Door to door evangelism is only one approach to evangelism. It does not replace guest services, open air preaching, home visitation, schools work or friendship evangelism, but it works alongside the other techniques as part of a holistic evangelistic strategy.


Only through prayer will the church receive a vision for what God wants to do through a door to door programme.
The prayer must be guided by the Holy Spirit, in conformity with God's truth as revealed in the Bible. But it should also be guided by a clear understanding of the purpose and objectives of door to door evangelism.


The church leadership must share in the prayer, and must share the vision. The activity must be talked about from the front of the church services. It must be recognised as a valued part of church life, and the people who do it must be honoured.
But all of this background is only relevant if the people involved really believe that God loves the world so much that He wants us to reach out to the people in our neighbourhood. People who are motivated by guilt make bad evangelists! We want people who are motivated by God's love, and a desire to do His work His way. We want people who are spiritually healthy - who know His presence in their lives, and who can communicate that presence.
We should pray for three aspects of God's truth to become real to us.

  1. We live in the middle of a spiritual battle, and this battle has eternal consequences. What we do really matters!

  2. People without Christ are really lost

  3. God is already at work in the world, drawing people to Himself.

This means that all our evangelistic activity must have its origin in prayer, and must be constantly sustained through prayer.


The primary purpose of door to door work is to build bridges between the local church and the community.
Door to door work is part of the church's 'Sowing Level One' strategy. If people get saved or helped in other ways, that should be seen as a bonus.


The objectives of door to door work are therefore:

  • to establish contact between the church and the local community;

  • to communicate a positive image of the local church; and 

  • to establish the credibility of the local church in two areas:

  • answers to life's ('spiritual') problems 

  • pastoral care


The three main components of planning are:

  • organisation;

  • training; and 

  • follow-up.

It's hard to know where to begin. But that's okay.
To get started, it really doesn't matter which streets you choose - just pick a set of streets which seem halfway plausible, and target those. We get feedback in various ways to help you refine the target area once we have started.
We don't limit yourself to residential areas. Some businesses might be willing to allow us to leave literature, use their staff noticeboards. Once they get to know you, you might even get recognised as a kind of industrial chaplain - this often works well.
It's probably helpful to begin small and target only those streets you can return to maybe 3 or 4 times a year. As more people join in, expand outwards, sideways, or whatever.
Why should the JWs and Mormons be the only people to reach out to our neighbours?
It's all part of going to the people, instead of waiting for them to come to us. Even if the evangelism achieves nothing else, it says: we care enough about you to get off our backsides and call on you. If only the cults care enough to call on people, what does that say about us?


The advantages of door to door work:

  • Door to door work is easy. Depending on what you are asking people to do, almost anyone can do it. No special or rare skills are required.

  • There is generally some flexibility in the timing of door to door work, so people can fit it in around their other commitments. 

  • It reaches the whole community, not just a special group. 

  • Like all outreach, it communicates that the church is interested enough in people to go out to them. The church is not just an inward-looking clique. 

  • It avoids leaving this area of outreach to the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. 

  • It opens up useful contacts for far more than simple evangelism. 

  • It is reasonably cheap as a means of outreach, and easy to organise. 

  • It provides a good context in which people can start personal evangelism.


The disadvantages of door to door work:

  • Door to door work should be done in teams of two or three people - and always in teams when done by ladies. Ideally, it should be done by mixed-sex teams - which are not always easy to organise.

  • Some forms of door to door work are not suitable for younger people. 

  • It is difficult to motivate people to do this work, although when they start, many people find it much easier and more enjoyable than expected.

Varieties of Door to Door

There are many options open to people doing door to door work. One of the basic questions is: will you be knocking on the doors, or just distributing something? Sometimes it clearly needs to be one or the other, but on other occasions the people doing the distribution can be given the freedom to choose.
The other big question concerns how many times people will be expected to call or call back. If you can schedule the work and be confident it will be completed in that time, people will be much more likely to join in. If they have to call back several times, or until someone answers the door, only the really dedicated will volunteer.

  • Literature. General Christian literature - tracts, gospels, etc. More effective when it is locally produced, or at least locally relevant.

