Home > Brandenburg, Evangelism, Missions > How Missions Really Does Start At Your Front Door

How Missions Really Does Start At Your Front Door

January 23, 2008

I love to get home.  It’s warm and comfortable.  I feel a sigh of relief work through my body. Then I like staying home.  It’s not hard confronting the lazy-boy.  I also enjoy facing down my computer screen to write a blog—no rejections or sour looks.  I could just stay here, but I can’t.

The same could be said of the church building and the office.  I’ll teach my class.  I’ll grade the papers.  I’ll preach to a big group of friends.  I’ll stand and talk and talk and talk with another believer about the Bible.   I could just stay there, but I can’t.

We’ve got to go.  As the Father sent Jesus, so He sends us.   With the force of a command, the Lord said to go and preach the gospel to every creature.  We start with the first person and we work outward concentrically—Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the earth.

It’s simple to understand, so why isn’t it being done?  I think it’s mainly the toasty confines that we prefer.  The world isn’t very cooperative.  We can’t make it happen.  The results are thin, hard to come by.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  And how about rebellion?  Are believers supposed to be rebellious?  It sounds bad to think that we would rebel against the authority of Christ.

Before the Lord spoke the Great Commission, He reminded us that He possessed all authority in both heaven and earth.  It’s not like we’ve forgotten that, but just don’t act like that He has all authority.  Flashing redlights in my rear-view mirror get my attention.  That’s authority.  And I stop.  But I guess that the Lord’s authority, albeit much larger, really incomparably larger than a highway patrolman’s, is not quite as in our faces.  We need to elevate the reality of that authority by faith.

Isn’t there more than just authority too?  Doesn’t love come into play?  At the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote “anathema” to him who does not love the Lord Jesus Christ.  We love Him, so we want to do what He says.

So out of respect for Christ’s authority and out of love for Him, we must start with the first person and then keep going.  Our best relations to missionaries is in the field both laboring.  Have you been to preach the gospel to every person in your neighborhood?  To every house in your town or city?  That is the mission that God gave us.  It’s also what I want our missionaries to be doing—out there preaching it.  If I know they are; that pleases me.

How does it get done?  You carve out the time.  You get on the clothes that will represent Jesus Christ.  You get your Bible or New Testament.  You walk up to someone’s door.  You knock or ring the door bell.  You preach.  You’re not there to develop a relationship. You’re there to be bold and proclaim the message.  Lovingly, yes.  But you preach it as long as they’ll listen.  They might not.  Most won’t.  But the mission is preaching, and that you can do.

Some will say that door-to-door doesn’t work.  It does work.  It works at getting the gospel to every person.  If you have a better way, then let me know.   Witnessing to just those with whom you naturally come into contact will not get the gospel to everyone.

Do you remember what Philip did after he preached to the Eunuch?  He went home and got a cold ice tea, didn’t he?  No.  Look at the last verse of Acts 8.  You probably already have an idea if you don’t already know.  He preached to every town from the point where he finished with the Eunuch all the way up the coast.  I want to challenge you with something I’m challenging myself anew.   Find a portion of your town or city and determine that you will leave your front door and go to everyone of those front doors.   Don’t just invite them to church.  Don’t just leave the tract and brochure.   Preach the gospel.  When we get to heaven, it is not something that we will be sorry that we did.

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  1. January 23, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Kent,

    Way to “Go”! I’ve told our folks back home that the greatest single thing that they can do to encourage their missionary on the field is to share with him stories about how THEY are going. If the church member is going out and evangelizing, I know he will pray. I know he will sympathize enough to put some money in the plate to help missionaries go. I know he won’t complain when the preaching and the prayer meeting go long. So many folks back home seem to think that the most encouraging thing they can do for the missionary is send him a birthday card. I’ll tell you, that’s not it. Go visiting and tell him the name you want him to pray for. That will break his heart with joy! 🙂

  2. January 23, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I agree with you, and am challenged to be going more.

    I hope you won’t mind my throwing in a couple of thoughts. First, I agree that we are to go to “every creature.” And that includes complete and total strangers. But, God brings us into contact with particular people on a more than regular basis (neighbors, co-workers, relatives), and I believe God puts those particular people in our lives on purpose. To me, that indicates his intention that we should place a very high priority on witnessing to them. In fact, I would argue that it is more important that we witness to them than to complete and total strangers.

    Secondly, some people do better at dealing with people after they have grown familiar with them. If we combine that thought with the idea that we must witness to everyone, then it seems to me that we should place a high priority on ministries such as at the local nursing home, or a neighborhood Bible club, or even (gasp!) a bus ministry, where we have plenty of opportunity for regular contact and on-going evangelism. And in those cases, we are giving our people a venue for preaching the gospel.

