Yesterday was one of those surprising days! Following on from the conviction of two street preachers in Bristol I received a phone call from Premier Christian Radio to ask if I would take part in a live debate on their lunchtime news programme. I’ve never done anything like this before and was very nervous as to whether I was going to be ‘pulled in’ to saying something I’d later regret but agreed to take part none-the-less. I had to postpone a meeting in order to be available which gave me a little time to prepare for the interview, however how do you prepare? The other person taking part was Gerald Coates of the Pioneer Church movement.
It’s a strange experience but I think it went pretty well, certainly quite a few people rang or emailed to say I’d done okay but, perhaps inevitably, I can only think of the things I should have said.
I should have been more assertive about the positive effects of preaching on the streets. Whilst it’s true that fewer people stop to listen when OAC evangelists go out with a sketchboard or conjuring trick than used to be the case ten or twenty years ago, it is unusual not to have people stop, listen and chat afterwards. And it isn’t too many years ago that I could stop a crowd of 300 when using escapology. (Can’t do it since my accident last year)
I don’t know the two individuals that were prosecuted so can’t comment on their style. I would guess that it would be different from that of OAC evangelists. OAC evangelists have been preaching on the streets of Britain since the mid 1960’s with very few problems or complaints, indeed I can’t remember ever being heckled or getting into an argument. The aim is to be “winsome to win some.” I know that’s a cliche but it holds true none-the-less. It seems the case will be referred for appeal and we should continue to pray. Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the preachers, says that “the case raises huge questions about the state of freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the UK.”
We will be running a training week for those interested in street evangelism from 3rd to 7th July in Cardiff for those interested in taking the church out onto the streets. We will be looking at preaching on the streets and teaching people to use the sketchboard. We will also be looking at a whole range of other ideas and skills to equip people to share their faith on the streets. More details of the training course can be obtained by clicking HERE. (Around 23 minutes in.)