Is door-to-door soulwinning worth it? I have been asked this question on several occasions. In short, yes. Though I cannot speak for every country and culture in the world, I can speak for two: the USA and Brazil. In both of these places, the Lord has clearly honored this simple way of getting out the gospel in my own life.
I suppose that in our cellphone culture, we might imagine that door-to-door evangelism only “works” if it is as instant and exact as tapping an app on the home-screen. We think it should work just like this: knock on the door (or clap before the gate in Brazil), give the gospel and lead the sinner to Christ, who shortly thereafter begins to attend church, is baptized and begins growing in Christ and serving in the church. That type of instant result is a rarity in my experience, but I still believe door-to-door is worth it and, in fact, works for the ultimate results that we desire—new believers serving Christ in the local church.
One of the greatest points that the Lord has kept before my mind is that His manner of honoring our evangelism may turn out to be different than we’d expect, and, in fact, He may do it in such a fashion that only He gets the glory, and not we. (We have fruit, for example, in our ministry that has come though not through our direct evangelistic efforts.) If He simply operated so that everyone who heard the sound of my voice should fall on his knees before Christ, I suppose I would be interpreted as some sort of Old Testament prophet. In fact, I would be even more than that, because not even they had such power of conviction upon human hearts. God just doesn’t do it that way. And, beyond that, the hearer of the gospel is just as responsible to respond as I am to preach. There will always exist those who simply reject Christ, in one way or another. (And, undoubtedly, there are those pockets of people in every community which, in general, are harder to reach. Let me emphasize though that within those communities there are yet people who if talked to will certainly respond positively to the gospel!)
Our little church here in Brazil most definitely has the fruit of door-to-door soulwinning. Just two weeks ago, for example, I had the privilege of baptizing a father and his two sons. How did we meet them? By going door-to-door soulwinning. It has taken over a year for them to get to this point. For months we held an evangelistic Bible study in their home. The boys’ parents, during this time, went through marriage trouble. I never knew what might come of it. God worked though, and through that little clapping of the hands at the gate, the mother first received Christ, was baptized and begin to attend the church, after the which the father and their boys.
That same day another man joined the church. His son had already joined. How did I meet them? In a very round about way, though door-to-door. Let me explain. One evening, going door-to-door we met a mother who happened to attend another church. She invited us in, and we had a wonderful talk. I attempted to set up an evangelism meeting at the school where she worked, but it fell through. She, nevertheless, never forgot about us. Several months later, her son, in his 20s, contacted me through Facebook because she had mentioned us to him. I had never met him before. He wanted to study English. I began to teach him. That went on for about a year. I went on furlough, and several months into it, I received a message from a friend of his. He had been looking for a strong, conservative church. We talked through things, and shortly after our return to Brazil, he joined our church. Then just a couple weeks ago, so did his father! If we had not done the simple door-to-door evangelism, this would never have happened. Both this father and son have been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to our congregation!
One of the most faithful couples in our church was reached through door-to-door soulwinning as well. After going to their door a few times, we established a weekly in-home Bible study in order to evangelize them. When a church building was secured they attended faithfully, but due to some various circumstances, they stopped coming. We were heartbroken, but never forgot about them, continued to pray for and visit them. Suddenly one Sunday they returned and have been faithful ever since! They have gone out of their way to love us and help us with the church here. We have deeply appreciated all their contribution to the ministry, which has all been possible because one day we did door-to-door evangelism.
Let me say though, that as much as I believe door-to-door evangelism works, we cannot reduce the entirety of Christian service down to it. I have seen this tragedy happen repeatedly. To avoid this error, therefore, we work to have special events in the church, we host in-home Bible studies, we pass out tracts while we are on the go, and do whatever we believe would honor the Lord and point people to Him throughout the community. We, furthermore, constantly encourage the people to go out of their way to speak to those they know about Christ, the Lord’s working in their lives, and, of course, our church. We have seen results from all of these various efforts.
I remember just a few weeks after arriving in this city (a city we knew very little about), I was getting our keys duplicated at the locksmith. He was a Seventh Day Adventist and wanted to talk religion and America with me. He also took a while on my keys. I ended up passing tracts out to each person that entered, as he talked with me. Eventually, the son of the mayor entered with is his friend. They were so happy to have our family in town, they took me around the city, just so I could get to know it better. From that little tract distribution effort, our first Bible study was born here. There were forty in attendance. That very same in-home Bible study exists to this day, though it has bounced around in locations since 2012.
The hard part about door-to-door soulwinning is that seeing immediate results which are also long-lasting are very rare. I am convinced, however, that God may very well stir someone else up in the city to visit the church, in honor to our faithful soulwinning, though we may have never spoken to this person before. We have been amazed at who has simply shown up on Sunday, and delighted as some of these newcomers have remained with us ever since their first visit. God be praised for this!
I do hope that this post from a little missionary in South America is a help and encouragement to someone out there. God loves sinners, and God loves you. No doubt, your efforts to win others to Christ will not go unnoticed by Him. You may not see results in the manner you would expect, but never let the devil convince you that your labor is in vain in the Lord. Your labor is never in vain in the Lord.