    I am NOT arguing that these things are a replacement for door-to-door evangelism. But in a winter-wonderland like the one we are enjoying this winter, it is very helpful to have these things in place, so that the wheels don’t stop in the inconveniently prohibitive times of year.

  3. January 23, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Good comments. I agree with the other kinds of evangelism too. I use the terminology “salt and light.” We can’t extinguish the light when we are done talking to people we’ve never seen before.

  4. Mike Hontz
    January 23, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Kent and others,

    Disclaimer: This is certainly not meant to be taken as a disagreement with anything that was written here or as an argumentative question. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with what Kent has said, although it is awfully hard to obey for me and I’ve not been nearly as faithful at this as I should be.

    Having said that, can you think of any good examples of a door-to-door approach to evangelism or something like that modeled anywhere in the NT? I can’t off hand. Yet I can think of several examples of Jesus and others witnessing to people whom they come into contact with, or in places like the synogogues or other public places. I certainly wouldn’t argue that if we don’t find specific examples in the Bible of door-to-door type approaches to evangelism that this implies that it isn’t an appropriate method for us today. I am merely thinking out loud and asking myself why we don’t find this method of evangelism int he Bible very often, but we do others. Maybe all of you have thought more about this than I. I look forward to your insights.

  5. January 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Mike,

    I believe you are right. Door-to-door evangelism is not found in the Bible. It is definitely not directly commanded anywhere. And, the ocurrances to the phrase house-to-house do not refer to evangelism either, though Paul taught the brethren in their own houses in Acts 20:20. I have heard more than one preacher try to teach door-to-door evangelism out of that verse. It’s just not there. You can ASSUME that the brethren invited their neighbors to hear Paul, and in that case you had a home-Bible-study, but not door-to-door evangelism.

    Having said that, Paul had the luxury of visiting the synagogue every Saturday to begin evangelism in a new town. He had a place where people congregate to get started. If you tried to find a place today in an American town where you could stand before a decent sized group of people who would sit or stand and listen to you preach the gospel, where would that be? If you go downtown or to a mall and start preaching, do people stop and listen? I believe the culture of Jesus’ and Paul’s day was such that they could stand on a street corner or in a plaza and get a crowd. It was an effective means of evangelism. Is it effective today. I think not.

    However, we still have the order to preach the gospel to every creature. How can we do that today when we can’t get crowds of people together to listen. We have to go where they are. When street evangelism lossed it’s effectiveness the gospel tract became a chosen method. Gospel tracts aren’t in the Scripture either, nor is radio, or TV. But, they are all methods that have been developed to help carry out a clear commission to get the gospel to every creature. Now we use the internet and advertising. These are all valid ways of getting the message out and fulfilling the Great Commission, though they are not found in the Bible.

    The question that has to be asked though is, is it effective? In many cultures around the world, door-to-door is outlawed and you can expect to go to jail. However, where it is not, it still serves to measure empirically how much we have done in getting the job done, and it is in many cases still fairly effective. It will always be more effective than sitting at home wishing some soul would knock on your door and ask to be saved.

  6. January 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks again for the comments.

    I would direct you to a good article that Thomas Ross has written, entitled The Biblical Mandate for House to House Evangelism. You’ll find it under the Ecclesiology section here:

    http://thross7.googlepages.com/home

    He has other good articles there as well for you to download and read.

    Above, I wrote:

    “We start with the first person and we work outward concentrically—Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, uttermost parts of the earth.”

    And,

    “So out of respect for Christ’s authority and out of love for Him, we must start with the first person and then keep going.”

    Then,

    “Have you been to preach the gospel to every person in your neighborhood?”

    I say all those before I mention door-to-door. But I also say this in defense of door-to-door:

    “It works at getting the gospel to every person. If you have a better way, then let me know.”

    I take door-to-door as an application of “every creature.” I think Brother Ross above adds good exegetical material.

    Thanks again.

  7. Bobby
    January 23, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Acts 5:42 seems to be door-to-door evangelism. The Lord told them to go to every creature and preach the Gospel. They apparently understood that to begin with preaching at the temple and in every house in Jerusalem. I don’t see how we can preach to every creature if we don’t do it systematically.

    Any thoughts on Acts 5:42?

  8. Gary Johnson
    January 23, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    You can always come up with endless reasons why to not go door to door. If you have a more effective way to get the job done in your community, then do that also. I once lived in an area that had a one block area where all buses stopped and riders made their transfers. You would have 10-12 minutes to preach, and around the rush hour you had hundreds of listeners. They had nothing else to do while waiting but listen. We even saw visitors attend church from this. If you want to preach the gospel, the Lord will direct you on ways to get the job done.
    Though I believe one should always include door to door in their efforts. It is that most systematic way of getting the job done. And yes weather can make it a bit more difficult. But it surprises me how many people will come outside and listen when it is 115 degrees.

  9. January 23, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I like the encouragement to evangelize, brethren. The Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit and I feel His joy in my spirit. Paul said His worship was the gospel (Rom.1:9).

