I have some crazy friends. Just got off the phone with my best friend, John Crissman. He said, “Gotta go. Just drove up on an accident. Need to call 911 and go pray with some people…” You need people like that in your life.
But wait there’s more crazy people in my life. A few weeks ago Michael Crouch asked me something in our LTG (Life Transformation Group. Check it out at www.cmaresources.org ). I am not sure what we were talking about that led to this, but Michael said, “Do you know anyone who does door-to-door evangelism?” Seth, our other partner fake-coughs and points at me. Michael asked, “so when do we go?”
Today, we got our act together and headed out. Before we left, I gave a few pointers, answered a few questions he had. Here are some basics. When you go door-to-door during the day, you won’t meet as many people as on an evening or on a weekend. You’re trying to get out as many cards with your church info as you can. And you come back later, evenings or weekends, and people remember that you came by.
Michael asked, “does anyone invite you into their house?”
“not very often. Usually when they do, they are Christians who are amazed and thankful that there are people out there doing visitation.”
I mentioned that we are also trying to form relationships, to look for ways that the Gospel touches a need in their lives (think Paul in Athens, Acts 17). I like to ask people if I can pray for them, and if they are cool with it, to pray right there on the spot. It means a lot to people, and it gives you something to talk about when you come back, because you will go back, right? RIGHT? RIGHT!
So. We go out armed with some great cards Debbie Perry made us and a pile of tracts that Phyliis Varnado got for me. Tracts? you say. Yes. “Do they work?” you ask. My response: I don’t do anything that doesn’t work. It’s why I go door-to-door. Because it works. And I took a vow to do it. All Methodist pastors take that vow. But that's another story for another time.
We find a lot of people not home. So we leave a card with church info. We run into a few people who go to the Christian Church. I meet Sue Wells’ nephew. Isn’t it funny how Sue fits into so many of my evangelism stories!?
This was a great day because we got the door shut in our faces by someone who claims atheism. I was glad that Michael got a little taste of how it goes sometimes.
And the best… we run into Craig Melzer, who flings open the door and angrily asks what we are selling. I don’t know if it shocked Michael, but I think he was happy I knew Craig and that he was just joking!
I find that Michael is really gifted in keeping conversations going on the front porch! I mentioned that to him, and he says it’s like a recruiting visit (he is a college coach). He says you just have to get over the jitters.
Michael watches a little. Then he says, “I think I have the hang of this, let me try.” At this point, I have a tear in my eye. How awesome is that—he wants into this evangelism gig bad! And he does really well. So I just hand it over to him for the rest of the visits.
At the end, we have the best evangelism visit I remember in a loooooong time. We knock and a voice hollers, “Come in!” We open the door and there’s a guy on the couch who is surprised to see us. “I thought you were my friends!” I said, “we want to be your friends.” And he invites us in.
Turns out he is from Saudi Arabia, studying at the university. He has a soccer jersey on his wall that looks like Borussia Dortmund’s, so I ask about it and it is actually for his favorite team in Saudi. Michael opens up some conversation about faith and the young man says he is a Muslim. Michael says he has started reading the Koran, and has finished the first chapter, “The Cow,” and the young man is impressed and happy that we care. We talk a bit about Jesus in the Koran, and I ask if he has read the “Injeel,” Arabic for the “evangel” or Good News. He has a little bit. He mentions that “Christians think Jesus is something like God, but Muslims believe there is only one God.” Michael suggested that he read the New Testament to see what Jesus has to say for Himself. We encountered what I have heard is a common objection Muslims have—that the New Testament, because of translation has been corrupted. I think we will be back. And we hope to form a great friendship with this guy. Michael and I have both been impressed by Muslims’ willingness to talk about serious issues—way more than the average Americans. I wish, in retrospect, that we had not gotten sidetracked on apologetics issues and had been clear about the Good News. I think we were blown away that we got invited into a house, and that our new friend was so happy to talk.
As we walked back to the church, Michael gave me some grief: “I thought you said we wouldn’t get invited in to anyone’s house.”
So in a few weeks, Michael and I will hit the same streets again one evening or on a weekend, hopefully to talk with pray for, and hopefully get the chance to share the Gospel with some of the people in our town!