Advice of 47 Years
As America becomes more hostile to the gospel, some bold soul winners are looking for ways to push back. One freedom that we still have is public preaching and tract passing, if it is done in a public area. One veteran of street ministry is Dr. Gerald Sutek, who regularly uses Chick tracts in training students here and on the mission field.
By Dr. Gerald Sutek Th.D., Ph.D.
Would you take advice on money from a banker who had forty-seven years of banking experience with a very successful bank? Would you take medical advice from a doctor with forty-seven years of practical experience, whose patients all testified of his wisdom? We all would, of course.
I would ask you to lend me your eyes just for the length of time it takes to read this short essay that, if heeded, is guaranteed to help your ministry.
I believe I have heard every excuse used by ministers of the gospel to explain why they do not engage in "publick" ministry. Believe me, I understand all of these internal struggles, and I would like to offer my personal, eye-witness experience over the last forty-seven years. I am more convinced of this hidden truth: I preach on the street because of what it does for ME!
The ministry I am very blessed to have at the present time involves training young men and women in all aspects of the ministry. For the past three years I have been privileged to observe the effects that consistent, long-term publick ministry has upon a young man or woman.
To assist them in their first attempt, and then observe them the second, tenth, or fortieth time, and then to notice a subtle but constant maturity in their general approach to all aspects of ministry: this has been a strong affirmation of the principle that publick ministry was meant to strengthen the minister ALWAYS. Yes, the gospel is preached, and we trust Isa. 55:11 for those invisible results. Yes, sin is stifled, and we depend upon the many Biblical stories which verify this.
But, whatever results may appear or go unnoticed, the great value of engaging in publick ministry is discovered within the preacher and is incomparable to any other facet of ministry.
I have young men who nearly wet their pants at their first publick declaration of, “The Bible says…” yet now are quite skilled in ministering to policemen at their stations, old folks in their homes, students and teachers in their classrooms, sick folk in their wards, and congregants in their pews.
It is a thrill to watch a baby Christian mature in the Lord’s ministry with such extraordinary speed. I only have these students in my institute for two years, yet I would unhesitatingly compare them in ministry experience to any group of four-year Bible college graduates, in any school in the USA. The American graduates may perform more professionally, but a professional presentation does not necessarily minister.
I believe we are going to need, in the last minutes and seconds of this church age, mature Christian ministers with courage. You don’t get courage through Christian education, Bible reading, church attendance, fellowship, missions trips, Bible conferences, revivals, choir practice, Bible drill contests, summer camp, or even prayer.
Courage is the reward for obedience, and Jesus told us to preach to every creature. Every creature doesn’t attend church —but every creature eventually walks the streets.
Consider this a challenge from a generation past to a generation current: possibly the last generation. Prov. 1:5: "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."