5 Possible Desired Outcomes of Door to Door Visitation

Perhaps your church is thinking about a door to door evangelism outreach.

Some churches excel at it.  Other churches want to get better, and still others want to avoid any kind of door to door visitation.

If you are considering a door to door evangelism campaign, the premier question I would ask you is

What is your desired outcome?

Townhouse.  Source: Self

1.  Prayerwalk the community.

You might structure your door to door campaign as an ongoing prayer effort in your community.  You can do this form of prayer ministry without even touching a door.

I have a pastor friend who spent his lunch hour, 5 days a week, walking the streets of his community.

He would simply

  • Pray for the community.
  • Pray for the small businesses.
  • Pray for the government workers.
  • Pray for the people who walk the street for their errands, lifestyle, or other purpose.

Sometimes he would stop in front of house or office and pray a short prayer, or other times, he would keep walking while praying.

This form of door to door outreach isn’t really knocking on doors, but is intentionally walking every street of an area that you have defined and praying for every house, every business, and every person that you see as you walk.

Often, this pastor felt a leading to engage particular people in conversation, invite them to a church event, or even offer to pray for a particular need.

Be sensitive to moments of generosity, moments of grace, and moments when the Holy Spirit might lead you to engage a person in conversation.

2.  Community Exegesis

Another technique of a door to door visitation is to learn about the needs of the community.  Some churches will visit every house and business in a defined area and seek to gather information about the community.

These visits usually take the form of some kind of survey that is not evangelistic in nature, but aimed at gathering a reasonable sample of community data.

However, you might encounter some geniune spiritual thirst while talking with people.

Consider if the Holy Spirit is prompting you to take the conversation further.

3.  Gospel Presentations

Some churches will choose to carry a particular gospel conversation house to house.

That might be:

  • The Four Spiritual Laws
  • The Romans Road
  • Evangelism Explosion
  • Evangecube
  • The Bridge
  • Steps to Peace with God
  • Do versus Done.
  • Or some other gospel presentation that’s been reduced to several points.

This was a common practice in many church growth programs decades ago and may still be appropriate in some places.  I am often asked to teach door to door evangelism with this model, but I do a different take on it, since I don’t think everyone is ready to hear the gospel on my time schedule.

Rather than assume that a person wants to hear the gospel, I look for signs of spiritual interest.  If there are none, I offer to pray for any need they may have and then move on.  This leads me to the next one.

4.  Spiritual Thirst

I believe that noticing spiritual thirst will open good conversational doors.

While there are many gospel presentations (I call them gospel scripts) that one could memorize for door to door evangelism campaigns, I teach an evangelism method can help you at each door you visit during your evangelism campaign.

  • Watch for the working of the Holy Spirit
  • Listen for spiritual thirst
  • Discern your place in their journey
  • Suggest possible next steps towards Jesus.

If part of your purpose is evangelism, consider using the Effective Conversations DVD for door to door training.

5.  Start New Seeker oriented groups

Using a good tool, like The Your Journey Guide (by Gary Rhormayer),  you’ll be able to determine some community needs, plus see who is currently thinking about improving their spiritual life.

I’ve started using this tool myself to determine who has a genuine interest in learning more about God.

Then, with a group of people, we can start a small group time together among neighbors and talk more about who Jesus is and so on.

This is my biggest joy – gathering spiritually open people who want to grow and have expressed a desire to learn more about Jesus.

What is your desired outcome of door to door visitation?

If you were to consider the various outcomes, what might yours be?

That outcome will determine what kind of training you will want to provide, plus suggest the tools you will need.

If part of your purpose is evangelism, consider using the Effective Conversations DVD for door to door training.  It can help you with more effective conversations that presenting a simple script.

Image Credit: Self

Bill Hybels on Do vs Done and Three R Script

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Gospel Scripts

Bill-HybelsA friend of mine sent this to me:

  • Do vs. Done
  • Three Rs  (Not about ritual, rules, religion)

This is a quick snippet from

Book Review: Done – What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible

Cary Schmidt has written a useful introduction to the gospel:

Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible.

Its chapters cover the basic gospel script of Do Vs. Done as the framework for a simple explanation of the gospel that allows someone who is considering Christianity to examine the biblical evidence and reasoning of a placing faith in Christ.

The basic outline of the Do Vs Done Script is

Religion is spelled D-O, and is all about trying to DO enough to please God.

