To Go Door-to-Door or Not?

Sam Rainer

March 13, 2007

I had something happen to me for the first time since being at my church. I was out visiting some folks, and I came to the last person on my list. This person was a prospect and I had not called beforehand, but I figured I would stop by and say hello. We keep contact with those that are interested in our church. And we take notes on a prospect sheet that enable us as a church to know how much and when we contact them. The last note from a few months back said they were friendly and open to hearing about our church.

Besides, I had my secret weapon with me as well. His name is Jim. Jim is an older gentleman whose copious amounts of energy are barely tolerable. But he’s a great servant of the church, and he loves nothing more than to share his faith…with anyone.

I figured this visit would be congenial. I was wrong. Three milliseconds after saying I was from a church I was recovering from the ringing in my ears from the sound of a door being slammed forcefully in my face.

I looked at Jim, who was accompanying me. He shrugged his shoulders, halfway smiled, and said, “Sometimes they go that way. Let’s see if we can find someone else to talk to.”

When I got back to my office after outreach, I wondered how effective door-to-door evangelism and church visitation are in our current culture. So I did a little research in Internet hinterland. What I came upon interested me.

Apparently, when knocking on doors, people are more open to an invitation to church than to the gospel message. And a good number of people regardless of age are open to church invitations.

But the good news is limited. Only 39% of those who rarely, if ever, go to church are open to door-to-door invitations. So, the ones who are least receptive are the ones that we want to reach.

At our next outreach meeting Jim asked me if I wanted to go door-to-door with him again. Trying to quell his enthusiasm a bit, I told him that only 39% of people may be interested in what we have to say.

He cocked his head and smiled.

“You mean to tell me that at least 4 out of 10 people are actually going to listen to what we have to say?!”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well, what are we waiting on? Let’s get out there and tell some people about Jesus!”

That evening Jim knocked on six doors. He met a Jehovah’s Witness, four unchurched folks, and one churchgoer. He shared the gospel message twice.

Perhaps the glass really is half full.

What do you think? Have any of you experienced success with door-to-door evangelism? Should you call ahead of time? These are issues with which my church is currently wrestling. What is your insight?

20 comments on “To Go Door-to-Door or Not?”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    I like Jim!

    1. I am interested in someone coming door to door for church.

  2. Stephy says:

    I love door to door outreach as well as visitation. My entire family was saved as a result of visitation.

    Our new church plant does door to door outreach in our community and it seems to work very well. In fact, one of our newest couples now attending our church come as a result of door to door.

    I believe that Jesus would have us “GO” into all the world, starting with our neighborhoods and communities. The cults do it, why can’t we be aggressive and do it to. We have so little time left and many souls to win to the Kingdom!!

  3. Sam Rainer says:

    Stephy – praise God for those who are obedient to the Great Commission. I am encouraged to hear about your salvation as a result of visitation.

  4. John Geoffrey says:

    Stephy –

    The last three sentences you wrote show where your heart is. Keep that flame for evangelism burning bright!

  5. Lynn says:

    Amen, Stephy. I agree wholeheartedly. (Although, is it really being “aggressive”–or just obedient?) In addition to going to people’s homes, we can also find them in countless public gathering places (like the disciples did). We can very effectively talk with people at malls, parks, fairs, festivals, sporting events, etc. The lost can be found everywhere, and they’re waiting to hear the truth!

  6. If you spend 30 years going door-2-door and only one person every came to saving faith, is it worth it? I guess it really depends on your motive for going door-2-door. There can be more than one good motive for it, but the motives will determine if it is effective(which really is sort of pragmatic type of thinking, more importatn questions would be if it pleases the Lord).

    There is an article on my blog in the archives that talks a little about this.

    But if your goal is to glorify God by sharing the Gospel then it is very effective. If your goal it to see people come to Christ, it is effective. If your goal is to get people to become members of the church, I am not as sure, but believe it is effective. If your goal is to “go out into the world” and take Christ with you, it is very effective.

  7. Jody Jennings says:

    I agree with Jim’s passion and I appreciate his dedication but I struggle with his methodology; door 2 door. Let me first concede by saying that door 2 door works. It is a proven strategy. But is it the best? Are we willing to adapt our strategies and methodologies to fit within the cultural context of the present? Past success is no rationale for continued effort.

