I've been looking around for hard facts on the efficacy of street preaching but can't find any. Are there any hard numbers on the number of people who come to faith through this kind of evangelism? Has its efficacy changed over time? In Acts 2 Peter seems to use the same kind of technique with quite some effect. In my experience street preachers seem to be mostly met with either indifference or derision however that is entirely anecdotal.

So, scientifically, how effective is street preaching as a method evangelism?

Since I know of no studies I cannot define exactly what "efficacy" and other terms are in this instance, but I leave that to any studies if they exist.

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    Good answers to this question would probably involve longitudinal studies on street evangelists and people converted through street evangelism. – Reluctant_Linux_User Oct 13 '14 at 17:04
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    Great question. There's going to be some leeway in answers with definitions of "efficacy," "come to faith," and others. It would be great to see this, but I find that these things are usually just not scientifically studied, which is a shame. I hope you get some great answers. – fгedsbend Oct 13 '14 at 18:17
  • @fredsbend Thanks, if you have an edit suggestions for tightening up the question that'd be greatly appreciated. – Reluctant_Linux_User Oct 13 '14 at 18:20
  • fredsbend has hinted at the problem with this question: What are your metrics for efficacy? Conversion? Just because I do not "convert" someone does not mean that some measure of success is achieved. There is also a difference between making a convert and a disciple. If someone prays a prayer and walks away without making a life change, then you may have a "conversion", but you were not a success. A relationship can also be a gradual and incremental journey. A street preacher may plant a seed, while not converting or harvest a seed that was planted by a bible study or personal relationship. – James Shewey Oct 13 '14 at 23:18
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    @curiousdannii If any such studies have been done, they would fall within the bounds of the social sciences thus they would be accurately described as scientific. – Reluctant_Linux_User Nov 20 '14 at 4:19

That is a question I have wondered about as well.

Here is what I could find with a simple google search . . .


Looking at the axiom that 85% of people come to Christ before their 18th birthday he says

People from an unchurched upbringing are a clear minority among evangelicals. (28% of people in church on a Sunday)

when someone from an unchurched background makes a lasting decision for Christ, it happens much later than we have often assumed and is spread out across every stage of life.

I must admit that the "85/18 Rule" was partially confirmed in my research. In fact 84.5 percent of evangelicals do accept Christ before that age. However, the statistic only holds true if they were raised in a home where both parents were Christians with either a high or moderate level of spiritual activity.

Taken together, these things suggest that faithful parents often bring their kids to the point of a decision (for or against) before they leave the parental home.

These kids of faithful parents will likely not be effective targets of "street preaching", as their parents have way more opportunities to train and reach them first. Street preaching may be effective for those from faith backgrounds who rebel against the family faith. (after they find life unsatisfying without faith)

I have been involved with mission and ministry on the rough edge (drug rehab, prison, food bank, soup kitchen) and in these places many people are dissatisfied with the way their life is now, and they may be more likely to listen to street preaching.

We have a guy who street preaches outside our Saturday Morning Farmers Market. People do not often stop and listen. I think he might be more effective if he had a relationship with his audience outside of just preaching at/to them. I can't speak to his calling as I don't know him. If God called him to this, then it is exactly where he should be, and what he should be doing.

I think street preaching works best with people already unsatisfied with their life.

This article quotes statistics from Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door


A majority (66 percent) of Americans are unwilling to receive information through an e-mail message, and 70 percent say e-mail would be ineffective in getting them to visit.

I put street preaching in a similar category. You feel like a target, not a person or friend. Because you are already on your way somewhere else, street preaching does not target people who don't feel they have time to stop.

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