Available directly from the Open Air Mission website, these two CDs address open air evangelism. There can be little doubt of the validity of open air preaching. Scripture and history both bear witness to it and the Lord has blessed this activity through the salvation of many.
We are given approving quotations by some of the greatest preachers given to the church: ‘Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin … you have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore be spent in this work’ (John Wesley). ‘It would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting house’ (C. H. Spurgeon). ‘The sight of so many perishing souls every day affects me much, and makes me long to go if possible from pole to pole to proclaim redeeming love’ (George Whitefield).
The format taken in these CDs is that of discussion between two people who consider issues like, Why preach the Gospel in the open air? and Encouraging Christians to do open air work. We are then taken through a series of 13 questions that open air preachers often encounter and how best to answer them. These questions and answers range from between 5 and 12 minutes.
While there is much to commend about these talks, one disappointment is a lack of focus on the local church. We live in days where the rights of the individual trump that of corporate accountability and responsibility. Not everyone is called (or possesses the gifts) for open air preaching. In fact, many who do it simply should not; one fears that more harm than good is done sometimes.
The local church is the best place to approve and appoint open air preachers. Having said that, there is encouragement given to pastors to get out and preach in the open air to passers-by. We need men called and gifted of God, along with willing helpers to hand out literature, in these days of declining church attendance. We no longer live in an age where it is the custom to see many unconverted people attending services. Let us go out and preach to them.