“How shall they hear without a preacher?”

In the year 1853, a Christian barrister called John MacGregor was going about his business in London. For some time he had been burdened with the spiritual needs of the people around him. How could they be reached with the gospel when so few of them ever attended a place of worship? One day he saw an open-air witness taking place with 2 or 3 gospel preachers sharing the message of the Saviour’s love with a small crowd who surrounded them.

John MacGreggorSomething stirred in the heart of John MacGregor. Here was the way to reach the careless multitudes through whom he passed every day. He waited until the meeting ended and spoke to the men involved. They agreed to meet for prayer about the whole matter and a few days later a prayer meeting took place somewhere in the Holborn area of London.

In that prayer meeting the work of The Open-Air Mission was born. That night John Macgregor wrote in his diary, “I see in this a small beginning of what may, yes will, be a great noble and blessed undertaking.” He could never have foreseen that the work would be continuing all these years later! What a testimony the Mission is to the greatness and faithfulness of God!

150th Anniversary Booklet

In 2003 to mark the Mission’s 150th Anniversary, Alan Greenbank (former General Secretary) wrote a record of the Mission’s history. The book entitled, ‘This is the Lord’s Doing’ can be downloaded here:




Download Booklet


(Please remember the booklet was written several years ago now, and the final chapter is no longer ‘up-to-date’!)

‘Go Ye’ – Archive footage of OAM at work during the late 1950s (no sound):

On the Beaten Track’ – Archive deputation film from the late 1950s (so sound):

Harvest Home’ – archive deputation film showing the work of OAM during the late 1950s (no sound):