The New Street Preachers

A Review of ‘The New Street Preachers’ – Healing on the Streets, Treasure Hunting and Prophetic Evangelism in Christianity magazine (January 2010 Edition)

Introduction ‘Healing on the Streets’ or HOTS is a relatively recent ministry, nonetheless it is proving popular in many parts of the United Kingdom and appears to be spreading further afield to Continental Europe, Africa and Asia. This particular model of healing evangelism originated through the Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 2005, though the church itself was established in 1999.

Healing on the Streets is marked with a look and feel that distinguishes it from other street ministries. We create an environment that’s full of the atmosphere of Heaven; a “thin place” where heaven and earth meet and people can experience the kingdom and encounter the King. To help facilitate this ministry on a weekly basis we use chairs, a distinctive banner that says “HEALING,” invitational “Healing” leaflets, and music specific to this model. We simply invite passers-by to sit on our chairs to receive healing, or offer prayer for any need they may have. We create an environment on the streets that spreads the fragrance of Jesus, and brings the hush and awe of heaven to anyone walking through the area, regardless if they sit on our chairs or not! It’s unpressurised and peaceful, an oasis of healing where people are offered the opportunity to drink from the fountain of life. (http://www.causewaycoastvineyard.com/coleraine/get-involved/healing-on-the-streets)

‘Treasure hunting’ began in Bethel Church, Redding, California, though the phenomenon has also spread elsewhere and is becoming more commonplace in the United Kingdom.

Treasure Hunts incorporates the use of words of knowledge (clues) that you write on your Treasure Map to find Treasures (people) who need a supernatural encounter with God through an encouraging prophetic word or healing. This is not about preaching or arguing with people, but rather giving them a practical demonstration of the goodness of God. Treasure hunts are a great tool for those who have felt intimidated by witnessing to family members, friends, co-workers, and those in the community. Through this fun and easy method you become empowered with confidence and competence to bring supernatural encounters to people around you. Through treasure hunts you can become a world changer, transforming your community one encounter at a time! (http://www.ibethel.org/treasure-hunts)

Christianity Magazine commissioned Andy Peck to accompany the King’s Arms Church in Bedford on a ‘Treasure Hunt’ two years ago. Andy had formerly visited Bethel Church in June 2009 also. This article is therefore firstly an analysis of that report; that will evaluate whether the methods employed are biblical and suitable for evangelism. Secondly, conclusions will be established with regard to sound scriptural examples and precedents concerning how to present the gospel and how healing should be administered to the unreached people groups on the streets today.

Lastly, in the same article, Peck includes a short section on ‘Prophetic Evangelism’, which he describes as ‘a variation on treasure hunting’. That claim and the way in which that ministry functions will again be examined by its own merit alongside the word of God.

Review of ‘The New Street Preachers’

Andy Peck explains how Treasure Hunting works in practise.

‘In Treasure Hunting, the treasure is understood to be the people in whom God is at work or will be at work as Christians make contact with them according to ‘clues’ which God gives. Those going on a treasure hunt spend time in prayer beforehand and ask God for clues according to five criteria-location, name, appearance, ailment and unusual. We were taught to simply ask God to put words into our minds and write them down under each category- there may be a number of words or names under each. Teams then go out prayerfully, maybe to the location, or on the lookout for someone clearly suffering from an ailment that they received a word about. When they meet people who seem to fit any clue, they will typically show them the other clues. Many are amazed to see some details relating to them on a piece of paper that couldn’t have been known without divine revelation’ (Christianity: Jan 2010, 32-33)

At first sight this process may appear a little strange or unorthodox. Admittedly, the terms ‘Treasure Hunt’ and ‘clues’ sound more like a game rather than Christian outreach. However, some will assume that since Christians are asking God for ‘clues’ and they are praying before they start to minister, then it must be okay.

Before either diving in with both feet, or dismissing the above as the latest spiritual fad, surely the first point of reference should be to determine whether there is scriptural backing and if so, under what context and circumstances?

