Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Door-to-door evangelism

“The two fastest-growing church bodies in the United States and Canada, according to a newly published report, are ones whose beliefs are known to conflict with traditional Christian teaching.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarded by many Christians as cults, reported the largest membership increases in a year, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.”
(From christianpost.com)

"Fact: Recent Mormon Church statistics show that they knock 1000 doors before they typically set up ONE study. (Mormon newsletter for missionaries shown to James Palmer of We Care Ministries by a Mormon Elder)

Fact: We Care Ministries under the direction of White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, LA has found that on average, during their campaigns, someone is found home for every six doors knocked. A study is set up for every three doors where someone is found home. When studies are set up, one-half of these studies result in a baptism into Christ. This means that on average a conversion is made, a soul is saved for every 36 doors that are knocked on in We Care Campaigns.

The ratio of doors knocked to studies set up for We Care Ministries (one out of 18) compared to that of Mormons (one out of 1000) is striking. What we should see as embarrassing however, is the fact that in spite of their relatively unfruitful door-to-door evangelism, the Mormon Church is one of the fastest growing religious bodies in the U.S. today while churches of Christ have had essentially zero growth in the U.S. for many years. Mormon numbers have more than doubled in just over 20 years; Jehovah’s Witness numbers have increased 75% in the U.S. in the last 20 years. To what do the Mormons attribute their growth? Door-to-door evangelism. To what do the Jehovah’s Witnesses attribute their growth? Door-to-door evangelism."
(From Door-to-Door Evangelism Facts)

"In 1960, D. James Kennedy graduated from seminary and began preaching at the Coral Ridge Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL. After just eight months of ministry there, the congregation dwindled from 45 to 17 believers. Although he was very discouraged about what was happening, he would not give up. He realized the problem was that he lacked courage to confront unbelievers with the truth of the gospel. To his surprise, he was invited to Decatur, GA to conduct a gospel campaign for ten days. He preached each evening, but during the mornings and afternoons, he received training and visited homes, presenting the gospel door-to-door. Those experiences at the doorways of the unsaved would transform his ministry completely. After the evangelistic campaign he returned to the Coral Ridge Church, where he implemented the principles he had learned in Georgia—he called these principles “Evangelism Explosion”. By presenting unsaved men and women with the claims of the gospel on their doorsteps, the Coral Ridge Church grew from 17 individuals to over 2,000 in nine years . These simple door-to-door evangelistic principles would be the means of winning thousands to Christ in the United States and in 93 other lands throughout the world."
(from Plymouth Brethren. Originally from D. James Kennedy, Evangelism Explosion, Wheaton, IL, Tyndale House Publishers, 1977, p. 6.)

"Door-to-door evangelism is one of the few ways that each family in a city can be reached with the gospel. The Lord has effectively used this method throughout the history of the church, from the time of the early church (Acts 20:20) to the modern day. Today, church leaders are calling for renewed efforts in teaching and training Christians how to use door-to-door evangelism, proving the timelessness of this evangelistic method. In a study of the fastest growing 576 Southern Baptist churches in the U.S., Southern Baptist researcher Dr. Thomas Rainer concluded that traditional door-to-door evangelism was still a very useful evangelistic method. In the churches surveyed, 50.2% of these churches ranked weekly door-to-door evangelism as one of their most effective evangelistic tools. Bill Hohenstreet, of Post Falls Baptist Church in Post Falls, Idaho states that door-to-door visitation was critical to their evangelistic outreach. He explained that their primary outreach efforts were door-to-door, cold-call visitation, and Tuesday evening visitation using a prospect list. This church of two hundred saw forty-eight individuals come to faith in Jesus Christ and baptized in 1996. “Churches that rated door-to-door evangelism highly did not believe that it was any less effective or resistance to visits was any greater than in years past.” (Thomas Rainer, Effective Evangelistic Churches, Nashville, TN, Broadman, 1996, p. 20). Churches throughout the United States are beginning to find that consistent evangelistic visitation, when followed up with literature, Bible study, and hospitality are effective means in winning the lost to Christ. Nevertheless, door-to-door evangelism is not without its critics. Since 1973 church growth experts have unwisely labeled this method as old-fashioned and ineffective in modern society. However, recent studies have challenged the validity of these widely-held convictions of church growth researchers. Thomas Rainer, who conducted a survey of the fastest growing churches, speaks of this issue when he writes, “But what about the studies of growing churches which made the conclusion that traditional door-to-door evangelism was on the decline? The research of those studies was based on growing churches, not necessarily churches that were increasing in size by conversion growth. In fact, many of the churches were hardly growing at all through new converts, but by Christians who were leaving one church to join another. Additionally, the other studies rarely looked at more than forty to fifty churches; our research is based upon a study of over 500 churches.” (Thomas Rainer, Effective Evangelistic Churches, Nashville, TN, Broadman, 1996, p. 19, 41). The results of this recent study have soundly contradicted the tenaciously-held beliefs of church growth experts. This fact has caused concern among many church leaders, and has led them to re-examine their evangelistic methods. Many are beginning to see that traditional methods are indeed Biblical, important, and effective means for producing conversion growth in churches."
(To read the rest of the article, go to: Plymouth Brethren.)

