Report: Door-to-Door Encounters

April 19, 2024
Dwight Sabourin

Sharing our faith door-to-door, is it a disappearing ministry? It can be controversial with endless information available online. Some say, “Why bother people, the Lord can reach them in other ways?” Yet, the Lord said “Go” (Matt. 28:19). Surely door-to-door witnessing fulfills that command.
Starting out can be daunting unless one is fortunate enough to have an experienced friend alongside. I have appreciated considerable help and encouragement from a friend of mine, who was a missionary for 15 years, and who is currently an elder in his local assembly. He says, “How can you not do door-to-door when you know that the Holy Spirit will open up the hearts and minds of some of the people you meet for a significant Gospel conversation? Seeing God work in this way is a sheer delight and wonder every time. Do not do door-to-door in your own strength; it will discourage you. It requires serious spiritual preparation. To God be the glory.”
When God puts a desire into our hearts and we respond, He empowers us by His Spirit and rewards us for obedience. Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”


Methods can vary according to the location and one’s individual preferences. Ringing doorbells with face-to-face contact is a direct method. Prayer before, during, and thanksgiving after are crucial for both those who accept the Gospel, as well as those who refuse it. Two examples of face-to-face contact are distribution of Scripture and doing Bible surveys. In summertime, if it is evident that there are kids in the home, we offer an Awana brochure for the fall. Some difficulties I have experienced include barking dogs making it difficult to hear, loose stones on the steps, the door opening just as we were putting literature in the door handle, and a mailbox falling off while placing literature.

Unfortunately, tears are also involved in this ministry knowing that, “…narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14).  However, we also know that “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy!” (Psa. 126:5).

Normal Approach

When I ring the doorbell, if there is no reply, I leave a VIA Magazine1 in the mailbox, so that it is easily visible. If the doorbell is answered, I remove my sunglasses, make eye contact, and speak clearly: “I’m from the Bible Chapel, could I leave you a Scripture?” while showing the pocket-size “Living Water” Gospel of John. If the answer is yes, I reply, “the gift of God is eternal life,” or some other Scripture. Speaking the Word of God is important (Isa. 55:11). “So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). I like to speak the Word of God along with written Scriptures since we have no way of knowing if they will read any of the literature. Depending on weather and response, further conversation can be pursued. 

Attitude is important

“The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). We have found being joyful and relaxed usually brings a better response. Colorful clothing can differentiate us from other groups. When we work in pairs, we work across the street from each other; only one goes to each door. Using this method we have given out 300 Gospels in six months.
Many work from home and are available any day of the week. We often meet new immigrants, retired folks, moms with kids, babysitters, and maids. Most people are very polite, more will accept a Gospel than refuse it. We find that neighborhoods, streets, and even different sides of the same street have their own character. All have needs; we live in troubled times. Printed Google maps are invaluable for precise record keeping of last home approached, number and type of literature given, and completed streets.

Some Interesting Experiences

An older gentleman with a small barking dog, picked the dog up, and when the dog bit his hand, he kindly said, “that’s enough of that” and he took a Gospel. Another man answered the door together with his ten-year-old son. The man hesitated as to what to do. The boy said, “Yes I would like it,” took it and left. The dad seemed fine with his son reading the booklet.
Often it is not obvious how long to wait after ringing the doorbell. On one occasion, after waiting for what seemed an appropriate time, I placed a VIA Magazine in the mailbox. Just then the door opened. When the man was offered the Gospel, he refused. Thinking that he would not be interested in the VIA magazine either, I attempted to retrieve it from the mailbox. The gentleman thinking that I was taking an important pamphlet, grabbed it, and took it into the house. He was right!
On a cool windy day, a young boy who appeared to be Hindu, opened the door wide to invite me in; he took a Gospel when I thanked him for his kindness. On several occasions, a new immigrant who could not speak any English answered the door, and a youngster accepted the Gospel on behalf of their parent.
At one home I saw the blinds move, then no one answered. My sister Diane, who was with me, noticed that the woman had gone to get a head covering before answering the door. She accepted the Gospel, reading the cover verse and a few other verses inside before telling us she couldn’t keep it. We were encouraged, knowing that the Lord can use the verses she read.
Several women have stated that they were in search of a church. Only one of these has come that we are aware of. One woman at a bus stop said she was in search of “a beautiful church.” I gave her a Gospel with my assembly’s address on the first page. The bus came before we could finish our conversation.
One woman at the door impatiently said that she was busy, so I left. Several houses later she came running up, apologized for her initial response, and requested a Gospel. On another occasion, a woman accepted the Gospel and I left. Several houses later she caught up with me and asked if I had a debit machine? When I replied no, she handed me a handful of change and asked me to pray for her. I asked what she wanted prayer for. She did not know. This was one of several occasions when I regretted not keeping the address to do a later follow-up.
One woman answered the door and said she was in the middle of a meeting on her phone. When I said “Sorry” and started to leave, she said “Oh no, stay, I can listen to you and my meeting at the same time.” She then took a Gospel. Several times somebody said, “I don’t want it, but my wife or mother will read it.” Another man told us that he didn’t want a Gospel, nor did his neighbor.

In conclusion, door-to-door outreach has two things going for it; first, it works, and those involved in this ministry know the joy of experiencing first-hand the working of the Holy Spirit. Second, this is one more way of confessing the Lord Jesus before men (Matt. 10:32).

1Via Magazine ( is ”Bible based reading for the whole family.” It is a 22-page publication of interesting stories, Scripture, and gospel explanations handed out freely to hundreds of thousands annually.