Walking from house to house in a neighborhood preaching the gospel is what is typically known as door to door evangelism. Some refer to is as house to house evangelism.
This is one of the methods of evangelism that date back to the time of Jesus. When Jesus was sending out His disciples, He advised them to enter and stay in houses where they were welcomed. In houses where they were not welcomed, He advised them to shed off the dust of their feet and move on.
Shedding off the dust of their feet was to be a witness against the households that rejected the gospel. Just as the angel of death would kill firstborns in households that didn’t have blood on their doorposts during the Passover, households that reject the gospel shall be destroyed with the dust from the feet of the evangelists being a witness against them.
How will a household argue that they never heard the message of salvation when there is the dust of the evangelists at their doorstep?
This is why Jesus added and said that it will be better for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for a city that rejects the good news.
From this emphasis, we see just how important door to door evangelism is.
How Effective is Door to Door Evangelism?
Other forms of evangelism such as street evangelism are meant to warm up people to the message of salvation. But door to door evangelism is the last effort in trying to win someone to Christ.
If someone rejects the message of the cross even after it has been brought to his house, what else can be done?
While on the street, someone who doesn’t listen to the message of salvation can say he is busy with his business. But what excuse does someone who refuses to listen to the gospel when it is brought to his house have?
A number of people have argued that door to door evangelism is not effective. Some say that the era of door to door evangelism is past. But the reality of the matter is that door to door evangelism is necessary until the day Christ returns.
With door to door evangelism, the aim is not to reach to masses but rather to give a ‘final appeal’ to members of the households you visit.
Door to door evangelism is slow and tedious. It also has a significant level of challenges. In the end, it may not bring as many converts as other forms of evangelism. But that is exactly why it is very important.
The effectiveness of the house to house evangelism lies in the details. The goal is quality rather than quantity.
Biblical Example of Door to Door Evangelism
One of the best examples of door to door evangelism in the Bible is the story of Elijah when God sent him to the woman at Zarephath. The woman didn’t have enough food but because she welcomed the man of God, her flour and oil miraculously never ran out until the day God sent rain in Israel.
While the man of God was staying at her house, her son died. Elijah raised the son of the widow at Zarephath back to life.
It is very obvious that the life of the widow at Zarephath transformed during the time the man of God was staying there. That is the exact model of door to door evangelism.
An evangelist is expected to stay in one house for as long as it is necessary until the entire household has received salvation.
Most of the door to door evangelism today is reduced to knocking on a door, speaking a few words of encouragement and then moving to the next house.
The goal should be to stay in one house until there is a transformation before moving to the next.
Door to Door Evangelism Statistics
I have participated in a number of door to door evangelism sessions. Though I have no official numbers, I have personally noticed that people pay more attention to the gospel when you take it to their house compared to when you preach to them on the street or in church.
When you are in someone’s house, they can’t walk away when you start rebuking them for being lukewarm. People also want to show that they give warm welcomes to their visitors. This makes them gentle and easy to talk to.
In church, you can pray that God provides for a person but when you are in their house and you see that they have no food at all, you get another level of compassion.
There are many details you get when you go into the house of someone to preach the gospel. The details are important in guiding you how to approach the ministration.
The Advantage of Door to Door Evangelism
Door to door evangelism has a number of advantages but by far the most important one is the intimacy part of it. When someone goes to church, they will hear the message and may relate to it. But when the gospel comes to their door step, they feel honored and it goes deep into their hearts.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus says that He is standing at the door knocking and that anyone who will open, He will come in and dine with him.
Door to door evangelism comes with a level of intimacy that makes a person take the gospel seriously. While in church we may pray for marriages to be stable, in door to door missions we have an opportunity to see the actual problem of the marriage.
There is a lot more we can offer to people in door to door evangelism than other forms of evangelism. The people who receive salvation during a door to door mission have every reason to be strong believers.
Remember the story of the guard who was watching over Paul and Silas when there was an earthquake and the doors of the prison opened? His life and that of his family were transformed. The experience was so personal that he could not resist but believe the gospel.
The Challenge of Door to Door Evangelism
Door to door evangelism is a great way to reach out to people with the gospel. But it comes with one huge challenge; getting the right people to do it.
Evangelism on its own is not easy. Add on it the care that must be taken when going to someone’s house and it becomes even tougher.
While preaching in church, you have full authority. When you go to preach to someone in his house, the person has authority over you.
It takes good inter-personal skills to have a successful door to door evangelism. With the skillset bar raised so high, not many people are wise enough to conduct a successful door to door evangelism.
