Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Door to Door Evangelism Encounter

Read part one.

Don't try to convince yourself that door-to-door means "shoving it down people's throats," a sales pitch, or the enemy of evangelizing your circles of influence.   It doesn't. Door-to-door is sowing the seed on every single plot of ground, searching every square inch for the lost coin, sheep, and son, and making sure everyone has the opportunity to hear.  It isn't up to you at all to make it more interesting to people or to show them how cool it is.  The Bible says people already know how great it is or you wouldn't have a hope of any success ever.  No extra-scriptural strategy will make it any better for you if you want genuine conversions.  You can make it a ton better if you want mere professions.

Also don't try to convince yourself that door-to-door was the invention either of the Watchtower Society or of the 1-2-3-pray-with-me of Jack Hyles.  They did it or do it, so it's wrong, is a very bad argument.  You know that.  So is, other stuff works better.  Leaving your house and visiting other people is how everyone else besides you will hear the gospel.  My life is full of testimonies of preaching a true gospel door-to-door and people being saved.  I gave mini testimonies of two people in Monday's post.

Jesus did not command His disciples to go out and build relationships with lost people.  He didn't send out the seventy to go and make friends with the world.  Almost every person Jesus preached to was a stranger.  He didn't know Nicodemus.  He didn't know the woman at the well.  I'm sure He preached to people He knew, but in the best example of that, they planned to throw Him over a cliff in Nazareth.  This isn't some recent revelation.  It's easy to see that Jesus preached everywhere and to everyone and then the apostles followed that example.  When Paul went to a synagogue, he wasn't going there to become buddy-buddy with those people.  When he finally did arrive in Damascus, he had to leave over the wall in a basket.  We know this.  And we do have it better here in the United States than what they had it.

People want an easier way to preach, where when you're done, you go your merry way and everyone still likes each other.  I've found that I retain popularity where I don't preach.  If I deal with a person's soul, it most often ends with somebody wishing I wasn't there, and that is with me being as non-offensive as possible.

Other Christians talk like we don't know that people don't want to have someone visit their home. People don't want you to preach to them, period.  You can sit right next to someone at a fast food restaurant.  I mean almost on the person's lap.  You can smell his breath, he's so close.  You turn and offer only a gospel tract -- he rejects it.  I.  know.  that.

God told Isaiah to preach to people who didn't want to hear.  In Matthew 13, Jesus said He had a similar task.  We live in an age in America where we are very much closer to that situation. Many call it a post-Christian America.  I live in what is the most liberal and unchurched metropolitan area in the United States.  In many places here, people are hostile.  They can't kill me, yet.  They would rather kill me than a tree, a whale, or a bird.

We can see that Jesus does not intend for us to preach to people who don't want us.  If I could know that someone had heard the gospel and did not want it, before I got to him, I would leave him alone.  I don't want to talk to people who don't want to listen.  And yet I still go door-to-door.  What do I say when I get there?

I don't use a survey.  I'm not there to invite them to church.  I often do that in the midst of a conversation, but that's not my purpose.  I don't start out with the idea that I'm going to strike up a conversation.  The nature of people in this area encourages you to get right to the point.  When I read all of the examples of Jesus and the Apostles, I don't read them merely trying to make it the most pleasant experience possible.  I say "merely."  You aren't going for unpleasant, but as soon as you turn any conversation in the direction of the gospel, you will start feeling a bad vibe 99% of the time.

Despite everything I have said so far, I very often am able to preach the gospel to people.  One of my secrets is that I behave like I like doing it.  I actually do care about the person, so I talk to the person like he's a person.  I'm also very equipped to talk about the Bible.  Not being prepared should not be an excuse.  You can go with someone else for awhile, and then the best way to learn is to do it yourself.  You'll learn far more Bible by talking to people about the Lord from God's Word.

Alright, let me get at least to how I start with someone.  For awhile, when someone comes to the door, I say, "I'm Kent (and this is so-and-so), and I'm (we're) here to talk only to someone who is interested in Jesus.  I want to talk to people about Jesus and the gospel.  Gospel means good news.  And the good news is that we are in horrible trouble with God, but because of Jesus we can get right with God.  But I'm interested only in people who want to talk about Jesus Christ and about that good news.  Do you want to do that?"

That start covers everyone.  Buddhist.  Hindu.  Moslem.  Liberal.  New Age.  Mind science.  Religious person.  Irreligious person. Baptist.  Lutheran.  Evangelical.  Charismatic.

"Who is Jesus and why did He need to come to earth?  There is good reason to believe in Him.  Could we talk about that?"  Then you can start with sin, because sin is the problem.  This is, by the way, communicating the Christian worldview, which most simply is:  creation, fall, redemption.  It all starts with God.

This start does two great things.  One, you find out right away if the person wants to talk.  You are not responsible to talk with people who don't want to talk.