The term ‘Treasure Hunting’ is not found in scripture in the sense referred to here. Neither is it helpful in the respect that the people encountered will probably wonder what it has to do with Biblical Christianity, especially when they may well have been approached by those from cults or other religions propagating their respective views, possibly on the same afternoon, some of which may present equally confusing ideas on the same patch! Regardless of whether we live in a postmodern society where names are constantly changed and updated, Christians need to identify themselves clearly as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ and operate within the boundaries of what the Bible advocates. If the majority of Christians require an explanation as to what a ‘Treasure Hunt’ involves how much more confusing would that be for the unsaved?

The receiving of ‘clues’ is never mentioned in relation to spiritual gifts in the Bible. Clues are pointers that direct someone or something in the desired direction or course of action. Clues can also be misinterpreted easily. Biblical prophecy and words of knowledge are specific and do not leave room for ambiguity and should not be treated with a carefree ‘hit and miss, give it a go’ approach (Deut. 18:21-22; 1 Cor. 14:32-33).

It is good that those involved in treasure hunting pray beforehand. Christians are reminded to pray at all times and without ceasing (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17). Nevertheless whilst scripture confirms that believers should earnestly desire to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1) there is nothing that indicates asking for ‘clues’ yet alone writing those ‘clues’ down according to a five-criteria format. Throughout scripture, when the prophets obeyed God, they either wrote or spoke or did what God commanded. They didn’t play spiritual cluedo!  When God speaks, He doesn’t need to be channelled through a list of clues on a chart, leading His spokesperson on a quest to find a person to heal!

Asking God to put words on a person’s mind and then writing them down under the mentioned categories is assuming that God desires to conform to those methods. Surely it would be wiser to ask God prayerfully what He requires them to do for Him and that may not involve a treasure hunt! There is also the danger of writing down the first words that pop into the mind and assuming that because you have asked God for ‘words’, those ‘words’ must be the ones that are the essential pieces to the missing puzzle.

Peck states, ‘The expectation is that everyone can receive a ‘word of knowledge’ or prophetic insight-this is not the domain of the spiritually gifted or ordained, but those with the spiritual bottle to step out and see what God will do.’ (Christianity, 37) That is not biblical though, since not everyone will operate with the same gifting, hence believers are part of a body. ‘But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Cor. 12:7-11)

Peck then recalls his experience of what happened.

‘After our prayer time my treasure hunt clues include: bath and fishmongers; James, Freda and Felicity; moustache, bandaged leg and amplifiers. I compare these with my other team members: Anna, Louise and Nicola, and discover no overlaps though two of the team have ‘bananas’ above all things! Anna, a  youth worker from Kingston Upon Thames and leader of our group because she had done this before, has ‘market’ and since we discover there’s one some 400 yards from where we had gathered, we set off hoping that this location might match the other clues that we have on our lists and lead us to God’s treasure. But the market leads little spiritual fruit: We have two conversations where clues didn’t match, though we were able to pray a general prayer of blessing for a woman in her 60’s.’ (Christianity, 33)

Firstly it is encouraging to have the opportunity to pray for a complete stranger. Nevertheless moustache, bandaged leg and amplifiers sound outlandish, because they are exactly that! It may sound harmless and undoubtedly those searching for clues have good intentions and want to help others, but what about those on the receiving end? In the above instance, if the recipient knows little about God and His word, at best they may perceive believers to be a little whacky and at worst they may associate those clues with the Bible and the gospel and assume that it’s all nonsense! Surely it would make more sense to give someone a good gospel tract and explain the gospel to them and as the Lord leads, possibly offer to pray for physical healing if there is an obvious issue or if the other person specifically asks for that.

Peck then briefly evaluates how he received the ‘clues’.

‘I do not typically receive ‘words of knowledge’, so this whole experience is very new, and I’m not at all sure I have ‘heard the clues’ correctly.’(Christianity, 33)

In fairness, Peck is willing to admit that the items on his list may not have been the clues that he should have been searching for. The problem is, that if clues are hit and miss, then one should exercise caution about sharing clues with others. Even before that, believers should follow the example of the Bereans to check whether those things were so in the first place (Acts 17:11). An afternoon of treasure hunting could easily give the impression that either prophecy or words of knowledge are also vague. Even if one of the clues was accurate and really helpful, there may also
be doubt on behalf of the other person who may be thinking well they had five clues and by the law of averages it shouldn’t be too hard to get at least one of them right!

‘As we walk through the market, we see the sign ‘bathshop.com’ across the main street.
   ‘Didn’t you have bath?’ asks one of the girls. Well, yes I did! Actually when the thought ‘bath’ came to mind, I initially dismissed it, after all Bath was a city in the south-west and my wife comes from a town near there. But we were told to write down whatever comes, however strange. So maybe Bath has significance after all? My pulse quickens…
   As we stand outside, an elderly woman with a walking stick approaches and so Anna asks her:
   ‘Hi sorry to trouble you, but we are doing an alternative treasure hunt and wonder if you might be one of our clues?’
   We explain the Bath clue and she sees ‘walking stick’ on one of our lists…Anna asks if she would like prayer. She would.
   ‘On a scale of 0-10 how painful is it now?’
   ‘Oh, I would say a four.’
   Anna asks in Jesus name that the pain go.
   ‘How is it now?’
   ‘It’s better.’
   ‘On a scale of 0-10?’
   ‘Oh around a two.’
   ‘Can I pray for you again?’
   ‘Yes.’
   The same prayer and this time she says that the prayer has gone, though she showed little delight. We hand her a card from the church and as she left we wonder whether she was simply being polite.’ (Christianity, 33-34)

It is clear that connections are being forced here with a vague set of ideas drawn together which is open to interpretation. It is almost like a ‘choose your own adventure’ or fill in the ‘dot to dot’ method of receiving a word of knowledge. If we compare that with how the Lord directed Ananias, the command is definite and the instructions are not received as ‘clues’ ‘So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.’”(Acts 9:11-12) Although Ananias was concerned about Paul’s history, scripture doesn’t say that he got lost on the way or had to check his clues list! ‘And Ananias went his way and entered the house: and laying his hands on him he said. “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.’ (Acts 9:17-18)

Healing on the streets

In his article, Andy Peck quotes Alan Scott, the pastor from Causeway Vineyard Church, Alan Scott concerning how HOTS developed.

‘God has said, you reach people, I will build the church. As we were looking to connect with the community, one of our staff members who had been with us five years, Mark Marx, decided to develop a team on the streets every Saturday between 10am and 1pm in all weathers offering prayer to anyone who comes. Some times are more busy than others, but there would always be at least a dozen prayed for.’…HOTS is part of a number of weekend activities including reaching youngsters, treasure hunting and offering food to those who need it. HOTS has had a significant impact on many people’s lives locally: ‘We have seen 22 people report that cancer has gone in the last two years. We can’t know if these were all down to prayer, but rejoice with those who are now cancer free. Maybe 90% of those who come ask for prayer for healing, though of course sometimes the presenting problem is linked to other needs. One woman had a hand crippled with arthritis and asked for prayer. The woman praying for her felt led to ask about her sister, and discovered they hadn’t spoken for five years. As they prayed that there would be forgiveness, the hand opened up and was healed.’ (Christianity, 35)

Again it is commendable that people in significant numbers are moving out of church buildings and their comfort zones and are willing to pray for people on the streets and it appears as though some are getting healed. That is encouraging. However the gospel must be at the foundational core of ministry. The gospel is not simply praying for people to be healed and doing nice things for others because God loves you. Someone may be healed physically but if they are ignorant of how their sins are an offence to God and have neither repented nor even heard the gospel, their soul is still in grave danger! The same often applies in men-pleasing sermons. One may preach about the great kindness and compassion of Jesus in healing someone and how we should do likewise in praying in His name for others, but if the essential message of the sinful state of the human heart and the need for salvation and God’s provision of a Saviour is swept under the carpet then that is not true preaching at all!

Whilst some of these activities may well open up the opportunity to share the good news, give out tracts or invite others to church where they will hopefully hear the good news being preached, unless they hear the good news, in the long run they are no better or worse than before. Remember Jesus said to Zacchaeus “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”(Luke 19:9-10)

Peck reports on the growth of this phenomenon.

‘Other churches have heard of Causeway’s approach and there are 640 churches and groups now engaging with HOTS in 21 nations: 325 in the UK, 201 of which have an active weekly ministry. When you bear in mind that the group in Newcastle represents 40 churches, but is counted just once, that indicates a massive expansion.’ (Christianity, 36)

Prophetic Evangelism

According to Peck ‘Alongside HOTS and Treasure Hunting comes prophetic evangelism, a variation on Treasure Hunting. Here the prophetic word comes as you prayer walk around the area. Biblical examples include Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, and Nathaniel under the fig tree.
   It’s not a new approach. Smith Wigglesworth, the Yorkshire evangelist famed for his unorthodox approach, would go looking for the lost in the markets when he wasn’t ministering in conferences and revivals. He would wait in the market, even all morning and into the afternoon, until he saw the person that the Lord intended him to reach with the gospel.’(Christianity, 36)

For the sake of argument, if the above is what Peck describes as ‘prophetic evangelism’ then prophetic evangelism is not a variation on Treasure Hunting. Firstly the emphasis is focussed on the gospel, not on healing. Healing is biblical and the God of the Bible is Yahweh-Rapha ‘The Lord who heals’ (Exod. 15:26) though obviously the peril of losing a soul is even more important than losing physical life. Peck refers to scripture here in relation to prophetic evangelism, though no scripture is offered in support of Treasure Hunting, because it isn’t biblical. N
otice Wigglesworth’s approach doesn’t really resemble HOTS or Treasure Hunting. Though Wigglesworth was also unconventional, the methods are different. Other than that, the only noticeable similarity is actively going into the streets to minister to the un-saved. Wigglesworth waits patiently for the Lord, while others write a list and after praying with a pre-assumed list of categories, write the first thoughts that come into their heads without apparently any further thought and try to create scenarios that correspond with their lists that are often questionable.

God may bless an individual with a spiritual gift ‘but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.’ (1 Cor. 12:11). Therefore gifts of the spirit cannot be turned on and off like a tap or like a super power, since the Holy Spirit enables these gifts to function in the way that He desires so they cannot be expected to be delivered on demand. Someone may receive a word of knowledge and encourage another in a specific and godly way. Nevertheless caution should be exercised when someone is reported to be ‘moving in the prophetic’ and is invited to give words in a meeting often for numerous people within the space of ten minutes. Sometimes they are just stating general names and medical conditions and seem to be unaware that they may have to wait on the Lord instead of praying and then assuming whatever name or condition pops into their mind is a direct word from the Lord!

Peck also quotes an Anglican curate who recounts his experience of ‘prophetic evangelism’. Look at the difference here in both the approach and focus…

‘I became a Christian through Alpha in a church (St Paul’s Onslow Square) in 1995 which taught us to expect that God would be involved in a remarkable way in our lives. So seeing people touched by God in some way ‘outside’ the church is something I have always looked for and been involved with. I am by no means an expert, but just lately I have been taking people from our church one at a time and walking around our town praying silently for people and asking God to be involved and give us prophetic words if that’s his desire. Recently I went with a young guy who had a clear sense that he should approach a woman who he believed was distressed. It turned out she had lost her faith. She was facing a major trauma and had been searching for God and was bowled over that he had sent us to chat with her. She’s now back in church aware of God’s love again.’ (Christianity, 36)

A word of knowledge is not assumed but is asked for if that is the Lord’s desire. A woman is approached and it appears she is distressed so a young chap speaks to her and she is really helped and encouraged that two men stop to talk to her and possibly provide the reassurance that she needs. God can bring people to minister specifically into situations at just the right time. Whilst it is not possible to lose faith since it is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8), God was providing for her needs through others willing to be used by Him and for His purposes.

How to reach people on the streets in a biblical way

The question is often asked, how can we reach the unsaved in a biblical way in postmodern society? Or how would the apostles minister in an environment entrenched in cultural relativism where the recipients are often destitute of biblical knowledge?

The short answer is to preach the gospel ‘for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). In the book of Acts, Paul’s commission was to ‘bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15). The essential truths of the gospel were the same, though the approach he used with various people groups differed. With the Jewish people, Paul entered the synagogues and proved from the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22). They were familiar with the Old Testament so Paul could show them the many instances where the Lord Jesus fulfilled prophecy and that Jesus is the Messiah. With individuals that are aware of some of what the bible teaches but do not believe, it is necessary to use the law to expose sin and demonstrate that everyone has broken God’s commandments. Because God is holy and righteous and just as well as loving and gracious, everyone needs to repent and have their sins forgiven and must trust, believe, follow and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

With people that have little awareness of what the gospel is, one needs to start further back. In Athens, when engaging with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, Paul started with the theme of creation, the common origin of mankind and God’s sovereignty in sustaining life before the commandment to repent, the coming judgement and the assurance of the resurrection of Christ.

On the street, this will probably require either open air preaching, possibly giving out tracts or engaging in conversations. It is advisable when witnessing to build bridges rather than walls. Initially it is helpful to establish something in common or use a question to draw someone’s interest. Nonetheless it is inevitable that the gospel will cause an offence since the Bible teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). John Wesley was of the opinion that people either got angry or converted.  Often we encounter some who are full of apathy or indifference, though when it is explained that they have missed the mark and fallen short of God’s standards and that there is a day of judgement appointed, then there is little room for sitting on the fence!

What about praying for healing?

Praying for healing is biblical and still relevant for today though it should not be a substitute or be given greater emphasis than preaching the gospel. Even if someone was healed physically, if they do not know the Lord Jesus then in the grand scheme of things they are no better of then before they needed healing. For what will it profit a man if He gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?’ (Mark 8:36).

By all means and as the Lord leads, pray for healing, especially if there is an obvious need, or if it requested. Though HOTS may be a gentle and non-confrontational method of trying to reach non-believers, the requirement to be healed is being put in place of the requirement to meet the Lord’s holy standards. Furthermore someone may not be healed and may decide to ‘blame God’ if they are not healed.  Though God is omnipotent, healing is not guaranteed or maybe granted according to the Lord’s perfect timing (John 9:1-2). If it appears as though someone has been healed, it makes every sense to have that confirmed by a medical doctor. That will avoid the issues related to those who are promised healing and become so enthusiastic that they experience a rush of adrenaline and at times the pain can be masked only to feel the original symptoms return the following morning. More encouragingly, if a person is healed and the doctors confirm a clean bill of health, it provides a credible testimony that has integrity.

Nevertheless some overemphasize healing, making it the be all and end all whereas others neglect to pray for individuals practical needs.  However in the same way that emotions support but should not override reason, physical healing can point to the Lord’s goodness and sovereignty but should not supersede its importance. We should not desire spiritual gifts above the Giver or desire healing above knowing the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Great Physician Himself. Lastly there are also some who would also do well to pray more often and  in faith that if it is the Lord’s will that he would heal others that that they know who need healing.&
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Conclusion

It is commendable that there are those who are willing to give of their time, outside church walls and minister specifically to other’s needs.  The question remains however, are those people’s greatest needs being met? In the case of HOTS and particularly Treasure Hunting, there is a strong argument to suggest that the emphasis of unconventional and non-confrontational methods frequently compromise the essential gospel message. 

Whilst those involved in HOTS and Treasure Hunting are attempting to help others by using contemporary methods in today’s world, the question must be asked, are those methods biblical? Concerning Treasure Hunting, some of the methods employed to obtain a word of knowledge are clearly not. Having prepared a list of categories with which to fill in the blanks and assuming that whatever pops into the mind is a ‘clue’ from God because it is requested from Him is a means of ‘forcing a word of knowledge’. One shouldn’t be afraid of stating the obvious and it is possible that the first thought that pops into someone’s mind could be random nonsense! It is also possible that God may not give an individual a word of knowledge at a certain time. If someone says well I’ve prayed for God to put the next thought that comes into my mind to be used as a word of knowledge and I’ll go with that because it must be from God, then that is a means of trying to manipulate God’s gifts regardless of the motive involved.  

This is the opposite of patiently waiting on the Lord. Waiting on the Lord does not mean ‘soaking time’ or slumping on a chair and waiting for the Eureka moment. Waiting on the Lord does involve meditating on God and His word by actively praying, encouraging oneself or others with Scripture and seeking the Lord’s will concerning a matter and asking Him to reveal His will in the way that He desires in the course of His timing!  

We must be directed and led by the Holy Spirit in these matters.  In either Treasure Hunting or in a meeting, when someone at the front is calling the shots and seems to have a word of knowledge for every man and his wife, we should weigh up whether what is being said is relevant, true or biblical and whether the means that the word is ascertained follows biblical guidelines (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1).

