Facebook as the New Door-to-Door Ministry
By Brad Williams
There was a time in the United States when a visit from a neighbor was always a pleasant surprise. When the country was more rural, when televisions and computers and cell phones did not exist, a visiting neighbor meant news to be shared and fellowship to be had. It broke the monotony. Plus, neighbors counted on each other for help.
Today’s world is different, and a surprise knock on the door on a Saturday morning usually means annoyance more than excitement. Who hasn’t peeked through the blinds to make certain that the “intruder” isn’t a Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness, or perhaps a politician, and upon noticing that it is, carefully let the blinds go back into place and pretended not be at home? In general, I suspect that most of us tend to be annoyed when strangers visit. It would be a surprisingly rare individual who would actually welcome such an intrusion on our doorstep.
This makes for a difficult time for would-be evangelists of all stripes. As a pastor, I am especially concerned about how this affects the church. Unsolicited visits, either by way of telemarketing or door knocking, almost automatically paint the visitor in a negative light. For those who would dispute this in favor of “old fashioned door-to-door evangelism”, I have to ask if you find telemarketing and knocks on the door on Saturday morning at least a little off-putting?
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Before I lose my street cred, I admit that I have gone door-to-door many times, and I will continue to do so in the future. Yes, cold calls can be annoying, especially when the “caller” is pushy. But if they are polite, take up little of my time when I am not in a position to give it, then I generally consider it a positive experience. The same can happen with door-to-door evangelism and invitation to church. So by all means, don’t abandon the practice.
My point here is to say that things have not changed as much as we might think. The world is still starved for news and fellowship. For exhibit A, I point you to Facebook. Millions of people are on Facebook, and they are actually interested in telling you about their kids, their vacations, their cars, and even what they had for lunch. And you are interested in hearing about it because you probably check your Facebook twice (a hundred?) times a day to see what people are doing, what they are reading, and what internet articles they are linking to. Instead of sharing life over coffee in the den, we are sharing life in sneaky snippets while we work or sit at our home computers. I am not saying this new way is better, I am simply saying it is a reality, and the church ought to pay attention to it…
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