Handbook on Open Air Evangelism

Open Air MissionSKU: HOAM7209 ISBN: 9781846257209



Since 1853, The Open-Air Mission has sought to present the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the masses in the public arena. Among its other aims and objectives, the Mission endeavours to assist, nurture, train and develop others in open-air evangelism.

This book seeks to build upon the ‘how-to’ guide developed by Edwin Baker and Alan Greenbank in the 1980s, drawing from much experience gained in the intervening years. Although primarily designed to help those engaged in open-air outreach, there are numerous helpful hints and tips which will assist any believer in sharing their faith with others. The aim of this publication is to make a positive impact in nurturing and encouraging a God-honouring evangelism, especially in the open-air.

With contributions from

Edwin Baker,

Roger Carswell,

Paul Linnell,

Andy Little,

Mike Mellor

Sam Webster

 ‘This book is written by men from the coalface, who have been out there, year in and year out,    summer and winter. They know what they are talking about … This book is full of helpful advice and wise counsel … that needs to be taken on board in every form of evangelism.’ —

Pastor Hugh Collier, Great Ellingham, Norfolk



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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Paul Smith
A handbook on Open-Air Evangelism: Guiding Principles and Best Practice

Too many believers write off Open Air's because of bad examples they have observed. This books aim is to encourage Open Air's that adorn the gospel. The subtitle is ‘guiding principles & best practice’. JP Earnest weaves both together to produce a distillation of wise counsel on how to conduct biblically based & sane open air work. Christian Institute’s solicitor advocate, Sam Webster, provides a briefing on how the law supports reasonably exercised free speech & how to avoid trouble with authorities. It is packed with helpful advice. The reader learns how best to use visual aids, how to set up & use a book table, & even how to identify public places by observing where bins are emptied. The author explains how to dial down the ‘weirdometer’, why audio recordings are helpful but video recordings less so & the best type of literature. The use of apologetics is covered on a practical level, emphasising the need to lead on to Christ. Preaching is likened to throwing a ball: it must be to people, not at people. There is advice on engagement – not ‘conning people into listening’ – while realising when it’s time to pass on the baton: ‘if you haven’t “struck oil” let someone else drill’. The wisdom of experience is demonstrated by advice on singing groups: ‘well meaning Christians aren’t necessarily the best judge of “good singing”’. The short length, straightforward style & practical content make this ideal reading for everyone involved in Open Air work & for everyone who should be!

Peter Murcott

Open air evangelism and street preaching have been an integral part of the proclamation of the Gospel since Bible times. In times of spiritual darkness, souls have been awakened by those who have gone into the highways and byways to make Christ’s truth known. The ways in which this has been done are various; but many of the considerations are the same.
A perusal of the chapter headings shows the hallmark of a preacher: each chapter (and there are eleven of them) starts with the letter “p” – “The Priority”, “The Pattern”, “The Place”, “The Preacher”, and so on. The content focuses considerably on practicalities and procedure - and proffers much advice.
Take, for instance, the chosen location. Is it a public place, or private land? This might not always be obvious. In Chapter 3: “The Place”, the author tells of an Open Air Mission in a certain town. Having discovered what seemed to be a suitable location, it appeared to be owned by an adjoining shopping centre. Earlier on in the chapter, other relevant considerations are raised, such as the causing of an obstruction, or the competing presence of a nearby busker.

Peter Murcott

Although street preaching is essentially different from preaching in church, there are certain similarities. For instance, one needs to be heard. That may raise additional challenges in the open air; though in these days of ageing congregations, it is also a basic issue. Where someone tells a preacher after a service: “I have heard every word this morning”, this implies that it was an exceptional occasion for that worshipper.
In challenging the world with the Gospel, street preachers also face challenges. One of them is not only the interruptions of a heckler, but also the raising of questions afterwards. Not all queries are necessarily sincere. This raises the issue of recording everything that is said. Complaints about street preachers are not unknown; neither are arrests. A recording can prove to be a vital piece of evidence.
This book introduces a raft of other issues, making it a practical resource as well as of spiritual wisdom. The illustrations on pages74 & 75 are helpful - on how best to stand when using a display board. Some of the matters discussed may be ones that even experienced street preachers have previously not considered. Not everyone is called to this ministry; but those who are will surely acquire several pertinent pointers from these pages.

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