Every Tuesday night a small, but faithful, group meets at my church and heads into the surrounding neighborhoods to knock on doors, and share the Gospel message with anyone who is willing to listen. We are strategic as to where we go and have a systematic plan to share the Gospel with the entire city of Gladstone. If someone is not home, or does not have time to talk, we leave a Gospel tract behind.
This small group, from a church of over 1,000 usually numbers around 5 people.
Over the years I have worked with several other churches and their door to door teams and have found a similar turnout. Churches of hundreds will send out just a handful of people. In fact, I went to work with one church recently and found myself as the only person.
This type of outreach has obviously fallen out of vogue, and there seems to be little evidence that the church has any plans of picking back up on aggressive intentional evangelism.
So… why do we bother?
Why go where you are not welcome, on behalf of people who don’t care if you go? Why put yourself in position to be considered crazy by both the saved and the unsaved? Why put so much effort into a ministry that sometimes appears to bear little fruit?
The answer may not be what you think?
Of course, I could easily say that we are called to so and end the answer. There is no question that we are to evangelize, and anyone trying to make an argument otherwise does not put much stock into Scripture. It would be right to simply copy and paste the Great Commission and call it a day, but that wouldn’t be a full answer. In fact, that wouldn’t even be a good answer.
I have been told countless times that door to door evangelism is not the only way to evangelize. That evangelism doesn’t just happen on Tuesday night, and I 100% agree with this statement. Evangelism should be far greater than a single day of the week outreach. Evangelism should be a day in day out lifestyle for the believer. Everything we do should have the Gospel as a backdrop.
The idea that evangelism is bigger than a weekly door to door visit, though, is why I think door to door is vital in church ministry, and all Christians should be involved. It is this weekly commitment that makes the rest of the lifestyle come into place.
Before we explore that idea let’s look at this concept in a different arena of life. Health.
When most people decide that they want to live a healthy lifestyle they either join a gym or signup for some sort of class at the gym. The few who don’t will mark on their calendars time that they plan to work out. If they have a weekly Zumba class (for example) most will understand that this once a week class does not a healthy lifestyle make. They must do more than work out once a week in order to be healthy. This once a week class is vital though. Because of this one class, the rest of the time works around that priority. Food choices are made differently because of that once a week class. Other exercise is done because of that class. People may even park their cars further from the store door because of that class. In short, that 1 hour class helps to keep the focus through the entire week. That one hour out of 168 during the week has a drastic impact on who the person is.
Door to door evangelism works in much the same way. Through the weekly commitment to be in intentional evangelism the person is changed throughout the entire week. Evangelism becomes easier, and almost second nature. It becomes what the person is all about.
That one hour commitment changes the prayer life, the devotional life, the worship life and the evangelistic life of the person who commits to doing it. The entire person, and their priorities, begins to move more in line with God’s will and His commandment in the Great Commission.
There is nothing wrong with lifestyle evangelism. In fact, that is exactly what we need to be doing. In order to do this effectively, though, we must return to the days where aggressive, intentional evangelism is promoted widely in the church. We must get people working in a strategic way together in order to get the Gospel out into the community.
Only then will the members of the church lifestyles change in a way that makes lifestyle evangelism possible. If there is not an intentional plan of evangelism, it will not happen. If we are not sharing the Gospel as a strategic group, then the odds of sharing it over the fence or with our friends decreases.
Why do we do door to door? Because just like one goes to a gym to focus on their lifestyle goals, we to want to focus ours. I want God’s Commission to be my heart, and in order to do so I must make sure that I am focused on that. Door to door keeps the focus.
Of course, while doing so when run into people who may never have heard the Gospel otherwise. We bring a message of life to those who are perishing.
When was the last time you shared the Gospel with someone? Put it on your calendar today. If your church does not have a door to door team, it is time to start one. If you do not know how I would love to help you begin one. If your church has one, it is time to join in.
J. W. Willard