A door to door approach when it comes to sharing the faith could seem quite scary to some and Christians could expect the odd door slammed in their faces.
But Counties evangelist Colin Johnson takes this approach to sharing his faith on a daily basis.
"The lonely, the bereaved, the spiritually lost – they are all there behind closed doors," explains Johnson.
One lady he visited, Betty, felt no one cared about her. She explained how in the past, the vicar used to make regular house calls but this was no longer the case.
Johnson asked her how he could help. "She asked for a coffee morning – this I did and at one point we had 25 elderly folk attending."
He became close friends with an elderly man called Ted, who found it difficult to interact and socialise with other people, so much so that he was not able to attend church.
"He has a faith and it has been wonderful to see him come closer to God over the years. The Lord is so good and he loves these precious sheep who are separated from the flock," said Johnson.
Johnson, from Leighton Buzzard, has been doing door-to-door ministry for the last seven years.
For him, building relationships has been more important and more fruitful than making arguments.
Another lady he regularly visited had a very ill husband. When her husband died, she asked him to arrange and conduct the funeral.
"What a privilege to be able to be involved and support people like this in their time of need," he explains.
Bill, another man he became close to, was a regular member of a community social group run by Johnson. Unfortunately, he died without clearly telling the evangelist he was a believer, and Johnson only remembered Bill challenging his faith.
"But I was so encouraged at his funeral when I found out that Bill had told a relative he had come to see there was a God and he really respected Christians. What a joy to know I may see him again one day in the heavenly place!"
Johnson is so convinced by the benefit of this method that he is asking churches to add community visiting to their outreach plan.
He has some useful tips for anyone wanting to try it:
- Go out in the spirit, open to how He will lead you. Do it prayerfully, not looking for success but just be faithful.
- Go not as a preacher but as a listener. Go not as a scribe or lawgiver but full of warmth and grace.
- Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have – yes but you don't have to! It is OK to leave a good impression of care and concern.
- Look to serve – what can I or the church do for this person? Pray, listen and serve the need
- Aim to build relationships not arguments. If I am able to return several times people warm up and trust, as they do – they open up to the Lord.
The Counties Evangelism Network exists to tell people about Jesus and see lives transformed in communities as a result. They have been doing this since 1899 through the work of evangelists, training and resources.