As Christians we want to reach out to all areas of our community – across cultures and social classes, to those neighbours we don’t know, as well as the friends we do.
The challenge though, is how to engage with the community when people are hidden behind their front doors.
Has door-to-door had its day?
Knocking on doors can seem old fashioned, but for us it's a vital approach.
So often psychological and social barriers prevent people from entering into a church building. By regularly visiting people where they are, relationships can be formed and barriers brought down.
Emmanuel Gill works with Good News Church Harrow, organising their outreach activities. Part of his role, along with volunteers from the church, is to knock on the doors of local homes, get to know residents and invite them to activities at church.
As people that Emmanuel meets on the doors come along to some of the activities, volunteers are able to get to know them and build a trusting relationship. Out of that, conversations of faith are had and people invited to other events at the church.
It’s all about building relationships with people, it’s important to give time to create trusting friendships and to bring people on a journey. It’s a great encouragement to see people grow in their faith and improve their relationship with Jesus as a result.
Top Tips from Emmanuel
- Don't worry about getting difficult questions from people - be honest and say you hadn’t thought of that but that you will find out and come back to them.
- Don’t try to visit everyone in your town - mark out an area to focus on and keep going back to those homes maybe 3-4 times a year so that people can get to know you.
- Initially it’s a good idea to introduce yourself and where you are from - hand out a leaflet of activities or a special event that your church is holding and invite them along.
- In subsequent visits you could ask the people you meet to fill in a questionnaire concentrating on community needs – for example, how many people live in the house, do they have children, is there anything they would like the church to do for them, do they believe in God etc.
- Not everyone in your church will get involved in going door-to-door - encourage them to pray for the conversations, the people in a particular road and the spiritual renewal of the community. This is an essential part of the work.
Adapted from an article first published in Inspire Magazine (print edition 98)