From time to time I’m asked about the tools I use on the streets, during my evangelism efforts. Well, here ya go.
Ray Comfort’s Influence in My Life and Ministry
The headquarters of Living Waters, the ministry of evangelist Ray Comfort, is a museum of sorts. At least it was when I served as part of the team (2008-2012). Throughout the building, you will find vestiges of the mind of a man who is always thinking about evangelism. In this corner or that, on this wall or that, you will see ideas that became reality. You will see things that worked and things that didn’t, funny things, brilliant things, things that might leave you scratching your head, things used only once, and things that Ray has used for years–tools of the street evangelism trade. And Ray Comfort is a master craftsman.
I learned many things from Ray Comfort during my years with Living Waters, and not all of it had to do with evangelism. He taught me things about loving God and loving people. How I look at the world and how I think about reaching the world with the gospel is due, in no small part, to my time under the tutelage of Ray Comfort.
Nothing New Under the Sun
The Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun (see Ecclesiastes 1:9). Understanding that biblical truth I also understand that it is likely I have never had an original thought. Everything I know I’ve learned from others. This, of course, includes everything I know about evangelism. Over the last 22 years of full-time ministry, I’ve taken what I’ve learned from others–chewed on the meat and spit out the bones, taken something from this person or that person–and combined that with the strengths, weaknesses, and personality God has given me to become the evangelist I am today.
While my evangelism museum would be exponentially smaller than that of someone like Ray Comfort, I could probably fill a room or two with the things I’ve tried–things that crashed and burned and things I’ve successfully used for many years. In this article, I will present you with a laundry list of sorts of just the evangelism tools I use these days. I will cover as many different items as I can and provide links when possible to where you can find the items.
You be You
Please don’t look at this list as “must-haves.” But rather, look at this list as “might-tries.” Something that works for Tony Miano in Davenport, Iowa, might not work for John Smith in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or Jane Thomas in New York City, or someone else somewhere else. Use the evangelism tools, whether you see them on the following list or find them elsewhere, that best fit who you are, the type of public evangelism in which you engage, and according to where you live. Be a Christian engaged in evangelism according to how God has made you and the context of life in which He has placed you. You be you.
Okay. Let’s get started.
The following tools of the street evangelism trade are in no particular order.
Gospel tracts are important and I would say an essential tool for any Christian’s evangelism efforts.
I believe you will find my article “Gospel Tracts: Which Is the Best One?” helpful. It includes links to where you can purchase gospel tracts, as well as where you can find them free of charge.
From the article:
But which gospel tract is the very best? Which is the most effective? Which one will allow you to reach the most people with the gospel?
The answer may surprise you.
The very best gospel tract is the one you will actually distribute. That’s right. A gospel tract is useless if it is purchased, put in a box, put in a closet, and gathers dust like an old baseball card collection. The best gospel tract in the world, assuming its content is a biblical presentation of the law and the gospel, is the one you will lovingly place into the hand of a lost person.
Having selected the gospel tracts you will use, here’s a helpful article on how to use them: “Gospel Tracts: How to Effectively and Joyfully Distribute Paper Missionaries.”
From the article:
Distributing gospel tracts is an effective way to communicate the gospel to lots of people in a short amount of time. It’s a way to get the gospel to people who may not have the time to talk to you.
Distributing gospel tracts is not a lesser form of evangelism, when compared to, say, gospel conversations or open-air preaching. Many people have been saved as a result of a gospel tract lovingly placed into their hands.
Distributing gospel tracts is (and should be) a joyful activity. Each time you place a gospel tract into someone’s hand, if done with the right heart, is an act of loving God and loving people. I often find myself humming hymns and worship songs as I engage in tract distribution.
Heading out to do evangelism without a Bible is like an officer leaving the station to work patrol without a gun in his holster.
“I have a bible app on my phone.” I know, I know; but for me, that’s not the same as having a physical Bible in my hand.
Ten years ago, I had a custom Bible built for use when I open-air preach. It’s seen a lot of use during the last decade. While the cover and construction of the Bible are as sturdy as the day the Bible was built, the pages of Scripture are beginning to wear in places. Be that as it may, I will use it until the text is illegible.
Here’s a video about my preaching Bible.
You don’t have to have a custom-made Bible for street evangelism. Any Bible (your Bible) will do just fine. If you want to get a custom-made Bible, here are a few options:
I try to have a pocket Bible with me wherever I go (this article will explain why). Pocket Bibles are handy for those spontaneous gospel conversations while you are out running errands.
Ray Comfort taught me (paraphrased): “Tony, when I go to the store, I don’t go to buy milk. When I go to the post office, I don’t go to mail a letter. When I go to the mechanic, I don’t go to get my car fixed. I go to the store to engage in evangelism and while I’m there I buy milk. I go to the post office to engage in evangelism and while I’m there I mail a letter. I go to the mechanic to engage in evangelism and while I’m there I get my car fixed.”
Carrying a pocket Bible (along with gospel tracts) helps me to maintain this mindset.
The Half-Mile Hailer is everything its name implies. It is a powerful amplifier for use in large crowds or when trying to project your voice over a large distance. Some street preachers have moved from the Half-Mile Hailer to other amplifiers, looking for better sound quality. I simply can’t afford to do that. I’ve talked to other street preachers who are now using old-fashioned bullhorns because they are more portable and less expensive than the Half-Mile Hailer. However, they readily admit these bullhorns lack the power and sound quality of the Half-Mile Hailer.
I am less than impressed with Amplivox’s customer service and replacement parts are ridiculously expensive. They want $158 to replace a power cord and $436 to replace the wireless microphone unit. When a wire broke inside the wireless unit, all I heard from Amplivox were crickets. I took the unit to a local electrician who told me the unit’s solid-body construction rendered the unit unrepairable.
