Ministers of Good News at Your Door
GOOD news at your front door! That is what Jesus Christ prophesied for these critical times. “Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and take the evening meal with him and he with me.” True Christian ministers make a like approach to the people “because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely”.—Rev. 3:20; 1 Pet. 2:21, NW.
Who are the ministers of good news? Jesus predicted today’s unparalleled woes and bad news, but simultaneously said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14, NW) Necessarily, the witnesses of the birth of Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ would be Jehovah’s witnesses. Some will want us to leave it to Christendom’s more than 250 sects to declare the message. But how can they, when they ridicule its timeliness, persecute its preachers, and teach unscriptural doctrines in its stead? And how many would hear it if it were left confined to the four walls of an orthodox sectarian cathedral or “church” building? In the United States, 1950 statistics, which were considered high, revealed that only fifty-seven per cent of the population was enrolled in church membership. This leaves some 65,000,000 persons unaccounted for, and when those that attend church only very irregularly are included, it is safe to say that from seventy to one hundred million in this country alone are not adequately reached. Yet all the spiritually needy over the earth have pulpits ready and waiting for a minister to arrive, step in and preach to them. Unbelievable? No, these pulpits are their own front doorways!
Surprised moderns need not voice amazement at the appearance of God’s ministers at their doors. Jehovah commissioned his pre-Christian prophets for such style of preaching. Faithful Isaiah was told to keep at it until the locale of his activity was desolated, “until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses without man.” A mighty message through Ezekiel resounded “by the walls and in the doors of the houses”. With good authority, then, Jesus sent his early followers to the homes with a message that would divide the inhabitants, adding: “If the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it.” And he personally took the lead, “from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.”—Isa. 6:11; Ezek. 33:30, AS; Matt. 10:11-13; Luke 8:1, NW.
In his general witness work Jesus called at the homes of “all kinds of men”, “to seek and to save what was lost.” He invited himself to Zacchaeus’ home and, after that chief tax collector had accepted his message, said: “This day salvation has come to this house.” At a certain ruler’s house he restored that one’s daughter from death. He sent orders to an army officer’s abode to heal his slave. A “woman named Martha received him as guest into the house”, where Jesus found her sister Mary to be very much interested, for she “sat down at the feet of the Master and kept listening to his word”. Martha’s anxiety over material things Jesus here said was in vain, proving that the spiritual provisions he served were always the motivating purpose of his calls.—Luke 19:5-10; Matt. 9:23-26; Luke 7:2-10; 10:38-42, NW.
So it would appear that house-to-house work was meant again when, following the outpouring of the holy spirit at the feast of Pentecost, A.D. 33, the disciples were described “continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house”. (Acts 2:46) Certainly we know that Jesus’ followers expanded the private home ministry to marvelous limits after his death and resurrection. Despite warning from the authorities to cease, “every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42, NW) Paul tells how anxious he was to discharge his apostleship in a thorough manner. Note the means he used to ensure this: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.”—Acts 20:20, NW.
How natural in view of all this that, with the immense task of preaching the good news of the Kingdom throughout the earth in this complex modern world, Jehovah’s organization should lean so heavily on the age-old Scriptural door-to-door ministry! Difficult as the task is even with this help, it would be impossible without it. Still there are problems to be overcome in doing this work effectively. Just how we will now consider.