May 20, 2024

What we do and why we do it and why it has to be outside.

As followers of Christ, Bible believing Christians, we believe that the Bible is the word of God. We also believe that what the Bible instructs us to do, we are to do. The Bible, and in fact Jesus himself, told us to go out into the highways and byways and preach the good news that Jesus told us to share, giving hope to the hopeless, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, and loving the unlovable (outcasts of society, drunkards, drug addicts, prostitutes, etc)

Street Church is a gathering of Bible believing Christians from churches throughout the City, ministering under the umbrella of Street Church, with the same heart of compassion; to provide the needy, poor, and homeless with a message of hope and daily necessities. The Bible clearly states what a believer is obliged (commanded) to do. To follow the Bible is not an option for a Christian, according to Jesus’ words in John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”.

According to the Bible we are commanded to go out and reach the people where they are. Most of the people that we minister to would never enter a church because of their condition (their look, smell, language, behaviour, addictions). They feel unwanted and unwelcome in a “traditional” church environment. Through the repetition of the message of hope, music that literally changes the atmosphere, and testimonies of people that were where they are today, impacts their self-worth, changes their mood, and in many cases their entire life and future, from troublemakers (in and out of jail) into healthy contributing citizens.

With the large crowds that come to our services, and the noise from traffic, planes, C-Trains and other disturbances that happen all the time in the down town area, amplification is an important and necessary aspect of our work and ministry. Think, for example, about when a speaker comes to Calgary to give a speech, and they give that speech in an auditorium where there is a controlled environment which keeps outside noise out, amplification is used on every occasion in order to ensure that the message is communicated properly, not with shouting, but with proper and straight forward speech.  How much more is amplification needed outside with all of the excessive noise to contend with? Without the use of amplification, we have to resort to shouting in order for people to hear, which changes the tone of the message, is much less effective, and at times stirs people up negatively, which is not what we desire.

Here are some passages from the Bible, although there are a great many more, that instruct us not only in what we are to do, but how we are to do it. This instruction is the basis and foundation for all that we do at Street Church.

Mark 16:15-16: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Matthew 25:32-40: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (35) For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Luke 14:16-23 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: (17) And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. (18) And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. (19) And another said I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. (20) And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. (21) So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. (22) And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. (23) And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (15) If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (17) So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Even the Lord Jesus himself said, I did not come to be served but to serve. As his followers we must do the same.

Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

The commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord are very clear, we are to go out and do what He did. The regular North American method of church is very different from how the first century church operated. Churches soon after Christ rose from the dead where most often outside, since that was where the needy were located. When it comes to poverty and hopelessness, nothing has changed. A couple of examples of those that ministered outdoors more recently, are William Booth founder of the Salvation Army, who ministered and preached once a day outside and once a day inside, and Mother Theresa who for a great deal of her ministry was helping the poor outdoors.

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