The trouble is we don’t know if we ever do enough, and the Bible tells us we never can do enough (Romans 3.23).

But Christianity is spelled D-O-N-E.

Jesus has done what we could never do. He lived the perfect life and died on the cross to pay for all the wrong stuff we have done.

But it’s not enough just to know this; we have to receive what he has done; we have to ask Jesus to forgive us and to be the leader of our lives.

Then you could ask them what they think, whether they understand the difference, and if they see the need for Jesus.

I appreciated how short this Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible, particularly the logic of the presentation.

It is written with a seeker in mind, rather than an advanced student of theology or a theologically astute Christian who has been walking with the Lord for a long time.

I would feel comfortable giving this book to my friends who are not yet followers of Christ but are seriously seeking or investigating.

What it is:

  • A point by point development of the do vs. done outline of a gospel explanation and some of the assumptions behind it.
  • Written for people who might be exploring Christianity.
  • A refresher for those who want to understand or better present this particular gospel outline.
  • A simple presentation of the evangelistic message of Christ.

What it is not:

  • A full theology of all the dynamics of salvation.
  • A full discipleship manual of what happens after a believer comes to know Christ.
  • An apologetics manual defining doctrines or biblical issues outside of the salvation message.

How to use Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible

I could see this book being used as a gift for church visitors.  Order Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible by the case load and use it as a gift in your church visitor gift bag.

This book could be a great tool in an investigative Bible study with people who are at this point in their journey to faith where they seek a clear gospel explanation.

This book could also be used in an evangelism study group that is wanting to learn a particular gospel presentation.  Of course, you want to encourage your group to actually be in relationship with people to have the opportunity to explain the gospel script.

My Critique of Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible

My only criticism of Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible is that the subtitle is not quite on the point of Do vs. Done.

The subtitle talks about “what most religions don’t tell you about the Bible.”

When I bought the book, I expected Done.: What most religions don’t tell you about the Bible to be

  • a defense of biblical apologetics, or
  • evidence for the Bible’s credibility, or
  • how the bible compares to other religious books.

This was not a key point of the book.

Rather, the writer assumes the credibility of the Bible and builds his presentation on the assumption that it is credible.

There are several places where he doesn’t assume the reader will hold that same assumption, but phrases like “If you believe the Bible. . . . .”

In the big scheme of my review, this is a trivial critique.

10 Practical Evangelism Tips for Pastors

I get to talk alot with pastors at conferences I give or attend, and often on the telephone as well about some of their challenges with personal evangelism.

As mentioned in the last post, this is what I hear from pastors about their personal evangelism

  • “I don’t have time for personal evangelism.”
  • “I’m not good at doing this evangelism thing.”
  • “I wish I could get out of the office and actually talk with people.”
  • “I wish I had learned this in seminary.”
  • “I have no experience in personal evangelism, so how am I supposed to lead it in my church”

There can be a variety of reasons why pastors have a hard time with evangelism.  I want to give pastors 10 practical tips on personal evangelism.

Prayer Preparation

prayer_hands_folded1. Seek the Father’s Heart — (see Getting Emotionally Worked Up)

2. Offer yourself for God’s use in sharing your faith.

3. Regularly Pray for those who don’t know Christ.

See Also:

Position Yourself

4. Look for the person of peace.

5. Get out of the office and make connections in the neighborhood.

6. Build genuine relationships for spiritual influence.

See:

Proclamation:

ConversationBetweenFriends7. Choose a gospel script.

8. Practice the gospel script until you are comfortable with it.

9. Discover your story

10. Learn how to use questions in a conversation

See also:

Free Free Personal Evangelism Training Course

The Mystery of Christian Conversion

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my non-Christian friend who received news that they have terminal cancer.

I long for them to know the riches of Christ, but today, this has me thinking about the act of conversion in response to a gospel presentation.

I find myself thinking:

  • If I present one form of gospel scripts,
  • If they intellectually agree to the three or four points,
  • If they pray the version of “the sinner’s prayer”
  • has a conversion truly worked its way into their heart?

Is that sufficient?

I know the thief on the cross was assured a spot in heaven for his belief in the Son of God – no sinner’s prayer recorded.

I know Zaccheus was declared to have received salvation – no sinners prayer recorded.

Is my goal with my friend to get them to pray a sinners prayer as evidence of their Christian Conversion?

Praying man

What about Michael Jackson?

This also arose in my mind about the recent death of Michael Jackson.