  8. Alvin Reid says:

    Hey there Sam! I tell my students door to door is not the only or the best way to share Christ. But it is far better than none! I took an entire class recently out, over 60 total, to knock on doors. Of course I told them we were not going to make visits but to make friends. Out of the approximately 20 teams that went 3 by 3, at least 6 developed enough of a relationship to go be and visit some folks they met again. Including me. And, one person professed Christ that night.
    We must increasingly spend more time building relationships and working through issues in an increasingly unchurched culture. But just as Paul went intentionally to areas in order to find the Lydias who were ready (Acts 16) we go to meet strangers in hopes that we can make friends. And then, help our friends to meet Jesus.
    I am glad I found your blog. Many blessings.

  9. Ginger says:

    I agree door 2 door is effective, but maybe not for sharing the Full Gospel. It can stretch you beyond your comfort zone, it can give you opportunity to encourage those fellow believers you may encounter, it can help get your church name out there, and it can give you a plethora of people to witness to.

    And as Steph said “Jesus would have us “GO” into all the world”, so we should go!

  10. Chris Aiken says:

    Prior to serving where i do now (an established church in the panhandle of Florida), I was a church planter in upstate New York. We uses D2D evangelism out of necessity every summer. We never knocked on less than 4,000 doors and never more than 16,000…but we covered every home we could in a 3 mile geographical radius.
    Why? Because I had no budget for mailers or big productions like the church up the road. Also, because we thought it would allow us to appear to be more personal than the churches that majored in marketing strategies. Our goal was simply to make a contact, introduce ourselves, and see if the Holy Spirit was at work. We had numerous success stories and many more homes we never heard from. My thoughts were…if the seed planted about a personal church in the community could just stay top-of-mind long enough, maybe they would consider us if crisis struck or circumstances changed.
    When I moved back to the deep south, I found the same type of receptivity in my own neighborhood. Of the 197 homes in my neighborhood all were cordial and some have visited the church. A couple let me share my story and others were indifferent. However, something is better than nothing and I imagine God will bring fruit from somewhere due to our efforts.

  11. Sam Rainer says:

    Chris – It is clear that God honored your heart and obedience. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!

  12. Jeff Jenkins says:

    According to
    “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.”

    To me, that shows that door-to-door must have some effectiveness, because it is my understanding that both cults use the door-to-door method as their primary means of recruiting/converting.

    I have talked to JW’s, and they have told me that they do get many doors slammed in their faces. So have I. But I have also been invited into homes, prayed with people, and a good percentage has been opening to hear the gospel.

  13. Sam Rainer says:

    Jeff – Good thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Keith Jernigan says:

    visitation should be every day EXCEPT CHURCH DAY..Sunday and Wednesday…

  15. Keith Jernigan says:

    in the book of ACTS it says they preached evangelism everyday Should we..(including myself) so pray for each other..For I am weak but thou art the song GOES..Pray for each other.

  16. Dana says:

    Door to door never made me want to attend church, it actually pushes me away. I feel it is rude to come unannounced and puts me in a position that I am being rude by not inviting the pastor in. The church that I am attending had sent me an invitation in the mail, I have been going for a year know but hate it when the pastor just drops by!! Door to door gives people the wrong impression of Christians as being a pushy bible thumper.

  17. Jeff Jenkins says:

    Just off the top of my head, I can think of 3 people right away who became born again Christians and received eternal life while I was going door-to-door, and I can think of 2 people offhand who became regular churchgoers at my own church as a direct result of my going door-to-door. If I thought about it longer, I might think of others as well.

    Really, though, how important are percentages? If only one person comes to Christ and receives eternal life as a result of an effort, doesn’t that make the effort worth it?

    Different people respond to different methods, and there is no one perfect way to evangelize. We should use all our talents and skills, and every means and opportunity available to evangelize to the lost. We should not limit ourselves, and we should not discount any method just because we suppose that it’s not as effective as another method. The same method that attracts one person might turn another person off.

  18. Michael says:

    Are these the rates for you area of the country, or nationwide. I know someone who knocked doors for 3 years in Seattle and never got one contact. I’m from Liberal Colorado (Boulder/Longmont) and have got 3 responses in about 12,000 doors.

  19. Don says:

    I have not went door to door in many years. I would love to hear from anybody currently reaching out by door to door.

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