(CT) Louis Markos–The Dangers of Door-to-Door Evangelism

Though I respected, and continue to respect, both groups [IVCF and Campus Crusade] equally, I eventually chose IVCF because it put more focus on friendship evangelism and less on door-to-door evangelism. Whereas the door-to-door method follows a sales model, with the evangelist approaching a stranger and then taking him through a carefully scripted gospel presentation (the booklet of choice in my day was “The Four Spiritual Laws”), the friendship model attempts first to cultivate a relationship with a non-believer (who might live in your dorm or attend classes with you) and then introduce the gospel in a more casual and natural way.

At the time, I did not possess any theories about the most effective or most biblical method of evangelism. I gravitated toward friendship evangelism because it better suited my personality and because, well, it “felt” right. Like many other Americans, I’ve always hated the “hard sell” and have quickly (if politely) closed the door or hung up the phone whenever a solicitor has tried to sell me something. If I was going to share the message of grace with my fellow students, I did not want it to sound like a sales pitch. I wanted it to rise up organically from our friendship, or at least from a sense of shared interests and passions.

Jonathan Dodson, founding pastor of City Life church in Austin, Texas, has practiced, and clearly respects, both forms of evangelism. However, in his new book, The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing (a 2015 CT Book Awards winner), he argues that our current social-cultural moment has made the door-to-door model not only less effective, but potentially counter-productive. “Wave after wave of rationalistic, rehearsed (and at times coerced and confrontational) evangelism,” he writes in his preface, “has inoculated, if not antagonized, the broader culture.”

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2 comments on “(CT) Louis Markos–The Dangers of Door-to-Door Evangelism

  1. Pb says:

    Louis Markos is an excellent teacher. He did a series of teachings for The Teaching Company on C. S. Lewis which worth are the search. They are very good in an Adult Sunday School class.

  2. MichaelA says:

    I have felt instinctively for many years that church planting and church growing is a far more effective way of spreading the gospel than door-to-door evangelism or street preaching. I have no figures to back that up, its just my personal observation and perhaps others have a different experience.

    I have just seen so many converts made over the years, without the churches actually growing, whereas the disciples I meet who are still faithful seem more often to have been made through personal contact with Christian friends followed by going to church or bible study for months or even years before Christianity finally clicked into place for them.

    I still think one-off crusades and outreaches can be valuable, but by their nature they are not regular events. When all the hype and excitement of the crusade is over, then you go back to the normal steady church life, and if a convert can relate to that, then they are probably going to make it long-term.