13 comments:

satire and theology said...

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarded by many Christians as cults, reported the largest membership increases in a year, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.”
(From christianpost.com)

Very good.

Yes, I reported this on satire and theology previously...

satire and theology1/36 yes I did the math, I agree.

I am not against door to door evangelism, however, having done Census in 2006 I can reason that walking into some driveways can be a little intimidating with big dogs and angry males (quite similar, actually). I had to do this alone.

Yes, I had a metal bar in my bag!

Let's see, I had four guys try to intimidate me at least. A biker guy refused to do the census and told me not to come back and I said someone will, perhaps the RCMP. Another guy claimed harassment after dinner time, and I stated basically, 'When should I come by, when no one is home?' Another big guy patted me on the back and said something along the lines of 'good luck' and refused to do the census.' A Eastern European guy wanted to sick his dog on me, but if wife would not let him. Good for him, as he did not realize I live right across the street from him! He would have paid!

When I took the Census course, one guy stated that during the previous Census he was invited into a house and then bear sprayed!

I was invited into two places for a cold drink. At one other place a woman tried to tell me off and then her and her friend got 'friendly' when I stood up to her...weird and not for me.

I added some more non-debate related material on satire and theology which goes through different positions on verses I mentioned. This may interest.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

Wow, Russ, those are quite the adventures! I've had a drunk threaten to punch me if I mentioned the name "Jesus" again, and I've had doors slammed in my face, but it sounds like you have much more colorful stories than me! I was laughing as I was reading the stuff you wrote!

I'm going to try to go lay down and get some sleep (still a little nervous from the attempted break-in last night, especially the memory of that very shocking and loud exploding glass when they either kicked or used a baseball bat to try to break through my front door), but I will visit your blog site soon.

Jeff said...

Great. Now it's thundering. We've been having thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings. That's all I need: more loud noises to make me jump. Every one makes me think someone is trying to kick in my front door again. I know I'm going to be dead-tired at work from not getting any sleep. Ah, well, that's life.

May every negative event merely cause me to look to Jesus and trust in Him all the more. Including my being laid off after this week.

satire and theology said...

My URL placements last night and this morning are not lining up right in the main body or comments, even though they look correct in preview.

That is why it is too close to text in comments. Blogger error perhaps.

Russ

Jeff said...

My URL placements last night and this morning are not lining up right in the main body or comments, even though they look correct in preview.

That is why it is too close to text in comments. Blogger error perhaps.
I noticed that. But at least the link is still clickable.

Jeff said...

Wow, it looks like the same thing is happening to me. It started my reply on the same line as your quoted comment that I italicized.

Interesting.

Greg said...

Hi, Jeff. Russ told me you had an attempted break-in. That's gotta be scary. I don't suppose they were door-to-door evangelists, spreading the Good News? ;) Praise the Lord **something** stopped them! We had a similar experience years ago. We had been in the house all Saturday, and when we tried to leave for church on Sunday, I noticed someone had almost taken apart our from door lock! I called the maintenance guy, and he showed us how easily they could have finished the job and gotten in. But something must have stopped them; maybe our baby crying or an angel??? Scary.

We live close to a Mormon church, and they send their "elders" to our house, roughly once every six months. Of course, these guys are barely in college, heavily indoctrinated, but they don't have a personal testimony of how they got saved. We have a "Jesus Is Lord" sign above our front steps, so they expect a warm welcome, and what else can we give them??? I have grown weary of talking to them, so I let Farrah handle it.

