Jimmy Hamilton has been a street preacher for thirty-six of his thirty-eight years as a Christian. That’s how his booklet “So You Want to Be a Street Preacher?” begins.
Thirty-six years of participation in a Christian task certainly qualifies this author to speak on the topic, but he doesn’t rely on his experience alone. He carefully outlines scripture after scripture to make his points.
First, Hamilton outlines a process for aspiring young men to decide if God has gifted them to be a preacher. He outlines several qualifications, one of the most important being the candidate is, himself, male. In a Christian culture which is currently debating whether women can preach in church, it was refreshing for me to read something which clearly outlines that women are not to preach at all.
Hamilton writes with an efficiency that does not pause to go into great details or rabbit trails as many would probably desire in an exegetical treatise on the topic. He writes like a man must street-preach: making assertions without spending every possible moment to back them up, all while knowing he could back up those points if he needed to for a debate or discussion.
Hamilton outlines processes for how to become a street preacher, including how to deal with a local church that is either supportive or not, the content of our preaching, and the importance of the holiness of the man who is preaching. He speaks of some of the pitfalls and dangers preachers face, as well as gives some practical advice for how one should support oneself, or request support from others financially.
Street preaching, like many other Christian activities, is something we can research in a study, read about in the Bible and church history, and come away with no practical understanding of it until we experience it ourselves. Hamilton does an excellent job of conveying with authority the things we all should know about street preachers, what they do, what they deal with, and how to support this important function of the church.
Overall, this 18-page booklet is worth the few dollars or pounds that you would have to spend. From a technical standpoint, it could have been edited better for typos and grammar. It does not read like a theological treatise but more like a conversation with a man who is passionate about a topic. Yet his passion is exceeded by his biblical knowledge of the topic.
Personally, I think this is a helpful guide to anyone who wants to know more about their street preacher friends or anyone who has himself interest in street preaching. Hamilton even addresses those who may have a gift of exhortation but not preaching. It was an interesting distinction I hadn’t thought of before.
I can admit to being slightly biased, being a street preacher myself and friends with Jimmy Hamilton personally, but I do think that this booklet is worth your time and worth the money to help support Jimmy’s ministry. I commend it to you.