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June 20, 2006

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This is a rare moment Chris, but I have to disagree with you.

Churches are so internally focused that the efforts of these men should be encouraged. They'll have lots of doors slammed in their faces. Why should it be encouraged? They're on a journey. They know the church has failed and they're trying to reach out the best way they know how. If they're encouraged on that journey, then mayb - somehow God will move them to other approaches, maybe even change their mindset from evangelism minded to being missionally minded. So my short answer is - I think you were over the top. As a Christian, you could have encouraged them and maybe opened up their eyes to other ways - as it was they probably just left and said to themselves they were going to "shake the dust" off their feet.

My journey took me from annoying street preaching and some door to door stuff - which I hated by the way - to where I am now - loving and reaching out to homeless and hurting people - as well as my work place. I was and am still a work in progress. They probably are too.

I had a friend who wanted to start a church in a town where he knew nobody. He started by going around in his neighborhood and asking people if they went to church. If they responded in the negative then he asked them what they would want in a church. After listening he told them he was interested in starting a church and was trying to find out what the community needed and wanted in a church. I hate door knocking and have always been dismissive of it, but I thought his approach was pretty good and I know it was genuine.

Chris,

Why would you not have respect for people that were at least walking the walk, even if you think its an old road?

Do you think door to door evangelism = apathy in disciple-ship?

I would have to agree with all the above comments. Praise the Lord for people stepping out of their comfort zone and on a mission to save people. That is supposed to be all of our jobs as Christians.

I am not much for door to door knockers either, but being kind and encouraging them is certainly what Jesus would have done.

I think you were taken aback because they were wearing dress shirts and ties...paleeeeeeze, that makes our faith look so old-fashioned!

"Churches are so internally focused that the efforts of these men should be encouraged. "

John, I'll agree that many churches are far too internally focused, as you've pointed out. The church must be committed to living incarnationally within the culture in which it finds itself. I guess I just don't see knocking on doors as very "incarnational". Admittedly, I admire the conviction and boldness that it takes for these two men to knock on doors, but I'm a lot more interested in how they live out their faith in the midst of coworkers, neighbors, and family members.

Redemptively, I concede that God is able to use the efforts of these two in bringing some people to faith. But is there a better way? I believe there is.

"After listening he told them he was interested in starting a church and was trying to find out what the community needed and wanted in a church."

willc -- it seems to me that your friend was being respectful in his approach, and not pushy or presumptuous. Thanks for sharing this.

Seraphim, I guess I don't see door-to-door evangelism as "walking the walk". Feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, reaching out to widows, getting involved in the lives of the marginalized -- these are the "real" doors that we should be knocking on, and thereby earning the opportunities to share the good news about Jesus with people, and inviting them to join us in the journey of discipleship.

Seraphim, I guess I don't see door-to-door evangelism as "walking the walk". Feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, reaching out to widows, getting involved in the lives of the marginalized -- these are the "real" doors that we should be knocking on, and thereby earning the opportunities to share the good news about Jesus with people, and inviting them to join us in the journey of discipleship.

Amen

It does seem that some people think the point of being a Christian is to convince other people to say certain words that make them part of the club, so that the can convince other people to say certain words that make them part of the club . . . and so on. Oh and going to clubhouse/church on Sunday and putting some money on the plate is another important part of it.

They're on a journey. They know the church has failed...
Wow, that's very presumptuous.

Chris, as willc said, I think it matters how you do it. Someone who wants to invite people to church, and thereby also give people a chance to talk/ask questions/rant about Christianity... that may be overdone, but why not? You may meet people in the community who are not in your normal circle. Some of those people may not have Christians in their acquaintance.

The assumption seems to be here that this church is not feeding the poor or reaching out to widows (some of whose doors they may have knocked on?). Do we know this?

"but being kind and encouraging them is certainly what Jesus would have done."

Michelle, I'm glad you mentioned this. I was concerned about this because of my daughters initial comments to me. And although my initial reaction was certainly "reactionary", I did in fact enjoy talking with these two men. One of them had commented about how difficult it is to have an impact on family members, which led to some meaningful sharing about my wife's and my own efforts with family members. The front porch conversation ended with the exchange of genuine and heartfelt words of blessing.

Could I have, should I have "encouraged" them differently? I don't know.

What would have Jesus done? Probably invited them in for dinner and table fellowship.

"You may meet people in the community who are not in your normal circle. Some of those people may not have Christians in their acquaintance."

Gina, this is a great point. I guess I'm seeing an important difference between sharing the good news with people we encounter out in the community and walking up to someone's door. Part of my aversion may stem from the value I see people in our culture placing on private space. Our cultural reality today -- and maybe even especially in Southern California -- is not at all what it was 3,4,5 decades ago. Because of that, our evangelistic efforts need serious reconsideration.

"The assumption seems to be here that this church is not feeding the poor or reaching out to widows (some of whose doors they may have knocked on?). Do we know this?"

I wouldn't make that assumption. And, in fact, this particular church IS reaching out to our community in other ways. My contrasting comments were purely principle-related, and not in any way a direct criticism. If I communicated otherwise, please forgive.

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