For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Door Knocking - Home to Home Visiting

One day I was visiting in a First Nations community. For some, knocking on doors and sharing the Gospel with people on their doorsteps is an unnerving experience and so they refrain from doing it. It's not their thing. For others, they feel the activity is an unwarranted and unwelcomed intrusion into the personal space of others. Some shy away from it because they feel the community is sick and tired of nuisance knocking. Even more say: "Well, we don't want to be mistaken for JW's or Mormons who seem to be the two groups carrying false doctrines who engage in this activity regularly." And of course there are the uppity believers who just feel it is beneath the dignity of the Gospel message to resort to such a tacky approach of spreading the Gospel.

Well, as I started to write, one day I was visiting in a First Nations community. I had never been there before. One woman exclaimed to me: "I have lived in this community for over fifteen years. We are raising our children here and you are the first person with the truth to ever knock on our door. The Mormons have been here and so have the JW's (Russellites) but never has anyone been here with the truth. Thank you for doing this." Interestingly, this woman had recently discovered the truth reading a Bible and was thrilled to know her sins forgiven.

How many homes up and down the roads of your countryside would say the same thing - if they actually knew what the truth was? How many houses in your neighborhood or your city see the propagators of totally non-Biblical teaching at their door but rarely, if ever, has anyone been there with the truth? 

Some practical suggestions if you are thinking about knocking on some doors:

1. Before venturing out into the community, pray about it and ask the Lord to protect you and help you to find favor with the people and equip you with wisdom and suitable words. Ask Him to give you a greater love for souls and to see every person as a prospect for the Gospel.

2. Don't look like the regular door-knockers. Dress casually and in a style that is in keeping with the type of neighborhood you are visiting but always modestly.

3. Not all will agree with this, but one person on a doorstep is far less intimidating than two. If you feel you should work as a pair - then work together on the same street. The downside of solo-knocking is, you should be extremely cautious about entering a home if you are invited in. If you enter inside and the person accuses you of something - it is your word against theirs - and you were on their property. I avoid it - especially with members of the opposite sex. I sometimes make exceptions for dear little old ladies. But always, always make sure they invited you in. Never say: "Could I step in for a minute?"

Two people on doorsteps most often results in more refusals and greater suspicion and reluctance to even take Gospel material. A couple of reasons: the person feels outnumbered and is immediately on guard. And another reason is - JW's and Mormons go in two's.

4. Don't invade their personal space. Knock on their door and then step back.

5. Have very low expectations for immediate results that day but very high confidence in what the Holy Spirit is able to do behind closed doors long after you leave their doorstep. Expect refusals. Expect people to be blunt or impatient with you. And then when they are not that way - you will be pleasantly surprised! Even if they just connect your polite, non-pushy and non-buggy approach and your smiling face with the truth you left in their hands - consider that a real success. You may not have been there for longer than 20 seconds but if a positive impression was made - awesome! Even if they return to their kitchen and say to themselves: "That guy was alot different than the regular door-knockers who always try to push their way into the house. He just gave me this paper or DVD and Bible verse text and with a peaceful smile on his face, he left. I'm sure he would have told me what he believed had I asked him. But he was polite and non-aggressive and I like that."

Don't feel like you have to have a big preach at their door. Try to be relaxed and be careful not to sound like someone handed you a script to say at the door. It could be as relaxed as: "Hey, how are ya doin? Don't worry, I'm not coming in for coffee. I'm Kendall Watson and I hope I'm not making a nuisance of myself but I'm out getting some physical exercise and just dropping off some Bible stuff for you."  If you are also giving out invitations, you could adjust your little intro by saying: ".......I'm Kendall Watson and I'm just giving you an invitation to a community event our church is having this month."

6. If you have a business card to identify yourself - give it to them as you are introducing yourself. You can say as you are passing them your card: "I'm this guy here." People like to see some identification.

7. If you have your personal story in writing, it will, nearly always - 99% of the time - be accepted, even if other material is rejected.

8. Don't engage in an argument. Always be courteous, gentle and kind. Never be aggressive and never sarcastic. It is far better to apologize for interrupting their day by knocking on their door than to stand there assertively and try to score a point. It is far better to be seen as self-deprecating, gracious and somewhat humble than cocky, abrasive, arrogant and know-it-ally. Don't feel you have to leave with a stinging rebuttal or retort.

9. Don't stand in their driveway or on the sidewalk in front of their home making a note to yourself about the reception you just received.

10. If you ever encounter someone who tells you how bad life is - don't be afraid to say to them: "Just before I leave, would you like me to say a little prayer with you?" How many people have ever said to that person "I'll be praying for you." or "Would you like me to pray with you?"

11. Don't feel like you have to work at it for hours. Even 45 minutes is great! There is a danger of setting too high of an expectation for yourself and then you become discouraged. Visit in an area you feel comfortable visiting in. For example, I don't like visiting in high income areas. So usually I don't - I find a low-income area. I am comfortable there. It's better than not visiting at all.

Any more suggestions based on your experience? Add them in the comment section.


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