Preaching Effectively at the Doors
WHAT brings the minister of good news to the door? To find the Right Shepherd’s “other sheep”, a unique and blessed pursuit. If for his public lectures God’s minister prepares earnestly, should he not prepare equally well for the task of confronting each door in a manner much more intimate than is possible with any one of the listeners in a public hall? As the Right Shepherd’s representative he should be a pleasing example, able to relay the Shepherd’s voice without distortion.
The exemplary apostle Paul, in his effort to reach all and not stumble any by his message, said: “For, though I am free from all persons, I have made myself the slave to all, that I may gain the most persons. And so to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those under law I became as under law, . . . I have become all things to people of all kinds, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Cor. 9:19, 20, 22, NW) This does not mean to affect a false front of superficial worldly wisdom to impress the intellectual. The real sheep will be weary of such vain speculations anyway and will welcome God’s wisdom as a refreshing change. In it they will recognize the voice of, no, not you, but the “right shepherd”. (John 10:14, NW) Furthermore, such persons are in need of far more than mere mental exercise. They need what false religion and worldly philosophy have not given them; they need love, sympathy, understanding. Given these, those disposed to be sheeplike will respond. They will see your sincerity and open their minds. The good news will have been successfully introduced.
Still, weightier matters of Bible truth and argument must follow. The Christian minister’s appeal should consistently be to the mind rather than to the emotions of the householder. The most sincere of listeners will likely have some question or objection that must be removed before further progress can be made. If we can combine adequate and ready answers with sincerity and warmth of decorum, we will have fashioned a twofold weapon for effective use of “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word”. (Eph. 6:17, NW) True, many initial objections are stock phrases used to rid the doorway of pests and peddlers. Often these can be ignored, the weight of the Kingdom message speaking for itself and clearing up any question as to the minister’s purpose in calling. But more often the seemingly minor plaints must be dealt with. In doing so be brief, escaping an argument over incidentals, not fumbling the opportunity to proceed into more constructive Scriptural teachings.
A few of the commoner objections presented to the house-to-house minister follow. The answers given may not always be appropriate and they should not be memorized. They only illustrate possibilities. Far more effective will be the minister’s own words with sincere conviction, and especially a good knowledge of the Bible literature he is presenting, keeping in mind points it covers that are helpful in meeting various arguments.
TURNING ASIDE OBJECTIONS TO THE MINISTRY
Householder: The Bible is all I need.
Publisher: Not quite. You also need God’s spirit, for without that you could never understand the Bible. Many Bible writers could not understand what they had written because God’s spirit that inspired the writing had not yet opened those prophecies for understanding. Today many prophecies are being fulfilled and the Bible is widely distributed, but God’s spirit is still active; it will yet assist those who seek the mind of the Lord. You are wise in obtaining a Bible. Be equally wise in accepting a God-given help to understand it.
Householder: I have my own church.
Publisher: True, you have your own church, your neighbor on the right has his own church, and your neighbor on the left has her own church. It is also true that Christ Jesus has his own church. Is your church his church? Can you prove it by the Bible?
Or to this one might also say: Nor would I seek to force your conversion from yours to another sect. But surely your church can stand to have a better Bible student in its midst. Our literature is nonsectarian and will acquaint you with the Bible, not another sect.
Householder: You are against religion.
Publisher: Hardly that, since by occupation I am a minister of religion. Of course, I do not subscribe to every religious doctrine. Neither do you. In Jesus’ day only one group claimed Christianity; today more than 250 sects make this claim. Obviously some must be wrong in some way. We are simply engaged in reestablishing the beliefs of the one true religion. From what you say, I believe this would interest you.
Householder: I am a Catholic.
Publisher: Then we have a very important point in common. I know from experience that Catholics do not believe in sectarianism, and neither do Jehovah’s witnesses. We both know that Christ founded only one true church, not hundreds. Our work seeks to educate Christians to the Scriptural idea of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. I wonder if you would like to consider the Bible proof we have found.
Householder: I am a Jew.
Publisher: Splendid. I find consulting with Jewish persons to be an invaluable aid in the work I am doing. You see, like you we are opposed to all intolerance. And we feel the real hope for defeating that menace is the acceptance of the true worship of Jehovah God. The ancient Jewish nation was in a special covenant with Jehovah. Its prophets sounded God’s messages and recorded them under divine inspiration. Today those prophecies are being explained and we feel that united belief in their common hope for all mankind will remedy all disunity and intolerance.
Householder: You are against the government.
Publisher: No, I am against only corrupt government, and, of course, I suppose you are too. But in our study of the causes for corruption in government we find the Scriptural reason for a general lack of integrity in human rule and the reason for its many failures. Please look into this publication for the cause and the solution.
Householder: I am too busy.
Publisher: Then do not allow me to consume your time just now. I know what it means to handle my own secular work, household duties and still do this preaching, and I do not like to be bothered when occupied either. However, please accept this sample copy of one of our magazines. You undoubtedly acquire timesavers for your other important tasks, things you feel you must get done. Bible study is really our greatest necessity, since we claim to be Christians; and you will find our literature an invaluable timesaver in this. May I inquire what time might be suitable for me to call again when you would not be so busy?
Householder: I am not interested.
Publisher: I hope you will not think me presumptuous if I say you might be interested in a question nearly all your neighbors have asked me: “Why are there so many religions and which one is right?” This publication traces religious history back to the time when there was but one religion and it helps you identify the religion that God started for man.
Many easier methods of preaching the “good news of the kingdom” than from door to door can be found; but there is none other more essential, none so varied, nor any more joyous. True, it means meeting the scoffer face to face, but this yields the privilege of sharing in the great marking work foretold by Ezekiel. (Ezek. 9) On the other hand, when the sheeplike persons invite you into their homes for Bible study and they come to learn the truth and side with those whose hope is everlasting life in the new world, how they will thank you for coming and how glad they will be that they did not claim to be too self-sufficient, too busy, too sick, too tired, too much opposed or too little interested to hear and accept the only truly good news today!