Evangelising complete strangers in public is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea. Recently, our Evangelism students were nudged out of their comfort zones and challenged to share the gospel with people on the streets of Brisbane. Glenn Cunahap, a Master of Divinity student in the Evangelism class shared his experience with us.
Glenn is a Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Mount Crosby and an international student at BST. He’s been in Australia for the last six months. Prior to coming over, Glenn was a teacher in Mindanao, Philippines. He also spent the last seven years preaching at churches every Sunday. He and his wife Maryanne (a nurse) served weekly as part of a medical mission to different villages in Mindanao providing vitamins, medicines and personal hygiene items to people in those villages.
“Adjusting to Australia has been a struggle, especially as I am away from my wife and six year old son. I experienced a culture shock.”
While Glenn speaks English and has several years ministry experience, the thought of evangelising strangers on the streets of Brisbane was a little nerve racking for him.
“In the Philippines it was ok for me to talk to people in my own language, but I was a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of sharing with Australians. I thought to myself, how can I explain things properly in English to strangers who know English better than me,” Glenn said.
“So I prayed to the Lord that He would just give me one soul to reach.”
Evangelising strangers is slightly different to preparing a sermon. You can rehearse and meticulously prepare a sermon down to the letter, but with street evangelism you don’t know who you will meet and what the conversations will be about.
Our students were sent out in pairs to connect with people in the City. A suggested conversation starter was to ask people what Easter means to them.
Glenn waited patiently at a bus stop in the City for an opportunity to talk to someone. Initially he didn’t have great success meeting anyone, so he eventually made his way to Anzac Square to find people to talk to.
Glenn spoke with numerous people there, chatting with them about Brisbane and what people did for work. This encouraged Glenn as he also got to learn new things about Brisbane he didn’t know. Towards the end of his time in the City, Glenn spotted a man sitting across from him.
“I just finished talking to one man, and I saw this person smoking a cigarette, sitting alone on a bench not far from me. There was no shade where the man was and by that time it was the middle of the day, and really hot! I found myself looking for excuses not to go over – ‘It’s too hot’, ‘He looks rough’. I was a bit intimidated,” Glenn said.
“But, I felt God’s leading so I went over to the man and said hello.”
This willingness to step out in faith, with God’s leading resulted in a meaningful outcome. The man opened up to Glenn and shared that he was looking for work. Through the conversation Glenn was able to share with him about accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Glenn prayed with the man to receive Christ.
“After the prayer, I could see that something had changed – the look on the man’s face was full of hope. He put his cigarette away and asked for my number, so I said yes. I knew that it was God who provided the opportunity to share with this man,” Glenn said.
BST Evangelism Lecturer, Andrew Prince commented that overall the students’ experience was positive with many people willing to stop and chat.
“While there was some nervousness amongst the students before we went out, I am so proud of them that they still went out and did it,” Andrew said.
“They all came back rejoicing at what had gone on, whether good conversations or not. Most felt like they would be happy to do it again.”
If you are looking to prepare for ministry, BST offers practical training for our students. To find out more, come along to our BST open night on Wednesday 30 April.