There is only one essential piece of street preaching equipment: an audible voice. Everything else is an accessory. What follows is a list of suggested pieces of equipment that I have found useful during my years of street preaching.
Note: This is not an official endorsement by CARM of any specific product. CARM does not assume any responsibility for dissatisfaction with products purchased because they appear in this article. The reviews of the various items listed in this article are solely the opinions of the author.
Every street preacher should consider being elevated above his audience. Elevation makes the preacher easier to see and hear. It also provides a natural separation between the preacher and his audience. Here are some examples:
- A simple, low-cost step stool:1 this one will support preachers weighing up to 300 pounds.
- A two-step stool2 provides more elevation but is also heavier to carry and takes more room in the car.
- If you want to combine elevation with storage, there are several types of step stools 3 that will do the trick.
Amplification systems are as varied as the street preachers who use them. Check your local ordinances to see what regulations apply to the use of amplification in public places before investing in an amplification system.
- For large, open, loud areas a Half-Mile Hailer4 will handle just about any venue. But for everyday use, the Half-Mile Hailer is probably more than you need.
- For everyday use, one of the small and inexpensive units built by Aker5 6 7 will provide plenty of sound for the price. My personal preference is the MR-AK 38.8
The portability of all the above units is one of their strengths.
Sling Packs and Shoulder Packs
The street preacher can’t go wrong with a standard backpack for portability and capacity. I prefer a sling pack9 for long days when I will go through a lot of tracts and Bibles. I prefer a sling pack for its comfortable front or side-carry configuration, especially when I am in a very crowded area. A sling pack provides me with quicker and easier access to materials because I don’t have to take it off my back--as I do with a backpack--to retrieve resources from my pack.
A sling pack provides better security than a backpack. Unlike a backpack, the various pockets of a sling pack are always in my line of sight. In a crowded city, like London during the Olympic Games, my hands rested comfortably in front of me atop my sling pack. No pickpocket could access my pack without me knowing it.
For situations when the street preacher doesn’t need thousands of tracts and Bibles on hand, a shoulder pack is a convenient, lightweight way to carry a limited number of supplies. I carry the Fatboy Versipack by Maxpedition.10 This is a very sturdy pack with ample storage space. The main pouch is large enough to fit my street preaching Bible. The additional pouches hold tracts, New Testaments, business cards, and other items. It is also an outstanding tactical bag for those who can lawfully carry a firearm.
Street evangelism is becoming increasingly dangerous and litigious. Some law enforcement agencies seem to be regressing instead of progressing in their understanding and protection of First Amendment rights in the United States. Hecklers are growing angrier, bolder, and more brazen with their threats. Having and using a digital recorder during open-air preaching and one-to-one conversations has proven to be a great help to street preachers by providing audio evidence of what actually transpired during an encounter with law enforcement, a belligerent heckler, or an angry crowd.
You can spend $20 to several hundred dollars on a digital recorder. Choose one that fits both your budget and your recording needs.
- Presently, I am using the Olympus DM-620 SLV Voice Recorder.11The price for this unit ranges from $110-$150. You can go to my Sermon Audio page12 to listen to the sound quality of this unit in situations ranging from street preaching, to one-on-one conversations, to pulpit sermons.
Check with the laws in your state to determine if your state has a one-party or two-party consent law for audio recordings made in public places where there is no expectation of privacy.13 14
In most cases, any recording made for commercial purposes (profit) requires the consent of all parties involved. The best rule of thumb with any voice and/or video recordings is this: when in doubt, ask for permission to record.
As with digital voice recorders, the sky's the limit in price and capabilities when choosing a video camera. One can spend a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
- The video camera I am presently using is the Sony 96GB Full HD Camcorder with Projector.15
This camera has many features that are very useful in street evangelism settings. It has 1/8th” microphone jack. Using an external microphone during one-to-one conversations provides the best possible sound quality for videos. The image stabilization system in this camera makes camera shake a non-issue.
The 24.1 MP photo capability allows for very crisp still photography while the camera is in use. The camera also has an auto capture feature. The camera takes a still photo every time a subject in the camera’s field of view smiles, or you can manually take still photos while recording video.
While the projector feature may seem unnecessary to some, it does serve a purpose for the street preacher who is training others. If a street evangelism leader wanted to debrief his team regarding a particular open-air message or event, all the leader would need is the camera and wall. No longer does the entire team have to crowd around the camera’s viewfinder to see the video. With this camera, a larger image can be projected on the wall, making immediate viewing easier.
This article covered only some of the major pieces of equipment the street preacher might find helpful. Again, it is not necessary to possess any of the above items before a Christian hits the street to proclaim the gospel in the open-air. But they are useful and most if not all of these items can be found at a price that will fit almost anyone’s budget.
When deciding what equipment to buy, always make sure to be a good steward with the financial resources the Lord has given you. Never purchase a piece of equipment simply because someone else has it. Remember the words of the apostle Paul,
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry," (Colossians 3:5).
Don’t be an idolatrous open-air preacher who has to have equipment other open-air preachers have. It’s difficult to have credibility when calling the lost to repent of idolatry when you are surrounded by evidence of your own idolatry. Buy only what you need. Finally, buy only the street preaching equipment that is practical according to your everyday environment and your budget.
- 1. http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?sku=5754&gclid=CLuh7uW5ubQCFSmCQgodmEIARA
- 2. http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatName=CleaningUtility&SubcatId=LaddersStepStools&Prod_ID=RP092010
- 3. http://www.amazon.com/Flambeau-22500-Stand-Store-Storage/dp/B0002YSFMY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1356572655&sr=8-5&keywords=tool+box+step+stool
- 4. http://www.officesupersavers.com/viewItemsAct.asp?classlabel=MJAA&manufactlabel=3100083&sku=APLS610A&gb=1&utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=comparsionshopping&adtype=pla&gclid=CKy87IDAubQCFQhyQgodZQYAQQ
- 5. http://www.amazon.com/Black-MR1506-TK-Products-Presentations/dp/B003FQ2X56/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356574445&sr=8-1&keywords=aker+voice+amplifier
- 6. http://www.amazon.com/Amplifier-MR2200-Portable-Teachers-Presentations/dp/B003T3Q3HE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1356574445&sr=8-2&keywords=aker+voice+amplifier
- 7. http://www.amazon.com/Amplifier-MR2800-TK-Products-Presentations/dp/B0055865MY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356574445&sr=8-4&keywords=aker+voice+amplifier
- 8. http://www.amazon.com/Amplifier-MR-AK38-TK-Products-Presentations/dp/B00558AYUS/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1356574445&sr=8-9&keywords=aker+voice+amplifier
- 9. http://www.amazon.com/JanSport-Series-Cisco-Sling-Black/dp/B0058Y8UGY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1356585207&sr=8-3&keywords=jansport+backpack+sling
- 10. http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/FATBOY-VERSIPACK-4p31.htm#details
- 11. http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-142665-DM-620-Voice-Recorder/dp/B004S561V0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356586657&sr=8-1&keywords=olympus+dm-620
- 12. http://www.sermonaudio.com/source_detail.asp?sourceid=pulpitandstreets
- 13. http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/recording-phone-calls-and-conversations
- 14. http://legallad.quickanddirtytips.com/the-legality-of-recording-conversations.aspx
- 15. http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666415446