What a weekend!
I am convinced that the UK needs young men more concerned about reaching the lost with the gospel than about whether the guitar is in tune or amplification working properly!
It was a pleasure, therefore, to join 80 young folk, men and women, motivated to make Christ known, at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, this Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
The Christian Answer team was a coalition of United Beach Mission, Young Life and others. Their congregations were many sightseers from all over the world. The multifaith mix at Speakers’ Corner kept us all very busy! There was no shortage of people to speak to.
The young people were drawn from various Bible-believing churches. They first met together for preparation at Kilburn Baptist Church. This preparation included Bible ministry, practical training and, perhaps most importantly, times of prayer for God’s help in sharing the good news.
The Bible ministry was on the four points of the Christian compass – the Bible, Christ, the cross, and creation. The practical sessions were enhanced by two missionaries to North Africa and a young man who had formerly converted to Christ from Islam.
Less people gathered at Speakers’ Corner on the Saturday and Monday than on the Sunday, when it teemed with people. On the two quieter days we held one continuous meeting, with our two preaching stands side by side. Some stood to listen for a long time and discussed with team members afterwards. At any one time two thirds of the team were on duty, while the others rested before their next stint.
On the Sunday, when the hecklers were at their liveliest and loudest, we ran two smaller concurrent and continuous meetings, and again rotated a rest time for a third of our team. It was thrilling to see people from ‘all nations’ listening to the gospel, disputing seriously or responding positively in individual conversations. Literature in various languages was given individually to enquirers.
The day after the Christian Answer weekend I personally received three emails from a man in Latvia who wants to know more and has asked me to send him books.
Also at the weekend, and organised by Daylight Christian Prison Trust, our preachers visited four main London prisons and one Young Offenders Institute. It might surprise you to learn that prisoners are more attentive and quieter than some of those benefiting from freedom of speech at Speakers’ Corner! It is easier to share Christ behind bars than in the open air! Perhaps that is why open-air speaking is an ideal training ground for prison preaching (and, I may add, church preaching!).
Hundreds of men and women in custody listened attentively to the gospel and took booklets to their cells on that Sunday morning. Whichever side of the bars you find them, all men and women are slaves to sin and need the one and only Saviour who can set them free.
The weekend left me with this question. Why don’t our churches engage more in direct, outside evangelism, such as open airs, contact work, and visitation? Spurgeon wryly commented that we should make the case to preach indoors because most evangelism in the Bible was done outdoors!
Christian Answer runs similar weekends in a number of cities and provides ideal training for those not sure how to start outdoor evangelism or wanting to improve in it. More details from http://www.ubm.org.uk