Sam Bethea is no stranger to what can happen on the streets in Charlotte. Before turning his life around, Bethea was in and out of jail 29 times. Now, though, he spends his time differently: he uses it to share the Gospel.
“Most people think of me as a street preacher, but I’m really not preaching on the streets, so to say,” Bethea said during an interview last year with podcaster Tiffani Lewis. “I’m more so declaring and proclaiming a simple message: Jesus loves you, Jesus saves. The King is coming. John 3:16. Something simple, because of the rat race that we live in.”
“I like to say what I do is street evangelism, street ministry,” he added.
But not everyone is receptive to what Bethea has to say. That became overwhelmingly clear earlier this week, when he was attacked by angry protesters gathered to oppose the Republican National Convention, parts of which were held in Charlotte.
As he was proclaiming his simple message — “Jesus loves you” — protesters began dousing Bethea in flour, glitter, oil, and silly string, ridiculing him for sharing the Gospel amid the racially charged unrest over the RNC.
Despite the attacks, Bethea continued.
“I do it because God called me to the streets,” he explained to WSOC-TV.
Bethea said he has shown up for every single demonstration in uptown Charlotte over the past six years, since he began spreading His faith-filled message on the streets.
On Monday, though, some people argued sharing the Gospel during a protest against the Trump administration is nothing more than a distraction.
“You’re taking away from the message,” one protester could be heard saying during a live-stream video of the events.
Holding up the clothes he wore Monday night, Bethea told the local news outlet, “It’s got flour, it’s got soda, it’s got juice. As you can see, they flour-bombed me. Throwing glitter in my eyes. I just thank God that it didn’t get in my eyes.”
The street evangelist went on to say he has no plans, however, to stop sharing the Gospel on the streets of Charlotte.
“They have a right to say what they want to say, within the bounds of the law, just as I do,” Bethea added.
North Carolina resident Regina Serrapica is asking people to pray for and support Bethea as he continues to minister to those around the city.
In a Facebook post earlier this week, she wrote, “Lord, wrap Your arms around Sam. Help him stay strong. We thank you for his courage, his commitment to You! May he remain unshaken by the outside forces, and renewed daily by Your presence and Your power. Amen!”