Not all worship has to take place within the confines of an actual church building. Often times, some of the most inspiring acts take place out in the open. That’s why Giuseppe Collesano and the rest of Act Now Ministries take to the streets of Sicily and beyond to share the goodness of Christ with others. They head to local markets during the day with teams from other countries, such as the United States, who help him spread the word of God to those who may need a little spiritual guidance.
But there’s no pressure; only inspiration. “We like to solicit their interest about searching for truth,” says Giuseppe. “We present the word of Christ in a very tangible way.” They achieve that by encouraging visitors to read the Bible for themselves and make their own decisions about what they are reading. “I can tell you what is the truth but I’m not the truth. The truth is in the Bible.”
It’s this goal of empowerment that takes the “preach” out of Giuseppe’s approach and instead focuses on encouraging others to take charge of their own destinies. “When you are confronted with the truth of the Bible, you will know what to do,” he says. While Giuseppe and his team preach the word of God at their local church and marketplaces, they don’t stay confined to those areas. Sometimes, they venture a half hour away to surrounding markets to continue their mission.
In fact, they go beyond words to show through actions how to truly help others. On Saturday mornings, they work local warehouses where those in need can, thanks to vouchers from the local government, pick up the necessities they need for daily living. Shoes…clothing…and of course food. Just last month, Giuseppe loaded up his van with 20,000 pounds of clothing to deliver to the less fortunate. In addition, 6,000 pounds of food were distributed to the local food banks. “When you have nothing, something goes a long way,” says Giuseppe.
Preaching the word of God on the streets is an all-day affair. Offering open-air evangelism as part of its missionary work, Act Now Ministries sets up large displays with literature and Bibles in all different languages, from Italian to Romanian, so that everyone has a chance to read and understand the word of God. Those who want to take a Bible home to read it at their leisure can take one for free. There are even children’s coloring books for kids that explain the gospel at a level they can comprehend.
Outreach is a big part of Act Now Ministries’ efforts. With the help of international teams, Giuseppe obtains permits to occupy a major town square or busy marketplace area where they set up for the day’s work early in the morning. They are careful to choose neighborhoods where children and their families in particular tend to congregate so they can hold Vacation Bible School workshops and classes. Later in the afternoon and night, the target is adults. This is where Giuseppe and his team can use visual aids, bands, artists, and stories of life experiences to attract up to 2,000 people at a time.
“The Bible is open and the word of God is preached to the people,” says Giuseppe. He knows that a connection with Christ doesn’t just happen in a church building. “They don’t have to go to my church to be in church. The purpose is to present them with the truth and the truth is Jesus Christ.”