Street Preaching Curve Ball
Quite a few years ago, after listening to all of Ray Comfort’s evangelism teachings, I decided to go out and try my hand at street preaching. I didn’t go stand on a corner and start yelling at people, but I took out a simple survey that had little trick questions and was a great conversation starter. The idea was that once you engaged a person in the conversation using your survey, you could transition to the gospel.
Rather than using The Four Spiritual Laws, or the Romans Road, Ray Comfort's method of evangelism begins by asking the individual if they think they are a good person. Invariably, the individual will respond in the affirmative. “Yes, I believe I am a good person.” The next step is to offer the person a test to see if they are truly a good person. Using the Ten Commandments as a template, the jovial interrogation typically begins with begins with an easy question based on the Sixth Commandment.
It goes something like this:
“Have you ever committed murder?”
“Well, Jesus said that if you so much as hate a person that you have already committed murder in your heart. Have you ever hated anyone?”
"Then, by your own admission, you are a murderer."
I would then go through several other Commandments asking if they had ever lied, stolen anything or committed adultery. Everyone has either done these things or at least done them in their hearts.
Then I’d say, “Well, you have already admitted that you are a lying, thieving, murderous, adulterer at heart. Are you sure you’re a good person?”
They usually reply, “No.” That is the queue to share about how Jesus has taken the punishment for our sins, and how they can receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
You can see a cool cartoon version of this evangelism dialogue here.
So… One evening, I had gone down to Town and Country Mall to give people surveys and share the gospel with them. I had witnessed to about a dozen people and was just about to call it an evening when a lady walked up to me and asked me what I was doing. I was candid and told her that I was giving people surveys and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. I thought perhaps that this was a divine appointment, although I’d never heard anybody use the phrase “divine appointment” back in those days, so I offered to give her the survey.
The woman, a pretty unremarkable individual who appeared to be in her mid to late 40s, had a good time answering the silly questions on my survey.
“What do silkworms make?”
“What do cows drink?”
“Milk.” (Virtually everyone says milk.)
“Actually, cows drink water.”
We laughed at her silly answer, then went on to more trick questions. I then made my transition to the Good Person Test. The woman seemed truly interested in continuing. I tried to contain my excitement as I thought to myself, “this lady is going to accept the gospel.” I didn’t lead off with the murder question. I think it was the second or third one that I asked. Keep the conversation example that I already shared with you in mind as you read this.
“Have you ever committed murder?”
“Yes. I killed a man in 1979, but the police were unable to get enough evidence to convict me, so I was acquitted.”
“Well, Jesus said that if… Wait… You did what? You are telling me that you actually murdered someone? You are joking, right?”
This little, unremarkable woman looked at me dead in the eye and without hesitation said, “Yes, I got away with murder.”
Well, as you can imagine, I was gobsmacked. The woman spent the next ten minutes explaining to me why she had killed this person. She was very matter of fact about the whole thing. It was quite bizarre.
To this day, I am still a bit confused about a couple of things: 1) Did I ever actually share the gospel with her, or did I get out of there as fast as I could? I think I just took off when she was done explaining her murderous exploits. After all, I was standing alone in a poorly lit place with a little, man-killer. It was a bit unnerving. 2) Was she telling me the truth or just messing with me? I think what was so unnerving to me was the fact that she had no tells. She did not blink. She did not look away. Her pupils were dilated. Her body language was very open, and she spoke with the amount of detail that a person telling the truth would use.
What do you think? Did I try to witness to a murderer, or did I get scammed by a jokester? I lean towards the former. Either way, it makes for a good story.