High Street Evangelism

I had a rather unusual experience (for me) today, in that I got involved in a discussion about ‘religion’ in the middle of the busy hight Street in Skipton, North Yorkshire (which is near to where we live). A dear old saint who is there week by week, handing out little tracts and telling people that ‘Jesus loves you’ seemed to be having a hard time with a young, well educated man, who had stopped and was arguing (in a rather loud voice) about the age of the universe, carbon-dating, miracles and so on. I couldn’t help but overhear and wandered a little closer where I gradually got drawn into the discussion.

Those who resist God do come out with the most remote arguments and this young chap was no exception. After several minutes and beginning to feel slightly exasperated (and ready for my cup of Costa coffee), I said ‘Look, let’s just get down to two basic questions. If there’s no God, where did everything come from? And, if there’s no God, how do you explain the fact that we find meaning in things. For example, if you love your parents and family, does that mean they are important in some way?’ He replied ‘of course, but it only means they’re important to me.’ To which I replied; ‘so they have no objective meaning or value, other than that which you place on them.’ He faltered for a moment and soon returned to the old standbys; ‘I try to live a moral, ethical life’, etc., etc. It’s almost always the same. People have this built in defence mechanism to what they call ‘religion’ (what a tiresome word this can be).

But later, as I put myself outside my coffee and reflected on the discussion, I sympathised with that young man. Once, I thought as he does now. Since then I have grown into my beliefs (as all Christians do) and gradually accepted them as I’ve developed as a child of God. But we must remember that to those who do not share our beliefs, so much of what we believe as Christians will seem far-fetched. And it must be especially difficult for a young person in the modern world, showered with scientific and atheistic propaganda.

We must be patient with people; we must talk to them and listen to them. And we must recognise that the best we can hope to achieve in a few minutes is to undermine their atheistic beliefs at some crucial point, giving them something to go away and think on. Where that thought, that planted seed, may eventually lead, we may never know. But we can pray for them in the knowledge that God can totally transform their minds. And we must remember that all our evangelistic effort – everything we say and do, and everything the recipient understands – depends entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Hey its great you recognise “But we must remember that to those who do not share our beliefs, so much of what we believe as Christians will seem far-fetched.”

    It would seem at least most of the evangelism I have been involved in wants to hit people with a gospel track and some where will you be if you die today formula. I’m glad people are motivated to go out on the streets. The problem wife and I have realised we have become very churchy and this dose not equate to Christian but religious, in our pseudo tribal new age culture, Christians need to be challenged to reconnect with society, not be so afraid of it. We are in Christ’s love and is this not the perfect love which drives out fear?

    I like what you wrote it shows a willingness to connect with individuals where they are at. Tracks and cliché’s may as well be in Arabic or Chinese to the post modern westerner only Arabic or Chinese would be more interesting.

    Blessings in Yeshua, and prayers for those who, God has made you willing to engage, and all those who Christians engage, that they may open their heart and the Spirit of Holiness may come in and make them His forever!

  2. Chris Lazenby

    Hi Shimmel
    Thanks so much for your kind comments; and AMEN to your very last paragraph!

    God bless you

    Chris

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