Who informs your neighbor's perspective of Jesus?
"Jesus is a schizophrenic," was the response I received by a woman when I asked her "Who is Jesus?" I was near the Polk Street Pink Line station in Chicago. I asked if she had ever read what Jesus says about himself. She said "no." Her response was another reminder that many people write Jesus off without ever having read any first-hand accounts about him. The religious affiliation of "none" continues to grow. Who informs your neighbor's perspective of Jesus?
"I am passionate about Evangelism. It is life-giving for me. And as I value each person I speak with as created in the image of God, it is life-giving for them too."
Over 12 years of street evangelism experience in Chicago. This includes subsidized housing, Spanish-speaking communities, African American communities, Little Italy, a university setting, and the Medical District
Evangelism Experience in Spain and Honduras
10 hours of weekly evangelism as a spiritual rhythm since June of 2018 (28° threshold)
Mapmyrun.com calculates my walk at 5.78 miles (5.5 is realistic cutting corners)
12 miles were estimated to be walked weekly. Yearly it is around 500 miles. Over 10 years, 4,000 miles walked is a conservative guesstimate.
50 different people have joined me on the streets evangelizing
About 25 total Salvation prayers
29 people physically healed in 2018, 34 in 2019, 42 in 2020, and 26 so far in 2021!
"Since at least 1/6/2008, when I estimated that a group of us spoke to about two hundred people that day, I have been interacting with people in Chicago. From a kid who was questioned twice, “Why don’t you ever talk?” God has brought me to a place where I share the Gospel with hundreds a year. These experiences on the streets of Chicago are a testimony to the fact that with God, all things are possible."
I recently received an email from someone I prayed for on the street: "Thank you for prayer on the street this past week when I was at the University of Illinois, Chicago, for eye treatment. I experienced your ministry as invitational, appropriate, effective, and peace-filled. You did not make a plea for one denomination or another, you did not beat me over the head with Jesus, or hand out a track. You did not threaten nor invade my space. Thank you for coming alongside and inviting me to pause and refresh with the certainty of God with us."
Here are five things that help respect the dignity of human beings in the process of evangelism:
I ask: “Can I ask you a question?” or "Would you like prayer for anything today?" Forcing someone into a "spiritual" encounter is not a way to honor or love the person.
I share, “We’ve been asking people questions in different neighborhoods in Chicago for years and pray for the responses.” People know what I am doing and know that I will be praying for the responses.
Share a bit of who I am. This also includes the "why" of what I do: "You can't love a community if you don't know what they are thinking" is one reason I give for what I do.
By saying, “We’ve been doing this over ten years,” I give people a sense of comfort knowing that I am not just some "yahoo" with others as guinea pigs. The second aspect of "sharing experiences" is sharing my personal experiences which relate to common human experiences. Rarely will anyone ever challenge a person’s personal testimony and experience.
Act in Authority
While I am respectful, I also boldly speak what God has for them, pray for healing, and address evil spiritual forces manipulating people. This is done with consent and dignity of the person. We are children of God and are able to live in Christ's authority.