Door-door- Evangelism: Is it Effective?

I have been doing some research on evangelistic outreach.  In doing so, I posed the question for my search, “Does door-to-door team evangelism work?”  This is somewhat of a loaded question, because it really centers on what “works” in the question means.  Is it effective?  Will people respond to someone coming to the door to share the gospel, give them a tract, or invite them to church?  Ah!  What do these corollary questions have it common?  The share a common viewpoint.  We can measure effectiveness from our viewpoint or God’s.  Can we persuade people to come to Christ?  Actually no.  Faith in Christ for salvation is a spiritual decision and therefore requires spiritual renewal for that decision.

Paul wrote in Romans 3:10-11 with a quote from the Old Testament, “None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” If then no one seeks for God, what causes a person to place faith in Christ?  Good question.  According to this passage, all people are intent on turning away from God, because they reject God.  No one is willing to come to God.  Paul again answers that question several chapters later where he wrote, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).  The power of spiritual conversion is the word of God.  Notice the cause and effect in this passage.  The cause is hearing the word of God, while the response is faith.  The word of God awakens the spirit to respond to Christ through faith.

So, what makes our evangelism efforts by any means effective?  Give out the word of God by any means.  It is our most valuable and powerful tool.  Hebrews 4:12-13 affirms this, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and a discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” 

Let me return to the original question, “Does door-to-door team evangelism work?”  It does not work if we believe we are the causal agents for someone responding to us positively or someone coming to Christ.  If we consider effectiveness from our resources to persuade people or even receive a positive response, the answer is no.  If it is yes, then why do we pray?  If we believe a response requires God’s work in the heart through His word and corresponding power of the Holy Spirit to bring about even the most modest change, then the answer is an unqualified YES.  We walk by faith and leave the results to God.  Human initiatives fail to render divine results.  Only God can produce divine results.  Therefore, the effectiveness of any evangelistic means is yes if we believe the Scriptures that the “gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes…(Romans 1:16) and “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).  There is nothing more sure in life for salvation than the word of God.

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: How to Get Along with and Minister to Church Members

In the opening of this letter, Paul reveals the source of confidence about the Philippian church,

“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

This statement is the core truth of the entire letter. He not only begins this truth at the outset of the letter, but he also returns to it in 3:20-21,

“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

Examine the parallel of the two passages:

  1. Both speak of “the day of Jesus Christ.”
  2. Both allude not only to what Jesus is doing now but also what He will do
  3. Both discuss completion of Christ’s work with us

The phrase “the day” appears three times in this letter. This phrase takes us back to the prophets and their prophecies of the conclusion of all things and God’s restoration of all things (Ezekiel 39:8; Zechariah 4; 12-14; Micah 4:6; Amos 9:11-15). This day is also known as “the day of the LORD.” It is that day of which Paul speaks.

Paul opens this letter with this great hope in mind. It spurred him as he addressed this church faced with divisions and false teachers who grew from within the ranks of the church.  Paul uses words as grace, peace, joy, fellowship, and confident.  They are words of eternal significance, and Paul wanted to get across the vision of eternity and what it means to live with eternity in mind.

One of the means through which Paul sought to convey Christ and eternity before the Philippians was through the agency of the mind. In opening chapter two, Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus…” (2:5). In chapter three, Paul again calls attention to the mind as the place where one contemplates the characteristics of eternity, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (4:8). These are eternal characteristics.

Such thinking is what Johannes Kepler said, “I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.” Such thinking brings us to realize true humility, because as we contemplate the incarnation, we realize the greatest example of humility realized in Jesus. This humility serves to place a check on divisiveness, squabbles, fighting, and quarrels. We realize that such humility does not come easy especially in the face of the temptations of pride and self-recognition. Paul’s divinely inspired advice and portrayals of Christ and eternity teaches us to hold the portrait of Christ’s humility before us, because it is in His image we will find completion in the day of Jesus Christ (3:21).