There was a time when people sat on their front porches as the evening grew cool and talked to their neighbors and watched as kids played in the street. Times have changes, people have changed, there are better options for entertainment, etc. Whatever the case is, this just doesn’t happen often today. Instead people build big decks and patios behind their houses and relax in solitude where they can’t be bothered.
This brings me to my point. Showing up unannounced and uninvited on a stranger’s doorstep is perceived as a serious invasion of privacy today. If the door isn’t immediately slammed in our face, anyone we speak to is immediately closed off to what we have today say. Perhaps a person may feign interest but only in order to not be considered rude.
Just about everyone is familiar with the work of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When was the last time you were happy to see one on your doorstep? Fairly or unfairly any Christian door to door evangelism is going to be lumped into the same group with the work of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Now it can be argued that at least door to door evangelism is making an attempt and is doing something evangelistic. But what has been gained through all of the evangelistic efforts of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? They are known for going door to door. As far as their actual beliefs, I’d be hard pressed to name any of them despite numerous annoying contacts with them on my doorstep.
Aggressive evangelism techniques can backfire. Not only can they end up producing no results, they can cause people to actually become hardened the gospel. The point of evangelism is to not just get out and tell the story of Jesus, it is to create more disciples. But the person who is annoyed that their Saturday morning is being interrupted has no interest in being like the person who is interrupting it.
Safety is also a concern for door to door evangelism or doing anything door to door today. Not too long ago children were encouraged by their school or some other organization to sell candy and other items door to door. Today they discourage this because of safety reasons. In short, you have no clue what kind of person may answer the door and what their reaction may be.
Christians shouldn’t avoid sharing the gospel out of fear but common sense needs to be used too. Paul would ultimately give up his life for the gospel but on many occasions he fled for his life as well. He hid, he left under the cover of darkness, and he was left for dead. Paul was no coward but wasn’t about to foolishly put himself in danger.
Now this isn’t to say that door to door evangelism hasn’t had some success. Any evangelism method has seen some success or it would not be continued. But times have changed however and we need to acknowledge that while door to door evangelism may have once been effective, its effectiveness has passed.