Bible Answer

Does God require Christians to practice street evangelism?

Since God commands Christians to evangelize, does this include all forms of evangelism?

Scripture makes clear that God wants us to share the gospel with unbelievers.  Jesus left this command before His ascension in Matthew. 

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””  Part of making disciples includes preaching the gospel. 

Therefore, this is an implicit command to evangelize.

As believers in Christ, we should have the same desire for the lost that He demonstrated.In Mark 9:36 Jesus says, 

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.  37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”  

Clearly, our Lord wants us to evangelize so that many will be saved.

Scripture makes clear that God wants to work through His servants to bring people to faith in His Son.  As Paul writes,  

Romans 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how will they hear without a preacher?  15 How will they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”  16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”  17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

So, we see that Scripture 1) has commanded us to evangelize, 2) have the same compassion to save the lost that our Lord has, and 3) makes clear that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the preaching of the gospel.  Scripture does not, however, specify the exact method for sharing the gospel, although it does provide some guidance.

For example, Paul says,

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.  20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.  22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.  23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”

In this passage, we see the three things Scripture tells us about evangelism.  We also see that we should forsake ourselves so that we may have access to others who need to hear the gospel.  Your willingness to visit those in nursing homes and to bring underprivileged kids to church strike me as an example of what Paul mentions here; just be sure to use this as a way to share the gospel with them.

We also read in 1 Peter 3:15,

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

The word for defense is apologia, which means apology (not to say we’re sorry), or reason for the hope that is in us.  So, we should be ready to proclaim the gospel to those who ask us why we have such hope.

In summary, we see that Scripture commands us to evangelize, but does not specify the method (e.g., one on one, street preaching, etc.), other than that the gospel is preached.  Therefore, while there is nothing wrong with street evangelism, if you do not feel the Lord has called you to this method of evangelism, Scripture does not require you to do this.  Of course, if you believe the Lord has called you to street evangelism, you should do it. We encourage people to ask God to give you the courage to be obedient to His calling, whether that be evangelizing on the streets or in some other way.  The Lord delights to answer prayers that are according to His will (James 1:5-8).