A VISITING PROGRAMME RUN BY REDEEMER CHURCH IN CROYDON HAS OPENED THE DOOR TO UNEXPECTED GOSPEL ENCOUNTERS.
Redeemer Church already had a door-to-door ministry when Simon Knightly began work as a missionary in Croydon. Each week they’d go out to a different place and start conversations with people.
‘It’s fantastic that there was a heart to do that, and the pastor would lead the line on that brilliantly,’ says Simon. ‘But he just wasn’t able to give it the time to develop a real vision or strategy for it.’
After a few months Simon started to put some simple good practices in place, such as going methodically around the streets and revisiting people who had shown an interest in the gospel. Some would get a return visit in a few weeks, others in two or three months, depending on the level of interest shown. Simon’s desire is always to go from a cold call to a warm call, so that there’s some sort of relational connection there.
A pair from the church knocked on one older gentleman’s door and had a good Simon, ‘which is mixed in with the fact that he has Alzheimer’s and sometimes he can’t always remember conversations from the day before, even when they have felt very significant at the time.’
‘He finds it very frustrating because he’s actually a very intelligent man. He was a doctor and he’s well aware of what his capacity used to be. ‘Then sometimes his sentences just drop away, like his thoughts escape from him mid-sentence and he just can’t remember what he’s saying. ‘You might ask what’s the point of doing four months of Bible studies when he can’t remember most of it? ‘But that way of thinking is not God’s heart is it? I’m trusting that God can work in and through his illness. ‘God’s love for those people is the same regardless of the conditions or illness they have. He is able to work in those people just as much, and so it’s a question of being willing to minister when you can’t necessarily see fruit from it. ‘With this man, it was clear that God was doing something with him. That’s when I started investing time with him. ‘It’s fundamentally coming from the conviction that every person is precious to God. That’s where it starts. Our approach has been to marry a strategy with a sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit is doing.’