  • Gifts. Special gifts for special occasions - battery powered candles at Christmas, for example, or the 'Jesus Video' as part of a publicised scheme. 

  • Publicity. Publicity and 'personal' invitations can be distributed. This works better for special meetings that the public will be interested in, or for significant events in the church calendar or church life, but anything can be publicised this way. 

  • News. Ordinary information about the church: this is what we are doing. Reminding people we are still here, and offering these services. Can be made more interesting and relevant to people by including personal stories: nothing exciting, but stories about God working in ordinary ways in the lives of ordinary local people. 

  • Help. You can offer to pray for people, or help them in some other way. 

  • Questionnaires. This one must involve knocking on the doors!

Strategy for Door to Door

To be effective, door to door work needs to be...

  • Regular. If you contact people once every other year, most people will feel you don't really care about them, no matter how good your literature is.

  • Consistent. Decide how often to contact people, and stick to it. Make that level of contact a priority. 

  • Attractive. Badly produced publicity reflects poorly on the church. Do some market-testing to discover what the people you are reaching out to consider attractive. You may be surprosed! 

  • Relevant. What are the main needs and issues facing your area? Concentrate on these, not ignoring items of more general interest. 

  • Geographical. Decide on your parish, and stick to that. It is better to do a good quality door to door ministry to half a dozen streets than a poor ministry to fifty. Expand your area as your resources grow. 

  • Generous. Never collect money for your church or its projects. Occasionally, you can collect money for some recognised secular need - Christian Aid is a good example, but never for the church roof. Always take something to give away. 

  • Supervised. You need some basic record keeping and administration for door to door work to succeed.

Regular visits are important, but this does not mean you can only visit places on the agreed schedule! If someone notices that someone has just moved in, arrange to visit them and leave a 'Welcome to our area' pack from the church - you do have one, don't you?
Or if a church member hears that someone down the street is sick, lost a job, had a partner walk out, is struggling with depression, or whatever - arrange a visit. Make it clear whether the person visiting is supposed to know about the problem - it is usually okay. "Someone told us that you... and thought you might appreciate a visit and someone to talk to. Can we help?"
It is worth checking your pastoral arrangements at this point... Are the existing church members visited when they are having difficulties? You can't really get people into the church on the basis of loving pastoral support, and then dump them once they have made a commitment!

Some points to be careful about.

  • Do what you promised! If you say someone from the church will call back, make sure someone calls back. If you promise to pray, make sure the request is noted and prayed for.

  • Provide a mechanism to ensure that all the resulting needs, requests, etc. are followed up. Somebody must be responsible for this! 

  • Check that distributors know they are to leaflet every house and flat in their patch. This includes church members and other known Christians! There are several reasons for this.

    • It makes sure all the church members have a copy of the literature themselves!

    • It means church members know when their street has been done, so they can talk to their neighbours about what they have just received.

    • It avoids the problem of worried church members contacting the church leaders, worried that their street has been forgotten. 

    • It simplifies the administration. Address lists of church members are always difficult to keep up to date, and you are almost certain to make mistakes if you aim to miss out the church members. It really is quicker and easier to leaflet everybody.

    • If people are watching you go down the street, they will be suspicious if you miss out some houses. What do you know about the people you choose to visit? Are you 'going for' the weak and vulnerable?

  • If you know you can't complete the block, just work systematically until the time runs out. Then the next time, just start from where you finished.

  • If the church has never done any systematic distribution in the past and you really don't have details of the number of houses in each street, you can get the basic details from the Post Office's Postcode book for the area, but this needs to be filled out with a bit more information. Some ground work is needed before you begin. 

  • Divide the parish up into a number of blocks. A block may be a street, several streets, or part of a street. The blocks should be roughly equal in size: between 30 and 50 houses is a good number. The blocks should be well-defined, so that the people doing the distribution are in no doubt as to whether a particular property is included in their block. 

  • Remember that some people will be doing the door to door - maybe for the first time - in the dark, and many house numbers are completely missing, or hard to find even in daylight.

When You Go Out