If you’ve been around uptown Charlotte, you’ve probably heard a loud booming voice proclaiming “JESUS SAVES!” and “JESUS LOVES YOU!” Well, that voice is that of Sam Bethea. Sam Bethea is Charlotte’s most famous street preacher, who has frequented the heart of uptown Charlotte at the corner of Trade & Tryon for the past 6 years. Above all the hustle and bustle and noise on the street, Sam lifts up his voice to share the gospel to all who can hear. Without any amplification, Sam is able to be heard several city blocks away.
I’ve seen Sam briefly on the news and heard of his witness from friends. Intrigued, I decided I just had to know more about Sam’s back story. In today’s podcast, I sit down with Sam Bethea to talk at length about his fascinating life. He shares about how he came to know the Lord and to talk about his street preaching ministry.
I think you will find Sam’s story fascinating. Sam tells the story of how he was in and out of jail 29 times before he was 26 years old. He was from a poor broken home, lived a hard life on the streets, and was one who used, grew, and sold drugs. Then one day while working at Walmart, a “68 year old white man told this young 26 year old black boy” about Jesus.
What I particularly love about this interview with Sam Bethea is his transparency. He talks openly about his past, his struggles as a Christian, as well as his brief marriage and subsequent divorce. Sam shares about how he came to have an infectious and warm love for other people. He also talks about the challenges and successes he’s experienced with his ministry. Sam also talks about the time he was assaulted by the “Black Hebrew Israelites“ in uptown Charlotte while preaching, a couple times when they pepper sprayed him, and shoved him into a fountain, resulting in a sprained ankle.