Why These Street Evangelists Paused to Straighten Out Their Theology

The Gospel Coalition | 9/18/2018 | Staff
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When Cristobal Cerón was 14 years old, his parents got invited to a marriage retreat at an Anglican church near where they lived in Chile.

The Ceróns were Catholic, but only nominally, and so they went. They “got to know what Christianity was,” Cerón said. “The Anglican church served as a bridge for me toward the gospel. . . . The pastor opened the Bible in a way that I could understand it.”

Cerón - Pastor - Evangelism - Days - Cerón

Cerón’s new pastor was enthusiastic about evangelism. “I was very much influenced by him in those days,” Cerón said. “I started leading young guys in evangelism and short-term mission trips to different parts of the country.”

In 2003, Cerón and some friends led about 60 young people through a week of outreach in Santiago. They did Bible lessons together in the morning, then spread out in the afternoon to do street preaching, act out dramatic plays, and pass out tracts to people at train stations and stopped at red lights.

Cerón - Mobilization - Outreach - Urbana - MOU

Cerón named it Mobilization Outreach Urbana (MOU). Over the next seven years, it expanded rapidly.

“Other churches joined us,” said Alfred Cooper, Cerón’s pastor. “People in other places wanted to do it. It began to take on national proportions.”

Growth - Country - Percent - People - Protestant

The growth was fast, especially in a country where less than 20 percent of the people are Protestant. By 2010, almost 2,200 young missionaries were evangelizing in 21 cities and suburbs.

“It was amazing to us,” Cerón said. “It was a miracle.”

Evangelists - Shirts—a - Nod - Light - Christ—and

He outfitted his evangelists in conspicuous bright yellow shirts—a nod to the light of Christ—and peppered the cities with them. They’d appear on the streets for a week every July, connecting with as many people as they could.

People started to recognize the shirts and the movement. MOU was catching national, and even a little international, attention.

Year - Cerón

But the next year, Cerón almost shut it down.

“There...
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