  10. January 24, 2008 at 8:02 am

    This is one of the more helpful discussions… Thanks for it!

  11. January 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Good discussion. For those who may be interested, my pastor shared with us a little acrostic that helps think of what to say when you have the chance to chat with someone personally and hope to turn it into a converstation about Christ. It goes like this… F-O-R-M

    F – Family, everybody has family and most don’t mind talking about it.
    O – Occupation, most people like others to show interest in them and what they do.
    R – Religion, this gets to the touchy stuff, but if done right, it is the natural next step.
    M – Message, any one of the other topics will open the door for the gospel message of salvation in Christ.

    Just an idea. I have found this principle helpful many times.

  12. January 24, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I too have used “FORM” many times. It is a good way to lead into the gospel. I do believe we need to take advantage of all the oppurtunities the Lord puts before us. There will be many times when God puts people before us like the “women at the well” with Christ in John 4. I have dozens of stories of how the Lord used similar situations in my life. I just wonder how many more I have missed!

  13. January 24, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Is it true that some of the most seasoned personal witnesses get “the jitters”?

  14. January 24, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    I like to use S-L-A-P-S.

    S-mile
    L-ook at your watch
    A-ct incredulous
    P-ained Expressions
    S-lammed Door

  15. January 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    🙂 That definitely helps… Well, you know, now that you mention it… I have been asking the folks down here an interesting question. Do you know anybody who has ever been physically attacked or even slapped for preaching the gospel to them? This is interesting because so many are afraid to witness, but they don’t think about the worst that could possibly happen to them. I have stood toe to toe with a black muslim and invited him to kill me if he is so faithful to his religion. He didn’t know what to do. Now, I don’t recommend that. I must have lost my mind for a split second. But, the point is, what are we afraid of?

  16. Bobby
    January 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve had people threaten to shoot me if I didn’t get off their porch. One time a guy was hiding behind his door waiting for me to knock. When I did knock he jumped up and threw the door open with a yell. He was trying to scare me. One time in West Virginia (I was about 20 at the time) there was a group of young people that I was walking towards with the intention of giving them tracts and inviting them to a church meeting in which I was preaching. I heard the guys laughing and talking about smacking around “Mr. Suit and tie.” The Lord gave me boldness and I walked right into the circle and talked with them. The entire group of about 12 or so came to church that night and listened to me preach. Some of them had never been to a church in their life. They heard the Gospel preached that night. Praise the Lord!

    I witnessed to a “Hells Angel” once and he was very polite. The most impolite and hard people I have dealt with were upper middle to upper class types. The ones with spiked hair, chains, piercings, tattoos, motorcycle gang types, etc. usually are not rude. I’ve found women to be generally more rude than men.

    I’ve actually had fun with the thing of being dressed up and looking nice and going up to the meanest looking guy around and talking to him about the Lord. Usually I get to go further with those types. Mordechai Ham used to find out who the worst sinner and town was and target him first. He had some good results with that approach.

    These things are good to remember and discuss. It’s getting me cranked up to go out and talk to folks.

  17. January 24, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Amen!!!!

  18. Steve Bates
    January 30, 2008 at 10:50 am

    The question I ask to motivate myself/family/church is which do I fear the most 1) This one who will think me strange, ignorant and smirk at me OR 2) the shame at my Saviour’s probing questions when I will give an oral account of my life here (those opportunities missed/ignored, unwillingness to be “smirked” at)! It is NOT easy, but it is RIGHT and it is GOD’S WAY!

    As a side, I have 3 girls (8,7,5) I take them with me, usually one goes to the door with me the other may stay with my wife in the driveway (they are my assembling team/we have a copy of the Scriptures, Gospel plan, church brochure that we leave at doors unanswered and with everyone when we do leave), but my girls generally break the ice. They love to hand out the literature and nobody hardly refuses them. It sets many at ease! They are dressed like ladies and people get tired of the little girls looking like hookers/slobs/boys so they appreciate it I think. (A few have been furious that I have my “brainwashed” children out walking the streets of their neighborhood in temperatures/sometimes though they offer drinks, etc.) So, I have found that my children do help.

    But overall, yes, I agree…let us be faithful to the Word of God and preach the gospel to every creature in our Jerusalem. It’s the lifeline of any assembly.

    Steve Bates

  19. Gary Johnson
    February 2, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    This post encouraged me again this week. Thanks Bro. Kent. Just got back in from door knocking in that cold Arizona sunshine. We can easily be discouraged by the lack of visible results. But success is being allowed of God to give someone the gospel, and then by faith leave knowing the Spirit of God will take the scripture and work. It is rather humbling to think that the great God of heaven and earth would allow mere men to be his ambassadors.

    Keep at the work gentlemen, your labours will be rewarded!!!

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