Eyedropper against inferno
Street preacher evokes images that range from sermons on sandwich-board signs
to simple gospel tracts. Though the earliest evangelists were preaching Jesus
in the public square (Acts 5:42) long before there were pulpits, its hard to
imagine what that ministry would look like today.
Tommy Littleton shares Christ with some students hanging outside
a tattoo parlor in the Five Points district of
photo by Karim Shamshi-basha
Tommy Littleton knows. A member at Southcrest Baptist Church in Bessemer,
Alabama, Tommy has had more than two decades of self-supported ministry on
highways and byways around the world. Hes preached to the down-and-out and the
up-and-out of New York City. I once shared Christ with Calvin Klein and to a
homeless man on the same street in the same half-hour, says Tommy. Hes also
preached to the frenzied crowds of Dublin, Ireland, on St. Patricks Day. His
ministry takes him to popular destinations like New Orleans and Daytona Beach
and to remote corners like Honduras and Croatia, but always to the crossroads
where people gather.
Name: Tommy Littleton
City: Bessemer, Alabama
Mission: Preaching the gospel on the beach and in the
Tommys technique is profoundly simple: The Lord opens a door and I go. Tommy
is a certified auctioneer and runs his familys RV park and is single. That
flexibility allows for several months of ministry every year. Once on location,
Tommy goes to the high-traffic areas and hangouts where he engages individuals
and small groups in conversations that lead to Christ.
Ive talked to punks in New Yorks East Village, to street performers and
tourists in the French Quarter and to spring-breakers, runaways, shop-keepers
and homeless people in parks and on beachside strips, says Tommy. Underneath
the circumstances the need is always the sameits Jesus.
Since the early 1990s Tommy has focused on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,
during the summer. There are 60,000 teenagers there every week during senior
weeks, he says. He often works with church groups and friends who come
alongside to try to engage as many as possible with the gospel. Going it alone
can make you feel like an eyedropper against an inferno, he says, but partners
are a big encouragement. Plus its nice to see Jesus one prayer request
fulfilled as workers go out into this field ripe for harvest.
The ministry depends on impromptu conversations. Most people on the street
are looking for interaction, and they have opinions that theyre eager to
express, he says. If you give a listening ear, you can usually get one in
return. Realizing that these encounters are by definition passing, Tommy is
very deliberate and direct in his comments. In front line evangelism there must
be a balance between sensitivity and urgency, he says. We have to cut through a
lot of evasiveness and Oprah religion fairly quickly in order to address
That sentiment was set in stone as Tommy watched last years 9/11 attacks
unfold, knowing that days before hed been ministering to high-profile financial
analysts who worked on the upper floors of the twin towers.
Street preaching is more than hit-and-run evangelism, Tommy contends. Its
planting a seed, nurturing when we can and trusting God for the rest. The key
is being in touch with the heart of God so that we can appeal to the hearts of
people. The joy is seeing those two hearts meet.
A lifetime commitment
Bob Dawson, professor of Religious Education and Evangelism at Oklahoma Baptist
University in Shawnee, has been leading Royal Ambassadors (RAs) for 40 years. I
became an RA leader in 1962 at the age of 16, recalls Bob. It didnt take me
long to see the potential for making a difference in the lives of boys, and I
simply stuck with itthrough college, seminary and finally as a college
professor. Its a role that has brought him face to face with the work God is
doing in the lives of boys.
Bob Dawson teaches his RAs the art of tying
photo by william b. pope
We first introduce boys to Jesus, and then we introduce them to missions,
says Bob, explaining Immanuel Baptist Churchs RA Program. Many who come our way
dont know much about Jesus. Its not uncommon for boys to pray to receive Christ
at an RA meeting or campout.
Name: Bob Dawson
Location: Shawnee, Oklahoma
Mission: Teaching boys how to have a deeper relationship with
Bob is committed to teaching young men how to have a deeper relationship
with Christ, including how to avoid temptations. He came up with the RA
Promisea commitment to never use alcohol, drugs or tobacco. I believe this is
something boys should nail down at an early age, says Bob. Making a promise to
their parents and to God will make it easier for them to say no when they are
invited to experiment. Bob made a similar promise to his grandmother when he
was nine. I promised her that I would never smokeand I never have.
Some of the boys in his RA group have grown up in Christian homes, and have
made this commitment within the context of their families. Some, however, are
from non-Christian homes where some or all of these substances are used
regularly. Those guys need Christian men to help them with this commitment,
adds Bob. It was for them that the RA Promise was born.
Sixteen RAs have made the promise in front of the entire church. The boys
parents participate in the ceremonyincluding the unchurched parents. Even they
want the best for their sons but dont quite know how to give it to them, says
Bob has seen many young men from all walks of life go through RAs. Ive seen
boys who grew up on welfare learn for the first time the joy of raising money
to buy a gift for a shut-in or making something with their own hands, says Bob.
Ive seen boys express a desire to serve Christ on the mission field, and Ive
watched several carry out that commitment.
A CUP OF COFFEE AND THE GOSPEL
Mandy Moltz learned about missions around her familys dinner table. My father
is a pastor, and all the missionaries who came to our church to give reports
came to our home and ate with us, says Mandy. I told one who was visiting for a
World Missions Conference that I was going to be a missionary one day.
Mandy Moltz helps a neighborhood kid with his
photo by david trozzo
Mandy now serves as a US/C-2 missionary at the Canton Baptist Church and
Neighborhood Center in Baltimore, Maryland. US/C-2 missionaries are college
graduates who serve for two years in the United States or Canada.
Name: Mandy Moltz
City: Baltimore, Maryland
Mission: Using her southern hospitality to share Christ in the inner
Its been quite an adjustment for me moving to Baltimore from a small farming
community in southwest Georgia, she says.
Mandy has helped start a coffeehouse at the center. After overcoming
challenges, such as having to shut down before they even opened because of
problems with their first location, the coffee house has finally become quite a
blessing. Using their own facilities, they have brought in bands and drama
groups to help out with entertainment at the neighborhood coffeehouse.
We have been blessed with people who donate money, coffee, drinks, chips,
baskets, whatever we need, says Mandy. The coffeehouse is a place for
Christians to come and hang out in a relaxed setting, and a place where
non-Christians will feel comfortable. A place where they will hear Gods message
over a cup of coffee and come to know Him.
7 ways you can be on mission through prayeran essentialingredient of any mission endeavor.
1. Call 800-554-PRAY (7729) for current missionary
2. Visit www.namb.net/ prayerline for a list of missionary birthdays and
3. Subscribe to the North American Missions Prayer-Gram by calling
4. To identify where missionaries are serving and how you can pray
for them visit www.namb.net /missionaries.
5. Subscribe to Missions Mosiac for a list of both North American
and international missionary birthdays by calling 800-968-7301.
6. Adopt and pray for a Strategic Focus City by visiting www.namb.net/prayerline.
7. Call 800-395-PRAY for international missionary
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC