As I(Jonathan) was leaving an ASU game I once had a guy scream in my face, “You’re Lost, you’re going to HELL!!!!” He had a huge sign with a list of sins(liars, fornicators, Hip-Hoppers, feminists, dancers, ect.) and he would say this to as many people as he could. I thought to myself this guys is doing more harm then good. I’m sure we’ve all had a face to face encounter with a “Hell Fire/Sign Guy Street Preacher.”
Sign Guys come in all shapes and sizes. Their message mainly consists of judgments, insults and condemnation–with no clear explanation of the gospel. We call it a “condemnation without cause message.” (thanks to Steve at stonethepreacher.com, he was a big help in me understanding more about this issue) This is a problem because unbelievers who walk by have no idea why they should stop sinning, why God will judge them in Hell, and why Jesus died for them.
This is why we use the LAW when we preach. We include in that illustrations, stories, parables, or just common sense to break down the “whys” of christianity. Why did Jesus die? Why does God send people to Hell? Why should i stop sinning?
Most sign guys are not very relational or approachable therefore the only way to get the message across is to hold a sign or scream insults at every passer-by in order to get attention. The bottom line is the gospel is offensive enough, therefore our presentation should be careful not to add to that. We must be loving, faithful, bold & creative witnesses and his is no easy job for a street preacher.
…P.S We do use signs! (Ex. see bellow)You can certainly use signs to your advantage. We use trivia signs to draw in a crowd, a 10 commandments sign for people to look on with when we share the gospel, etc,. As long as you are approachable and your signs are not confusing or condemning, signs are a good thing:)