“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” –1 Corinthians 1:18
What do you say when a businessman gets saved by Jesus in his office because of the words of a preacher on the street — and the businessman becomes a street evangelist himself?
Or when a shopping centre security manager who has just ordered his staff to chase away an unwelcome street preacher, receives a word of knowledge from the preacher that so shifts his mindset that he invites the man to preach there whenever he wants and begs him to come back more often?
What do you say when two men in a beachfront pub put down their drinks because the words of a preacher on the street are getting to them — and they end up having an encounter with Jesus that changes the course of their lives?
What do you say about these — and many more — lives being transformed by Jesus as the preacher, Anthony Minter, obeys a divine call to proclaim the good news of Christ on the streets of East London daily?
Minter himself refers to these transformed people as “trophies of grace”.
He no doubt sees himself as a trophy of grace in Papa God’s great display cabinet.
He said preaching on the streets has been a lifestyle for him for decades, including 27 years in full-time church ministry and leading a church in East London.
New season of ministry
But he has definitely entered a new season of ministry now, shaped by brokenness. disappointment and grace, after he had an extra-marital affair, retired from church leadership and walked a road of restoration with the Lord and his wife Sherylene.
When the couple returned to East London five years ago after an “exile” time in Pietermaritzburg he started a garden service to earn money. Sometimes, as he was out on business, he would stop on a street corner, set up his portable PA system and share a message of hope with men on the street looking for casual work.
During this time he was frequently approached by people who recognised him as “that preacher” whose message had unexpectedly and radically impacted their lives years ago — in front of the city hall, at a shopping centre, on a street corner.
“I was in Cash Converters and a guy came over to me and said: ‘You are that preacher in the streets’
“I said: ‘Ja,’ and he said: ‘Why aren’t you in the streets any more?’
“I said: ‘Long story’ and he said: “Listen, you were at Shoprite Checkers in Amalinda. I was in the office. I heard this preacher and that got to me. I was saved. I am an evangelist. I have take on what you were doing; I’m in the township.’
“And I just thought: I am going back [to the streets] because the Lord is calling me,” said Minter.
He continued juggling his garden service and regular street preaching until a point about two years ago when “Sherylene released me and said: ‘Go. Do it full-time”.
Commenting on her husband’s new season of preaching on the streets Sherylene said the words he shared now were incredible and he flowed in prophecy. He was reaching people who were lost, back-slidden, broken, wounded and bitter — people who would never have gone to church but many of whom he now directed to local churches after they came to Christ.
Anthony said God has impressed on him the scriptures in which Jesus says the harvest is ripe and the workers are few, and that we (believers) are the light of the world…. a city on a hill…
“You are the light when you are showing people what the Father is like, because you are following after His love. And that’s what it’s all about — His love. People know you love them when you come to them where they are. So let your light shine.”
Jesus ministry model
He said with the help of the Holy Spirit he follows a ministry model that Jesus demonstrated — find the man of peace in an area, and only do what your Father God is doing. Currently the Lord has opened about 10 places in East London where he is able to preach freely.
Each day he sets out on his motorbike to the place where God directs him and there he usually sets up his PA system, plays music, and shares a message from the Bible that God has given him for that day.
In the time I spent with Anthony he shared many testimonies of salvations and miraculous healings reminiscent of the accounts of the apostles in the Book of Acts.
Like the story of a lady with painful ulcers that doctors were unable to treat, who approached him at a shopping centre and asked if Jesus could heal her. He prayed for her and the power of God moved on her and she said the pain left at once. She then asked him to pray for her to have a baby — something she and her husband had been trying for unsuccessfully for 10 years. He prayed. Three months later he saw her again — she was pregnant and free of ulcers.
Another time he was praying outside some shops in Gonubie where he believed God had led him. The wind was blowing fiercely and it seemed no people were around as he preached on “let your light shine” and the wonderful love of the Father. He felt he had “missed it”, but as he spoke to a woman in a pet shop whose head had popped out of the door as he preached, a woman from a neighbouring apartment approached him and said her daughter wanted to speak to him.
Streams of light
The daughter told Anthony that she had lost all hope and had planned to hang herself that day. She had told God that she was giving him one last chance, asking Him — if He was real — to show himself. Then as Anthony preached outside, light streamed into the apartment and she knew his message was for her. She was saved that day.
Another of Anthony’s testimonies shed new light on an amazing story I reported on in Gateway News last year about a young student, Carlos Padilla, from the ministry school at Bethel Church in Redding, California, who was struck by a car during a street outreach. I reported how, as the concerned driver of the car bent over Carlos, who lay on the road with his leg broken, the ministry student led the motorist to Jesus. Carlos went on to be used by God to minister healing and salvation to many people during his hospital stay. He also got to baptise the driver of the car and members of his family.
Anthony told me that he was the team leader of that street outreach and that as he saw the accident unfold he was horrified and felt responsible for the disaster. But then he heard the Lord saying: ”Relax, I’ve got this.”
He said while Carlos was being admitted to hospital, he and the Bethel students on the outreach ministered to people in the hospital foyer. “People were getting saved, getting baptised in the Holy Spirt, getting healed and I said: ‘OK Lord, you’ve got it.’ ”
Another time Anthony was asked to pray for the dying friend of a restaurant owner. He prayed as he sensed the Holy Spirit instruct him, in his mind taking the sick man before the Lord’s throne of grace to make peace with Him. The restaurant owner’s sister was there as he prayed for the man’s salvation and healing. By faith, he believes the man was saved, but he died and Anthony thought he had messed up. But the family asked him to conduct the man’s funeral and most of the people at the funeral got saved, he said.
Anthony shared a number of other testimonies of “trophies of grace” as he preached on the streets according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I am sure that as a number of weeks have passed since we chatted over a meal in East London that there have been more trophies.
As Anthony observed during our conversation: “God is a good father who wants to do good things if you will trust Him.”