Prentiss special town to street preacher

Published 7:25 am Friday, March 7, 2014

If you have been down main street in Prentiss over the last week an uncommon sight for our fair town has probably greeted you. Don’t be alarmed. This sign carrying, large cross wearing man is not a cult member here to scare our citizens out of hell and into heaven, though that might not be a bad idea at times. He is an ordained minister who has a message of peace and love for citizens of our area.

Commonly known as a “street preacher” Duane Lyons’ message is not proclaimed with loud exhortations but conveyed by his highly visible sign that reads simply, “Jesus Saves.” The oversized cross he wears was made for him by a blind man and his eye-catching fluorescent T-shirt echoes the same message.

Shirley Burnham / —“Street Preacher” Duane Lyons has spread the message of Jesus Saves throughout most states and in 69 countries

Shirley Burnham / —“Street Preacher” Duane Lyons has spread the message of Jesus Saves throughout most states and in 69 countries

Lyons’ warm smile and nonconfrontational manner make him comfortably approachable and those who feel a need to tell their story find Lyons to be a good listener and are rewarded by encouraging words and the reminder of the love of God.

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He is not a stranger to Prentiss though it has been some 30 years since Lyons was here. In fact, he states Prentiss is dear to his heart since his parents, siblings and he were staying in town while working on a phase of the Georgia Pacific mill at a time when he was struggling with the call into the ministry. He felt he received a definite answer from God through a dream and made a commitment that changed the course of his life and has taken him over most states and into some 69 countries with his unique approach to presenting the gospel.

Though he left a well paying job to pursue his calling Lyons states he has never regretted his decision and the journey has not always been easy. He has been arrested 43 times although never convicted of a crime stating, “There is opposition out there. Jesus was not crowned king and given a Cadillac. He was hung on a cross—so I knew when I signed up there would be opposition.” He feels most well received in the Bible Belt but states, “Throughout the world I’ve found there are two types of people—those who know Jesus and those who don’t and I find them wherever I go.”

This man from a small Kentucky town has been to Israel nine times and once was able to explain his faith to a senior member of the Palestinian Executive Cabinet. At times his wife and six children have traveled with him and taken part in ministry but for the most part he travels alone spreading the word in small town America and other countries.

“Evangelism is like a diamond,” states Lyons. “It has many facets. I believe we need to express our faith with the talents and personalities God has given us.”

“Jesus himself was a street preacher. The message I wish to convey is that Jesus Saves—the two most important words ever. There is a lot to go with it but I want to get that message across. It’s the start and finish of the Bible.”

Lyons says he plans to be in Prentiss until Friday and then will travel continuing to spread his unique witness wherever he goes.