You don’t live near a pier...or a popular park...or even a Starbucks. And by the time you’re able to go witnessing the colleges are closed and no kids are walking home from high school. Where is a people-lovin’ saint to go when wanting to reach out? The answer is—the local mall. Enjoy this practical wisdom from Allen Atzbi.
June 8, 2018
Summer is a wonderful time for swimming, BBQs, and air-conditioner-repair price gouging. But it could also be a tremendous time to reach every home in your area with the gospel!
You know, there is a reason all of our neighbors haven’t heard the gospel yet: we haven’t told them. This summer, why not make it your goal to change that? Invest an hour or two once a week into going door-to-door. When you’re done, you will have the joy and satisfaction of knowing that every single home in your area has had an encounter with the cross.
Here are some practical steps.
Set your goal.
If your church jumps in (feel free to pass this on to your pastor), and you have help, you could set a goal to reach every home within a couple (or more) mile radius around where your church meets. If this is solely a personal or family effort, you could aim to touch the lives of everyone in your neighborhood, housing community, or apartment complex. And if you’re in a safe area, this is a great opportunity to bring your kids along. Involve them in the outreach—they could extend an invitation to your church at the opening and give a tract at the ending, and by so doing, you’re training up your children in the way they should go. You’re instilling in them a love for their neighbor for a lifetime. Not to mention, having a kid along is seen as more welcoming, less “threatening,” and if there are kids in the household it’s another way to connect.
Make your plan.
While you could do this anytime of the year or ongoing throughout the year (which it could of course blossom into), setting a fixed timeframe makes it a bitesize one-time outreach. Short term events offer immediate gratification goals, which are easier to commit to. You could plan for this to be a “summer outreach” for two or three months; just 8 or so weekends out of the year. Set a regular day and time to go out each week. Don’t make it an intimidating time commitment or people won’t follow through. You could plan to go on Saturday mornings for an hour or two—late enough that you won’t wake people up, but not too late that you’ll miss folks as they head out for the day. A good time is between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Keep track of homes where you’ve been (you could print out a Google map), so you can avoid double-dipping and see what unreached homes remain. To avoid coming off intimidating, keep group sizes to pairs (Jesus thought it was a good idea; Luke 10:1).
“Explain the bad news that, like you, they’ve broken God’s Law and justly deserve Hell, and then share the breathtakingly good news of the cross and how they can be forgiven through repentance and faith in Christ.”
Determine your approach.
Think through what you’ll say and get anyone who is with you on the same page (you can do some role-play to prep). Aiming for a dialogue over a monologue, you could simply say, “Hi, I’m sorry to bug you on a Saturday morning. Hope your day is starting out great. My name is _____ and this is _____. We go to _______ Church. We’re strolling through the neighborhood inviting people to our church. Do you happen to go to a church in the area?” If they do, ask which one. If it’s a solid church, joyfully tell them that’s great and you’ve heard good things about it, and you’d hate to pull them out of it, and move on to sharing the gospel—there are multitudes of unsaved “Christians.” If they go to a mosque, Kingdom Hall, Catholic church, etc., with a warm and friendly smile you could say, “I hear you,” and tell them, “You know, if you like that house of worship, you might really love our church,” and extend an invitation card. “We’re right on the corner of 5th and Edinger, about two blocks away. It’s a really loving, inviting church, that faithfully teaches the Bible. We’d love to have you. Are you a spiritual person yourself? Would you consider yourself to be a good person? Here is the million-dollar question: Do you think you’re good enough to go to Heaven? There is a way you can know for sure, by looking at the Ten Commandments. Do you think you’ve kept them?” After going through a few (see why here), explain the bad news that, like you, they’ve broken God’s Law and justly deserve Hell, and then share the breathtakingly good news of the cross and how they can be forgiven through repentance and faith in Christ. Before you leave, always put a gospel tract in their hand. A tract reinforces and reminds them of what you said, and it also gets the gospel into that home so that other members of the household might read it too.
“You won’t be reaching every home in your area with the gospel if you only invite them to church. Church can’t save anyone; only the gospel is the power of God to salvation.”
Choose your parting gifts.
Many people won’t be home (or may pretend they’re not home), so think through what you want to leave on their doorstep. It’s the same thing you’d give them if they were home. At a minimum I’d suggest an invitation to your church and a gospel tract. You won’t be reaching every home in your area with the gospel if you only invite them to church. Church can’t save anyone; only the gospel is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16). Statistically we know most of those invited to church won’t come, and thus won’t hear the gospel in a service. This is your one chance to reach every home in your area, so make sure you strive to get the gospel into that home either verbally or through a tract. Many a soul has come to Christ through the printed page—for encouragement, you might enjoy reading “Why Use Gospel Tracts?”
- A printed invitation or flyer to your church (a business card works).
- Tracts such as the Million Dollar Bill, Are You a Good Person? comic, and What Is the Meaning of Life? are widely well-received.
- A booklet tract can offer a more detailed gospel presentation.
- Low-cost, outreach-oriented DVDs with a plastic doorhanger are winners. (Who doesn’t like getting a free movie?)
- Having a handful of tracts handy in Spanish and for children can prove useful.