We also had Jehovah's Witnesses come (a couple of older guys), and they were totally obsessed with the end times. I kept telling then that Jesus said that the Kingdom of God cometh not with observation, but is already here and within us. Fell on deaf ears. Sighh....

I have often thought of doing my own door-to-door, just to counter their ill effects, but I don't have the guts, and I don't think it would be in the right spirit.

Jeff said...

Greg,

Russ told me you had an attempted break-in. That's gotta be scary.Yes. I slept very little last night.

I don't suppose they were door-to-door evangelists, spreading the Good News? ;)LOL!! You know what? Strange that you should say that! When I saw the shattered glass in a pile below the screen door, I found a Jehovah's Witness tract in the door. I had a thought that about a year ago, I talked to a JW and he thought that I was an 'apostate' (an ex-JW), and he said he despised 'apostates' more than anything. Recently, 2 teen girl JW's came by, and one said that guy was her dad. They were supposed to come back so we could talk further, but they never did. I thought maybe, when she told her dad who I was, maybe he told her, "Don't go back there!" So my first thought was that a JW kicked my door in because he hated 'apostates'! LOL!

Praise the Lord **something** stopped them!Yes! The deputy seemed very surprised that, though the glass of the screen door was shattered (by foot or baseball bat, apparently), my wooden door was not smashed in. I am certain that the Lord was protecting me! I'm also guessing that maybe they saw the inside light being turned on, and maybe that scared them off.

We had a similar experience years ago. We had been in the house all Saturday, and when we tried to leave for church on Sunday, I noticed someone had almost taken apart our from door lock! I called the maintenance guy, and he showed us how easily they could have finished the job and gotten in. But something must have stopped them; maybe our baby crying or an angel??? Scary.Wow. That would definitely be unsettling, but as you said, praise God that they were stopped. And yes, the deputy told me the same thing, that they can break in very quickly.

Maybe you should schedule a time for both the Mormons and the JW's to come by, and have them argue with each other! LOL!

I have often thought of doing my own door-to-door, just to counter their ill effects, but I don't have the guts, and I don't think it would be in the right spirit.Yes, I believe most local churches offer little or no training for that. A friend from another church led me and some others in a group study using "The Way of the Master" videos and materials, and then, after several weeks of that, we began going out on the streets. That led to great things. Many years ago, one church I attended would do door-to-door each week, but most churches don't do that today. I think we should utilize every type of evangelism, not just one. All the types of evangelism have their strengths and weaknesses. And, if we do it 'in the flesh,' i.e., with only our own strength, we will certainly fail and be useless. We must do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, I believe that if we step out in faith and do it, the Lord will be with us. Still, we must be covered in prayer (esp. when dealing with cults), and we must be prepared (i.e., be familiar with appropriate Scripture verses, etc.). But too many simply look for excuses and reasons not to do it.

tom sheepandgoats said...

Presenting the good news before strangers benefits not only the stranger, but also the Christian. Expressing one's faith helps keep it aglow. One is less inclined to become apathetic, always a danger for Christians living in a materialistic world.

Jeff said...

tom sheepandgoats,

Presenting the good news before strangers benefits not only the stranger, but also the Christian. Expressing one's faith helps keep it aglow. One is less inclined to become apathetic, always a danger for Christians living in a materialistic world.I fully agree! Keeping your faith to yourself can tend to make it stagnant. Sharing your faith keeps it alive and real. And generally, the more you share your faith with others, the more life becomes an adventure. Witnessing to others is our spiritual exercise. And one of the greatest joys a Christian can experience is to lead someone to Christ.

Thank you for that comment!

Anonymous said...

God is preparing evangelists that will turn our way of thinking. People will ask you where your church is because they want what you have what God wants, if this sounds far fetched take a minute and think about what makes you tick. Put Jesus first and He will draw those people unto himself. There are four easy words to remember when you go out, Here Am I Lord

In His Service,
Lee

Jeff said...

Lee,

Put Jesus first and He will draw those people unto himself. There are four easy words to remember when you go out, Here Am I LordExcellent advice. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Pat Little said...

Although your post is old, I recently read it. It's GREAT! I think Evangelism Explosion is the best. I took classes years ago,and it helped me get over fear of witnessing. I go out witnessing at least once a week. Seeing people accept Christ is (I think) the greatest joy a Christian can experiance. Here is a link to some of my experiances witnessing:

http://mailmanpat.blogspot.com/