You may say, "But no one is going to want to talk to you with that approach or start."  Wrong.  You don't waste your time with people who don't want to talk, but you also have people who can't resist that.  I notice conviction immediately when I start like that.  It is difficult to say, I don't want to talk about or hear about Jesus, if you know you need Him.  Of the people who do say, "no," many times they look guilty saying it.  I even add to it by saying, "So you don't want to talk about Jesus?"  I will keep going, "We need Jesus.  We're doomed without Him, are you sure?  Can I?"

Theologically, I believe we have at least two things going with a person.  One, you have previous knowledge of the true God in everyone.  God's grace works in God's world.  That's very positive.

Two, you have rebellion that is innate to every human being.  The solution to rebellion is a supernatural one.  It doesn't make sense to us.  It's not a strategy.  If it were a strategy, strategists would laugh at it.  So you immediately go to a supernatural solution.  I assume people know they need it.  If they won't show interest, it's rebellion.  The cure for rebellion is still the truth, which is supernatural.  The cure isn't intellectual per se.  The whole gospel is partly intellectual, but that is not the component that is the problem for people.  They have sufficient knowledge to show interest in the conversation.  Rebellion is why they don't.  Therefore, you go all truth on them.

So, first, the start finds if someone wants to talk.   If the person says, "No," I try to leave a tract, and I know I've done what I can do, and I move on.  But, second, I find with that approach, the people are to some degree appreciative that I've been honest.  It does say, "He's not ashamed of what he's talking about."  If nothing is greater, I'm talking like nothing is greater.  Most people don't talk like nothing's greater.  They talk like it's something you don't think is so great, so you've got to wrap it in dog food and sneak it in, so the dog will eat it.  No, it's filet mignon.  It's the best.  Treat it like it is the best.  It is!

Just a short aside here.  The most rude people often are "Christians," especially evangelicals.  Your mere presence reminds them of the facade they're a part of.

Talk about Jesus like He's worth talking about.  Most people don't know Who He is.  They know the name.  They have a conception, but it's usually wrong.  They also don't know how much trouble they are in.

You ask, "Does this work?"  I preach the gospel all the time.  I give a lot of people an opportunity.  Jesus sent out the 70 to do that.  He wants the gospel to spread out.  There are churches that are getting bigger, but they are missing the point.  Their church is hear to preach the message of the kingdom.  People need to hear about the King, and what He's done.  So while their church is growing, all people will hear is that they can come and play volleyball or watch a movie or hear a concert.  The number of people in about 100 yards of commute traffic go to the biggest churches and the rest of the people they just leave damned for Hell.  I've never run into one of them out preaching in 27 years.  I know, they're so smart.

Many today, it's true, won't want to talk to you.  They'll feel proud that they turned you away, like that was an important task for them to fulfill.  They hate you, because they see you as the religious right, pro-death penalty, the moral majority, anti-homosexual.  They already think you're that way. You keep it to talking about Jesus and maybe you'll get to that.

Another little secret, when people are uber-rude with me, the conversation just got longer.  I turn into his best friend, Gomer Pyle to his Sergeant Carter.  I'll ask, "Why are you so angry?"  Etc.

If you have more questions, I'm open to answering as many as I think I should here.  Fire away.


Anonymous said...

Kent ,

What tract publishers do you recommend?
which tract do you believe is most effective and scriptural?

thanks T.James

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi T. James,

We write and print our own tracts. I can't recommend you to one in particular.

I like ours. We're probably going to be printing another basic one, but we have a lot of them we have done.

Thanks for asking.

KJB1611 said...

My favorite basic tract is here:

It can be downloaded as a Word document and printed on 8.5 x 11 piece of paper folded in half here:

along with a lot of other tracts and pamphlets.

Paul Brownfield said...

Amen. That is very good Pastor Brandenburg. I must admit, every spring when we get ready to start door knocking, I get nervous. But the more I do it, I get excited knowing I am glorifying the LORD! Thanks for this post. God Bless

KJB1611 said...

By the way, I really like your point about how to begin. It is a great way to open an evangelistic conversation.

Michael Alford said...

I've knocked doors for 19 years, and it, at least for me, has never gotten any easier, and we don't see many 'results'. But since it's scriptural, my difficulties with it and my lack of visible fruit are amazingly insignificant and unimportant.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Michael.


I had a ton of typos in here. I sometimes doen't proofread like I should. Many have been corrected. Thanks to someone who pointed that out. You are welcome any time to do that.

Farmer Brown said...

This is good. This is what we are trying to do as well. I agree that this is vital. I agree it needs to be done. I do not believe it is all we do, but it is part of what we do.

Your approach is very direct, which seems Biblical. It also avoids the issue of giving the gospel to someone who does not want it. That is important. I love to cook and entertain, and am good at it. If I put hours into preparing a wonderful meal, I do not want to offer it to someone who really wants McDonald's. Let them have their swill. I will save it for someone who wants it.

If they are aching to go back to watching American Idol, and could care less about God and their own sin, it cheapens the gospel to try to shoehorn it in with a smile. Try to leave a track, preferably something condemning sin, and move on. You have this priceless pearl, don't waste it on swine.

Thanks for answering the question. I appreciate the information. While you are in a sharing mood, could you post the text g to some of your tracts?