While I will keep using the Half-Mile Hailer until it either dies or I can afford something else, I have found over the years that the Aker AK38 meets my needs in most contexts.
The Aker AK38 is the best amplifier I have ever owned, for under $100. It puts out sufficient volume and good sound quality. It is portable and durable. The rechargeable battery holds its charge for days. After many years of use, the rechargeable battery hasn’t seemed to have depleted at all. While the amp is not advertised as water-resistant, I’ve used it in the rain without any issues.
I’ve been so impressed with this little amp that I’ve given it to preachers as gifts.
Years ago, I received an email from one of the owners of the company. He said that he had been following my ministry for some time and he expressed his appreciation that I was using their product to preach the gospel.
These days, I use a GoPro Max video camera and a Tascam DR-10L digital recorder (with a Sennheiser Pro Audio ME 2-II Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone) to record my open-air preaching, abortuary ministry, and gospel conversations.
The GoPro max is the top-of-the-line GoPro camera. It has multiple microphones that produce very good sound quality. It has rugged, water-resistant housing that eliminates the need for extra protection during inclement weather.
The only downside to this camera is, unlike older models, you cannot attach an external battery to it. A GoPro battery is good for only about an hour. So, I had to invest in a few extra batteries.
You can purchase older model GoPro cameras (new or refurbished) for much less than a new GoPro Max. I used a GoPro Hero4 (Black) for many years. I purchased it new in 2014. It is now being used by a young evangelist in Kenya.
I recommend using a chest harness with the GoPro camera.
Tascam Digital Recorder
The Tascam Digital Recorder was recommended to me by a podcaster. He said he uses it for his pre-recorded interviews.
It’s a wonderful digital camera that runs on a single AAA battery. All of my gospel conversations that you’ve heard on Sermon Audio, during the last year, were recorded with my Tascam Digital Recorder.
In 2017, I wrote an article titled: “Sign Evangelism: A Legitimate Way to Communicate Christ to the Masses.” The article begins:
“There are many legitimate forms of evangelism, including open-air preaching, the distribution of gospel tracts and Bibles, door-to-door, and one-to-one conversations. Another legitimate form of evangelism is Sign Evangelism. In this article, I will provide information for beginning your own sign evangelism ministry.”
I commend the article to you if you are interested in using signs in your street evangelism efforts. In the article, you will find information on where I get my evangelism signs.
When ordering your gospel signs, make sure to ask for vertical tunnels in the corrugated signs. The tunnels are the spaces inside the sign. Vertical tunnels allow you to place sign holders inside your signs. This is helpful if, like me, you often find yourself alone on the streets. Sign holders allow me to post numerous signs while crosswalking, which allows me to get a more detailed and diverse message out to motorists.
I have found that the Hillman 18″ Steel H-Bracket Sign Holder works well.
The “Stop and Talk” Cross
For 12 years, an important aspect of my street evangelism ministry has been crosswalking. I’m very slowly writing a book on this particular form of street evangelism. I hope to finish it before the Lord takes me home. 🙂
Over the years, I’ve written a few articles on the subject. I hope you find these useful.
Cross Specifications (for the original “Are You Ready” cross)
The “Stop and Talk” cross I’ve carried for the last four years is significantly larger than the “Are You Ready” cross I carried when I began crosswalking. It is 5′ tall (proportional) and made from reclaimed barn wood.
In addition to gospel tracts, I like to distribute bibles, Scriptures, and other pieces of literature.
ESV Economy Bibles – Shipping is always free! A case of 40 bibles for just $55.60; that’s just $1.39 per Bible.
The Gospel of John – Again, free shipping. A case of 216 booklets for $170.64; that’s just $0.79 per booklet.
“The Burglar” – Chapter One from my book, “Cross Encounters–A Decade of Gospel Conversations.” I will give this booklet to people at the end of some of my more involved and seemingly impactful gospel conversations.
These days I am using a Rigid toolbox to cart my evangelism supplies. It is sturdy. I can stand on it to preach. It is large enough to hold my Half-Mile Hailer, Bibles, gospel tracts, and other items.
Odds and Ends
Allow me to share with you a few more items I find useful in my evangelism efforts.
Depending on the circumstances and locale where I find myself engaged in evangelism, I will sometimes carry my Fatboy Versipack by Maxpedition. It’s a great little bag. It’s small enough to wear for hours on end but has enough pockets and pouches to allow me to carry just about everything I need for several hours of street ministry.
I am follically challenged. I need a hat when I’m outside in the sun. I have a bunch of hats, most of the baseball variety. I’ve worn many different kinds of hats while engaged in street evangelism. BY FAR, the best hat I’ve ever owned is the Tilley Airflo. The one I wear today is my second Tilley. I’ve passed down my first Tilley to my son-in-love, Donnie.
Tilley guarantees their hats for life. If a Tilley ever wears out, the company will replace it at no cost.
Dry Erase Board
Having spent time with Bobby McCreery and Rich Suplita (two evangelists worth following) on the University of Georgia campus, I became hooked on the idea of using a dry erase board as an evangelistic tool. I can’t tell you how many wonderful conversations I’ve had on the University of Iowa campus because of a “Question of the Day” on my dry erase board.
Dry-erase boards come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s the one I use: CLICK.
There are other things I can add to this inexhaustive list of evangelism tools. Here’s just a few more:
- Music stand
- Backpack cover
- Hand Sanitizer
- Gift Cards
- Water bottle
- Seasonal outerwear
Well; there you have it. Again, this has not been an exhaustive presentation. What I’ve offered you are evangelism tools I am presently using. Even with that, I’m sure I’ve left things out. In the end, I hope you will find something useful in what I’ve written.
If you have any questions, ask them in the comments section, below.