Some press releases claimed Jackson went straight to hell, others said that he had prayed with Andre Crouch and became a Christian.

Does Michael Jackson get into heaven because he let Andre Crouch pray for him?

Does it count that he didn’t pray out loud himself?

This has caused me to think about the role of gospel presentations and the response of conversion.

ThinkingBrain

Effective Gospel Presentations

When it comes to a gospel presentation and response, I truly believe that God sometimes works a genuine conversion.

God so tugs the human heart that a person feels the need to pray and offer themselves to the Lord.

The presentation of the gospel came at the right time, in the right way, and in the sovereignty of God, a new soul enters the kingdom of God.

Over time, we see the fruit this conversion:

  • connecting to a local church.
  • evidence of life transformation.
  • a growing love for scripture and worship.
  • service to the community as an overflow of their relationship with God.

However, in other cases, the simple presentation of a gospel script and a prayer response may only be planted seed.

Perhaps such a “sinner’s prayer” was the result of

  • peer pressure
  • manipulation,
  • a desire to please the person, or
  • simply intellectual assent without commitment.

Time will show that a genuine conversion didn’t happen.

I didn’t lead 600 people to Christ in one prayer.

I once preached a message in front of 600 middle school students.

I gave an invitation to stand up if you want to follow Jesus, and all 600 stood up.

Either

  • I wasn’t clear in what I was asking, or
  • Group peer pressure helped everyone give a uniform response, or
  • They simply wanted to please me as a speaker.

Maybe there was student who had a genuine conversion in the midst of all those kids.  Maybe not.

To this day, I don’t know.

The gospel is not a formula

The unintended consequence of reducing the gospel to systematic theology is a conversion to a formula.

Get the script right and you will get the result.

Put in the egg, the flour, sprinkle a little sugar and bam, you get a cake.

Agree with these three points, say a prayer, and bam! you have a convert.

CookieBakingIngredients

Consequently, if one doesn’t get the script right, then the conversion has misfired and you are a false convert – this charge has been leveled at me because my conversion 20 years didn’t fit a popular method.

I teach gospel scripts for personal evangelism because I do believe they are important tools to help a person explain the gospel story.  It is an important outline to know when sharing 1-1, or when preaching before an audience.

But I warn that it’s not a formula, or some kind of magical process.

Conversion remains a mystery to me

Conversion is still a partially mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

We know a lot about conversion from Scripture and about some of the mechanics of how the Holy Spirit applies the work of Jesus to our life.

Yet since I became a Christian over 20 years ago, I am always amazed at watching the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person – whether they have had a faith awakening like John Wesley, or a dramatic conversion like the apostle Paul.

Likewise, I’ve experienced the disappointment of when people pray a prayer, but there is no difference or change in their life.   There is no commitment, no change, no conversion.

The gospel message is not a formula.

The work of Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, not our rational presentation.

The work of conversion is a divine action, not our persuasive sales technique or use of NLP to lead a person to our conclusions.

My Friend needs to find new life in Christ

When it comes to my friend, I pray for their conversion to happen.

I pray that I will get the opportunity to share the gospel with them.

I pray that they will find the grace that has captured me and experience the presence of God in the mist of their suffering.

I pray that others will share the gospel with them.

I want their conversion to be genuine, real, and effective.

I want to know their conversion has been made by the Holy Spirit, not my slick presentation, or their desperate grasping for a lifeline because it might work and they have nothing to loose.

They don’t

  • show a concern about knowing God.
  • believe the Bible is authoritative.
  • believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
  • believe that God can be present in the midst of their suffering.
  • give a rip about going to church.

They are fully postmodern in their thinking, even if they don’t know they are.

How can I engage a postmodern thinker with a gospel script that is systematic theology?

I didn’t say how can I present the gospel. I can do that.

I want to know how to engage them in a way that leads to their genuine conversion.

2013 Update

My friend came to know Lord in the final months before they went to be with Jesus in 2012.  There were many conversations with friends, plus lots of personal reflections during those depressing times of hospitalizations and being confined to bed in the home.

I am thankful that my friend surrendered their life to the Lord before stepping into an eternity without Him.

Coaching Corner

  1. Talk with your evangelism team about “the sinner’s prayer.”
  2. What do you think is evidence of a geniune conversion experience?
  3. In your church, how do you celebrate the true conversion experience of new believers?

Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter to keep fresh articles on personal evangelism and church hospitality coming to you each week.