Clap, Clap, Clap, "This will make the dog leave us alone." This was trick the pastor of a church meeting in our building was telling me would help keep a very large, very scary, very loud dog from jumping all over us the minute we walked through the gate. At the moment we pensively walked through the gate I certainly hoped this trick, which he learned on the mission field would actually work. We lived through this one without a scratch, and a couple of thousands other doors as a major attempt to reachour neighbors with the gospel of Christ.
Some have said that knocking on doors is not the way you reach people for Christ anymore. Though I would agree it is not as effective as personal relationships, in some churches people may not yet have personal relationships with people outside their church context. Thus, knocking on doors is perhaps the first step in getting out into your community. Here are 4 simple ways that knocking on doors can be more effective:
- Bring a gift- In the thousands of doors we knocked on - which by the way I have seen be a major component in the turnaround of a dying church - we never failed to bring a gift to the door. One suggestion is a coffee mug with the churches information attractively put on it, another would be a ruler. You may think of something else. The key to the gift is two-fold: first, you want it to be really nice for the person getting it. Second, you want the person to have something from the church that they can keep. This will be a constant reminder of the church down the street who stopped by just to take time to care. Also, if possible, in the gift make sure the gospel is somehow shared. For example, the gospel of John or a gospel tract. Texas Baptist Evangelism can make sure you have the right tract.
- Have an event- When you go by someone's home to invite them to church, for that person it may be a huge step. They may not yet be to the point of coming to a church. If you invite them to an event, maybe a "trunk or treat," a "block party," a "fall festival," or whatever that might be it will open a door of opportunity they may be ready to walk through.
- Do not play "20 Questions"- I love the game "20 Questions," and I have a 4 year old so questions are a HUGE part of my life. Yet understand this, people in your community are not interested in you asking a bunch of questions. One question we will see in our next component is how can we pray for you? This should be the only question you ask at the door, unless God opens the door for you to have a strong witness. Remember, you have just knocked on the door of these people, they are already a little leery of you anyways, so do not have a clip board and delve into lots of questions. Remember, in the gift referenced above you have already placed a way for people to know the gospel.
- Pray- This one may seem obvious, but it so key so please, do not overlook it. Two things are key in prayer: first, make sure you prayer walk the neighborhood before you begin knocking. This does a key thing in that it warms the neighborhood for your outreach. The second type of prayer that should be done is asking people how you can pray for them, and making sure you take time to follow up on that. In a future blog we will talk about several ways to make this effective.
- Get training- Two different areas of the Texas Baptists can offer training in this area, the office of Urban Missions can offer the Community Missionary training, this helps people prepare themselves as missionaries. The training also includes evangelism training. Other trainings are offered through the Missions Mobilization team, which can help your church get "on mission" in your community in world. Recently, I saw a church that came back from a short-term missions experience which encouraged them to get out in their own community. Second, Texas Baptist Evangelism can be a huge help in this. They offer several trainings, one of which is the 4x4 training which will help your people begin developing relationships. We see this as one of the most effective ways to do evangelism.
In conclusion, do not be afraid of getting out in your community. With both prayer and proper technique door-to-door evangelism can still be one of the tools you use in reaching your community for Christ.