News – Open-air outreach

Andy Banton Andy works as the General Secretary in the OAM Office
01 June, 2009 2 min read

Open-air outreach

How are the unchurched millions in Britain going to hear the good news of Jesus Christ? The Open-Air Mission (OAM) has found that city centres provide a wonderful opportunity for presenting the gospel message clearly and simply.

It has been fruitful to work alongside local churches and experience has proved that people will return with queries, which sometimes results in them coming to faith.

The OAM led a weekend of outreach in Bournemouth and Cardiff over Easter. Christians from various parts of the country joined with some of its full-time evangelists to share the gospel.

A large crowd listened to the gospel in the pedestrian precinct of Cardiff on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. These sessions led to many conversations. One man admitted that he was ruined if what the preacher said about sin was true. He was pleased to take a Gospel of John to find out how he would be saved from that ruin.

A middle-aged Roman Catholic lady acknowledged the teaching she had received all her life was wrong and asked if she could be pointed to a church that preached the truth.

A young man, who had been in trouble with the police, said he had been challenged by the message and wanted to go straight. He received a Gospel of John.

The team also met a professing Christian lady who could not accept many of the things the Bible taught but was willing to listen as her objections were dealt with.

Day of salvation

A physicist, who was willing to concede that ‘life’ coming from ‘no life’ was hard to accept, took literature and a web site address in order to find out more. A university professor heckled one of the speakers with vehemence but later changed his tone and accepted Christian literature.

Many conversations with Muslims took place in both venues. What a joy it was that a number of them were prepared to take John’s Gospels.

In Bournemouth, more than one hundred individual conversations took place. Some were Muslims from Saudi Arabia, a land closed to the gospel. One man listened intently to the preaching and afterwards gladly received a Gospel of Luke in Arabic. What a wonderful opportunity!

The day may arrive when the freedom we now enjoy will be withdrawn. We may regret that we did not take advantage of the opportunities to make contact with people in the streets while they were there.

Churches can spend much time and energy discussing how to reach out to the vast majority, while the one opportunity staring them in the face is discounted. Open-air preaching is old-fashioned; it goes right back to Bible times! But isn’t that the very thing that should motivate the Lord’s people to be involved in it? It has the stamp of God’s authority upon it and is a timeless form of evangelism.

If your church is interested in knowing how to start an open-air meeting in your area, the OAM would be pleased to draw alongside and help in any way.

Andy Banton

Andy works as the General Secretary in the OAM Office
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