaven is to accept Jesus in their hearts or to accept Him as their personal Savior. The motive for this prayer was that Jesus loved them and that He would make their lives better. I continued in my evangelistic ministry in and out of the church, in various youth ministries, with the same basic methods. I was a master of manipulation, I could rouse a crowd and bring about an emotional response. The fruit of my ministry was evidenced in the hundreds, maybe thousands of decision cards that students would fill out. Many came to church for a time anyway. Most of these students were false converts. I can think of only one who is still walking with the Lord Jesus.
I regret my zeal without knowledge- but for years I was cheered on by church leaders and peers for my message and effectiveness.
Had it not been for a message that I initially cast aside, only to find three years later, I would still be in the same boat. The message was Hells Best Kept Secret. After listening to it, I took a course through the School of Biblical Evangelism and began slowly but surely through the study of the Word of God learn that the very purpose of the law was to convince the sinner of his need for a Savior, in other words, the law revealed sin and indeed made all men guilty before God. It made the wrath of God towards mankind make sense to me. It made the grace of God all the more amazing for me. Knowing the justified wrath of God towards those who broke his law, and the consistent justice of God made the reason for the sacrifice of Christ much more clear.
Since then, I have been thankful to be able to proclaim this truth on streets and campuses across our nation. The scripture has opened my eyes to the reality of false conversion, of those who make a profession of Christ with their lips but their lives do not evidence the fruit of repentance. Many of these people are the victims of purpose-driven and seeker-sensitive churches, who cheapen the grace of God by telling people if they will just make a decision and pray a prayer and be sincere that God will forgive them and give them new life. Others tell them all they need to do is receive Jesus in their heart, and He will make their life better. At the first sign of problems, or at the first call for evidence of fruit, their true nature will rise to the surface. I see these people on the streets all the time. They don’t like the way that I preach. They ask ‘where is the love’ They bandy about how we are to build friendships and relationships to win the right to speak to somebody. More often than not, I find these people on their way into a bar, a strip club, or in the midst of some other party telling me how they have Jesus in their heart, or that they believe in God. They say that they can sin and all they need to do is ask for forgiveness. They are victims of the fake gospel.
Even worse, as I go from church to church sharing and calling for people to join me in the streets, many respond that they believe that our methodology is wrong. They believe evangelism is inviting people to church or to a Christian club. They demand evidence of effectiveness, yet they will not leave the walls of the church to speak to lost people.
My challenge is for people who do not like my methodology to join me or anyone of CCN’s student leaders on the street. I call for you to come and demonstrate for us what evangelism is supposed to look like. We will respectfully watch and listen and discuss afterward. We will happily sit with you and discuss the way that Jesus, Paul, Peter, and other early Christians shared their faith. We will walk away at the end of the evening brothers in Christ. I suspect that when you see what we see on the streets night after night it will confirm to you that there is something wrong with much of modern evangelicalism. You will see the fruit of church and youth ministries as you see how many professing Christians proclaim Christ with their lips and deny Him with their actions.
But I suspect no one will take me up on the challenge. I suspect as it is with many modern churchgoers that you are very comfortable in your church with your church friends. You think that giving money to missions is good enough, or that evangelism is your pastor’s job. You may not say it out loud, but your actions speak louder than words.
Come on out. 150,000 people die every day. One of them might be your friend, neighbor, or family member. They are going into eternity and will be either judged or shown mercy. No one should go into eternity unwarned and un-prayed for.