Presenting the Good News—Making Return Visits
1 An important part of the work that Jesus assigned to his followers was to make disciples. Not only did he say that “this good news of the kingdom will be preached,” but he also commanded: “Make disciples . . . teaching them.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) Are you sharing in this aspect of the Lord’s service? Would you like some suggestions on how to go about it?
2 The key to disciple-making is to spend time discussing the truth with people. The Bible reports that, on one occasion, Jesus invited two interested persons to his lodging at about 4 o’clock and spent the rest of that day with them. (John 1:39) Thereafter they traveled with him, being taught by him for a number of months before they were next back at their fishing business. (See Aid book, chart on page 928.) Soon they were very active proclaimers of the good news. In Ephesus, the apostle Paul made provision so that those who wanted to learn could spend time with him every day, if they so desired, to build up their knowledge of the truth. (Acts 19:9, 10) A fine congregation was formed there. We, too, will get results if we arrange to spend time with interested ones on a regular basis.
3 But you might say that you don’t have any return visits to make. Perhaps you do. A return visit on anyone who takes literature is usually appropriate. Also, a brother in California makes this interesting comment: “This month I have made arrangements on the initial call to come back and speak to 26 persons. What’s interesting to me is that 22 of them did not accept any literature! However, they were willing to express a view on a scripture I wrote down for them to look up in their Bible.” Why not try it?
4 In the case of publishers who do not make many return visits, they usually do not have a regular time for this activity. Do you? Instead of always covering more territory, it can be very fruitful to spend up to half of your witnessing time calling back on persons that you met before. Give priority to those who showed that most interest, but, as time permits, also call on those who showed just a little interest. You may do this on the same day that you go from house to house, or, on occasion, you may want to spend the full period of field service to make return visits. Do not neglect them.
5 When you meet an interested person, possibly in the house-to-house work, it is a good idea to lay the groundwork for your return visit. How? One of the most effective ways is by using a definite question. If the householder asks one, why not use that, promising to do some additional research and go over it with him on your next visit?
6 But perhaps the householder does not ask a question. Then what? You do it. A longtime pioneer in Alabama gets excellent results from asking questions himself. On his first call he may have been discussing the theme “Is This the World’s Last Generation?” When that has been answered, he says: “If this generation will see the world’s end, that raises some interesting questions: What will be on the other side of the end of the world? Will the ground be left? Will any humans live through this destruction?” In a letter this brother remarked: “At this point I end the discussion, with the householder hungry for the answer. So successful has this method been that some people have had us come back three or four times a week; others have prevented us from leaving the house until we gave the answer, one man even locking the door.”
7 Before you make your return call, prepare. Have a few scriptures in mind, but not the identical ones that you used on your first call. Don’t lay the foundation again: build on it. You can get good ideas from Bible Topics for Discussion. Be sure to pray for Jehovah’s spirit and for him to open wide the heart of the householder.—Acts 16:14.
8 You don’t have to figure out in advance every point you are going to cover; but it does help to know how you are going to get started. Have in mind (1) the householder’s name, (2) what you talked about last time, and (3) what scriptures you could use to cultivate further interest on a topic that appealed to the person. After greeting the person by name, you might say: “I’ve been thinking about you since we had that enjoyable conversation on the Bible last week and I hope you’ll have a few minutes so I can share what I’ve been reading about. [Mention the previously asked question or whatever topic you plan to use.] May I come in?”
9 If they say they are too busy, use discernment. You might reply: “I understand.” But then ask: “Could I have just one minute to share a thought before I go?” Most persons will agree. Then read one of the scriptures that you had in mind and comment on it. Keep it brief. Let them know that you had some other points to share, and arrange to call again. Often a number of brief calls are needed before the householder’s spiritual appetite begins to grow. Be patient.
10 In many areas the big problem is to find people at home. Don’t give up. Lives are at stake. Try the telephone. Write a letter. Leave a recent magazine in the door, perhaps with a personal note drawing attention to an article that you think will especially interest the householder. Sometimes after months of repeated efforts, fine studies have been started. Keep in mind that our work is not done when we have gone from door to door. Our commission is also to “make disciples . . . teaching them.”