What would be encouraging would be to see more Christians either preaching or directly involved in gospel ministry on the streets by clearly presenting and explaining the good news in a straightforward and uncompromising manner; and, at the same time, others supporting these ministries to reach out to individuals, as individuals, through prayer and applying the scriptures to help and, more importantly, for God’s glory.     

References

Healing on the Streets    Causeway Coast Vineyard http://www.causewaycoastvineyard.com/coleraine/get-involved/healing-on-the-streets   

About Treasure Hunts   Bethel   http://www.ibethel.org/treasure-hunts

Andy Peck ‘The New Street Preachers’ (Christianity: Jan 2010), 32-37.

Postscript

Email response from Julie Fox:

I think this is a very negative review ‘Treasure hunting’.  Instead of HOTS the author advocates preaching on the streets – I can’t think of anything more off putting than someone shouting about Jesus loves you, he died for your sins, over a megaphone.  If you look at street preachers there’s very rarely anyone listening.   Even when I walk by a street preacher as a Christian I cringe.   This HOTS method works well in getting people’s attention gently and using any Christian that is willing to step out of the boat.   The Christians doing this aren’t pushy but very gracious to those they think might be on their clues.

When people are healed then the people at Bedford nearly always share the gospel, -I’ve been out with them.  And, I don’t believe the listening to the Lord beforehand is spiritual cluedo.   People pray and listen before they go out, but they also prepare themselves and listen before even going to the outreach day.  Even Jesus must have had to listen to the Father for information about the woman at the well, and how did He know there was going to be a man carrying a water jar as His disciples entered the city who would lead them to the upper room so they could prepare the passover seder.   He must have prayed and asked the Father for information about where to have Passover, and He must have asked how His disciples how they would find the place, and having asked about that and found that a man was the key to finding the location, He must have asked His Father where His disciples would meet him, for distinguishing features – like the man would be carrying water, and what He should tell His disciples.  That seems extremely like the treasure hunt principles to me.

Regarding words of knowledge, I do not believe from Scripture that people possess this gift or any of the gifts as their own.  It is given as they have the need.  Even amongst the disciples we see that sometimes they operated in gifts of healing, sometimes words of knowledge, sometimes miracles, sometimes discernment.     It is no different.   Someone might major in a  gift more than another, but it is possible for any Christian filled with the Spirit to operate in any of the gifts as it is the same Holy Spirit, the Giver of all the gifts that lives inside them.   It’s not much use having a gift of discernment in the church if on that occasion you need a gift of faith to believe for the impossible, or gift of interpretation when someone needs to be healed.

Yes mistakes with HOts are made but then saying the wrong thing in street preaching can be just as bad, and even switch people off listening to the gospel for good. I do not believe the Gospel is compromised by ‘Treasure hunters’, because Treasure Hunters are just as keen to share the gospel as anyone doing any other method of evangelism.  I feel the author ought to have given the Hunting method more than one or two goes.   It is just amazing when a stranger sees their name on the treasure hunters ‘map’, together their description, distinguishing featurs, their affliction – then they get healed and then they are told the gospel.  One story I heard of was a young man in Bedford was stopped and asked if the hunters clues fitted him.  Yes, all they did, right location, right personal description, right name I believe…. it all matched.  So too did the fact that he had a sports injury and that had effected his shoulder really badly.  The Hunters offered to pray for him and because all the clues were right he was open to have these strangers pray for him.  They commanded the shoulder to be healed in Jesus’ name.   They then asked him to try it out.  First time there was only slight improvement.  They repeated the process 5 times and finally he moved his arm and shoulder and was amazed, and as they had prayed in Jesus’ Name and not hidden the Lord’s name in the prayer time, the chap realising he was healed waved his arm in the air and looking up to heaven thanked God and asked what do You want of me Lord?  He now had the impression that God was definitely on his case and said so. Because of all that had happened they shared the gospel with him.  It seems very unlikely to me that he would have been open to stop listen to someone preaching a rant about Jesus on the street.  Young people just aren’t interested unless you get their attention first.  This seems a really effective way.  It would be interesting to find some statistics about how many are converted by street preachers and how many have been converted by Treasure Hunts.   I believe having seen it and been involved that the scales are firmly tipped in the Treasure hunting direction, and I would encourage people to try it out.  The Bedford church have had a number of people come to faith and join the church because of it. It works.

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