Field Preaching

Since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by John Wesley and the early Methodist circuit riders. They seemed to be risk taking adventurists. I read two comic books when I was about 9 years old, one about Wesley and the other about circuit riders that captured my imagination - and I still have the one on Wesley! One of the things that has always impressed me about Wesley was his open air preaching, or, field preaching. It was a radical concept introduced to him by George Whitefield. The physically short Wesley must have had some great big pipes to reach the thousands who heard him. Sometimes he would preach in town squares and people would crowd around to hear him preach.

Though fascinated, I've long been a chicken about field preaching. One reason has to do with the weirdos who came onto the campuses of both schools I attended, the University of Arkansas and Asbury Theological Seminary. I've been called names by these preachers. I had a guy get up in my face on Beale St. in Memphis one evening. I've generally been turned off by these guys. I always thought, too, that there's no place for this kind of preaching today. I have lots and lots of objections.

But, Steve McCoy has made me think a lot about what real open air preaching is all about. He's also gotten me to consider an idea so crazy that it might actually work.

Wesley rode 250,000 miles on horseback and preached 23,000 sermons. Man, whatever was burning in him, God, set on fire in me.