How to Draw a Crowd Open-Air Preaching
By Jesse Morrell
When I was first studying the art of open-air preaching, I’d watch some VHS tapes of a couple different open-air preachers and I saw how they were surrounded by a crowd of people engaging them in questions. That is what I wanted to do in the open-air. Surrounded by a crowd of sinners asking you questions about the Bible!?! It doesn’t get any better than that!
But when I first started going out to the streets to preach, actually drawing a crowd was a very difficult task. When I first got started, drawing a crowd of 10 people for 10 minutes would have been a HUGE accomplishment! I preached nearly every day for two to three years without really drawing much of a crowd. Now, I can draw a crowd of 100-500 that stay and listen for 3-5 hours. It took practice but the strategies are very simple.
Of course, you want to spend time in prayer before you go out and ask the Lord to anoint your Words, for His Spirit to draw in listeners, etc. But there is also the practical side of things. God created us and placed us in a practical world.
First, preach on a sin you know someone will heckle you about. Homosexual, abortion, transgenderism, etc, are all perfect examples.
Second, keep preaching and hammering on the sin until a person stops and begins to heckle you about it. Remember, your target audience is those who disagree with you. You want them to voice their disagreement with you so that you can openly discuss it.
Third, engage with this heckler in dialog and debate until a crowd gathers. It won’t take very long at all. Nothing draws a crowd faster than two guys publicly arguing. Paul used to “dispute” daily in the market place and “reason” about the Scriptures. That is what we want to do.
Once a crowd gathers, you can then address everyone. You can ask the crowd if they have any questions, share your testimony, etc. And if you notice that the crowd starts to dwindle down and people are losing interest, just start back at step one again. You can repeat this process all day long and have a huge crowd the entire day!