How many people have the boldness to rebuke someone in his own house?
If the owner of the house gives a warm welcome to an evangelist, there is a tendency for the evangelist to try and please the owner of the house even if the owner needs to be rebuked. In the end, the owner of the house does not get the truth.
On the their hand, if the owner of the house gives the person evangelizing a cold welcome, the evangelist is more likely to take offence and corrupt the message of love.
I have witnessed some missioners get discouraged because the owner of the home gave them a cold welcome.
Getting the right skills to carry out a successful door to door evangelism is the hard part. Overcoming the fear of walking into a stranger’s house and speaking your mind is a challenge.
Is Door to Door Evangelism Legal?
Walking to people’s houses preaching the good news of Christ is not illegal unless you are entering someone’s home without their permission.
If that happens, then according to the law of the land, you are trespassing. While some may say there is no problem with trespassing provided you preach the true gospel, that is being unwise.
Remember when Jesus was sending out disciples to preach He instructed them to be as gentle as doves but as shrewd as serpents.
From my understanding of shrewdness, we are to keep the law of the land but at the same time get into people’s homes even when they don’t want us.
Serpents don’t ask for permission to enter people’s homes. Even someone who locks his door diligently can still find a serpent in his house.
The same way serpents enter people’s homes mysteriously and without violence, we supposed to enter the homes of people to preach Christ.
A door to door evangelist spots a child playing on the road. He takes candy from his bag and gives to the child. Then he asks the child to take him to say hi to his mom.
The kid takes the evangelist to their house and calls his mom. The evangelist has found his way into a house without asking for permission from the owners and yet he has not trespassed.
There are unlimited wise ways that you can use to get into people’s homes without being annoying or the traditional knocking on doors.
But as far as the law of the land is concerned, door to door evangelism is not equal to trespassing.
Door to Door Evangelism Tips
Acknowledge House Owner’s Authority
When you first get into someone’s house, make sure you acknowledge the authority he has over you. You can acknowledge verbally or through subtle communication.
If you are welcomed into a house and you ask if you can sit, it shows that you honor the authority the owner of the house has over you.
This is the first step to being ‘shrewd as a serpent’ during door to door evangelism. Remember when Jesus said that a man cannot enter a strongman’s house unless he first subdues the strongman.
The authority that the owner of the house you are entering has is strength that you must first subdue before you get into the business of preaching the gospel.
When Jesus came on earth, He offered Himself into the hands of men. Men crucified Him but they didn’t know that He was gaining authority over them through that crucifixion.
Likewise, when you submit to the authority of the owner of the house you have entered, you are gaining power over them.
Once the owner sees no threat of being overthrown in his own house, you can begin sharing the gospel. Every once in a while assure the owner that he is still in-charge.
You can do so by incorporating statements like ‘The same way you gave me permission to come into your house, Jesus is waiting for your permission to come into your life’.
Mention God being the Owner of All things
After you have settled in the house, gently take away power from the owner of the house. Bring out the perspective of God being the owner of all things.
It is difficult to preach when someone has power to drive you out at any point. Let the owner of the house know that though he owns the house, God owns the earth on which that house is established.
Let him know that though he owns the building, God owns his body. And then introduce yourself as God’s messenger of good news.
That will automatically tell the person that if he mistreats you, your master, who has power over the earth and over the body of the owner of the house, will be angry.
This will allow you to preach freely the truth of the gospel without fearing being thrown out.
Add Value to the Home
At the end of the day, the goal of entering someone’s house is to make it a better place than you found it. A door to door mission gives you an opportunity to do good to a household. When you are given the opportunity, do not disappoint.
In the wisdom that God has given you, be of help to that household. It is pointless if you get access to someone’s house and you have nothing good to offer.
This is why you must first go to God to load you with good gifts before going to people’s homes. When Elijah was living with the widow at Zarephath, her flour and oil never ran out.
That was tangible value that the woman couldn’t help but rejoice over. The good news of Jesus by itself is great value if you present it in its purest form.
Whatever good that God has deposited in you, give it to the household that welcomes you. Make the session memorable.
I once went to a door to door mission and in one of the houses we went into, there was a sick girl lying on the bed. After preaching, we prayed for her to get well.
Later that day, the girl received healing, rose up from her bed, cooked a meal and invited us to eat. The joy of the healing was evident all over her face.
The invitation provided an even greater opportunity to share more of Christ.
In door to door evangelism, always remember that providing value matters a lot.