John Wesley preaches outdoors



After his heartwarming spiritual experience at a German prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in London on May 24, 1738, John Wesley was soon banned from preaching in most of the churches in London. The pastors did not want him telling their congregations that we are saved by faith, not good works. George Whitefield invited John to come and see what was going on in Bristol where Whitefield was preaching in the fields. Wesley was reluctant to preach outdoors. He thought it was tacky!

When John went to Bristol and saw what God was doing in this “field preaching” he accepted Whitefield’s invitation to preach the next Sunday. Wesley was moved by what he saw God doing in the lives of these poor, simple people who were not welcome in the local churches.

Being a High-Church minister, John Wesley consulted the lectionary to discover the assigned text for the Sunday he was to preach. The scriptural lesson for that Sunday was the Sermon on the Mount. Wesley commented, “Well, there is some precedence to this field preaching. Jesus Himself did it!”

Wesley preached that Sunday to 3,000 people from a pulpit placed on the hillside. They were poor people who had no church background. They listened gladly as Wesley told them of God’s love and transforming power. And the revival was on!