Friday Challenge: Door-Knocking Disasters

Today’s challenge is to remember back to a time you either went “soul winning” or had soulwinners knock on your door with less than the desired effect.

Share your tales of the dangerous, the disastrous, and the downright silly.

199 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Door-Knocking Disasters”

  1. Story #3: passing out tracts in an open air market in Mexico when a man started talking to me about the tract, voicing some kind of theological argument that I didn’t completely follow. I told him that I didn’t understand a certain word he was using and he accused me of playing dumb, pretending not to understand his Spanish. I wasn’t pretending! Eventually I realized that he was a JW and was objecting to the concept of hell.

    And while I stood there, trying to debate a JW in Spanish, two Mormon missionaries happened to come by. We all just kind of looked at each other and then we all walked away.

    1. A Baptist, a Jehova’s Witness, and two Mormon missionaries met in a park…
      Sounds like a good opening for a joke! 😆

  2. Well, the only thing I’ve remotely come close to doing that ‘might’ be door knocking was trying to sell pizza cards for my Pentecostal youth group’s mission trip while in college. I did go through a gospel of John booklet craze where I would leave them wherever I could without being caught. Being shy, I naturally quit when I got busted by a family after leaving a booklet in a restroom 😆 However, my dad told me about an experience he had with JWs when I was a toddler. These two ladies would come every day right when Dad was getting ready for work despite his telling them he wasn’t interested, he had his own views/faith, etc. They did this for two weeks until he got fed up one day. Since they always came about the same time, it was easy for him to see them coming. When their car pulled up and they knocked on the door, Dad opened it wearing nothing but his underwear and said in in a guttural ‘demon’ voice “I WORSHIP SATAN–ARRRRRRRRGH!” Needless to say, after they both ran screaming from the house, they never came back :mrgreen:

  3. Personally, I feel quite left out. My father was a Mog so I spent many, many weekends out knocking on doors. I never had an attractive woman answer the door dressed provocatively. I have had overweight dudes answer the door in next to nothing but that doesn’t do it for me.

  4. How can I tell genuine “Soul-Winners” from Mormon’s or Jehovah’s Witnesses? They all use pretty much the same Hard-Sell Techniques – execept the Soul-Winners tend to have less compassion. A guy I used to work with had a way of dealing with JWs. He lived in a house at the end of a long lane, so he could see them coming and had time to prepare. When they knocked on the door, he appeared naked, holding a tin of Petroleum Jelly. He was disappointed the JWs didn’t stay for a theological discussion and he was never bothered again.

    1. Sometimes you find what you’re looking for. “Surrrrrre, I’d love to come in!” Said Jack. 😯

  5. There wasn’t any door-knocking involved, but years ago I had a pool patron try to witness to me while I was lifeguarding.

    Because obviously the physical lives of the other swimmers was not as important as convincing the Catholic lifeguard the error of her ways. 🙄

  6. As a Sophmore at Crown College, I was excited to learn that a new staff member’s wife was going to take me door knocking during Monday Night Visitation. My excitement quickly turned to chagrin as she mistakenly picked up a pile of “new move-ins” cards instead of the visitor cards she thought she had grabbed. We arrived at a house, and the staff wife started explaining to the lady who answered the door that she was there to welcome her to the church she had visited. The lady said she had never been to the church. The staff wife started arguing with her that she in fact, had visited the church and she had the visitor card to prove it. The lady asked her to leave. The staff wife shoved her foot in the door and continued arguing. I tried to pipe in that no, she had just moved to the Knoxville area, but she ignored me. We finally left when the homeowner threatened to call the police if she did not remove her foot from the door. 😳

  7. I had a pastor from an SDA church show up at my door on the last day of school prior to fall break. I had been uptown for 2.5 hours lol. I was polite. I’m sure he figured out I had a few drinks…

  8. Yeah, Crown College made it a requirement to go “soul winning” but I didn’t go most of the time. I just felt so badly because everyone that would open their door would tell us that they had already been visited multiple times by people from the school and they would like it if we would stop knocking on their door…and most of the students had no sincerity by the end of the school year so it was really not an appealing gospel they were peddling anyways.

  9. I have two door knocking stories.

    #1 At PCC I took the Romans class and we were required to go door knocking and then wriet up a paper about 5 of our contacts, what was said, etc. I went every Sat morning (my only time with work) for the whole semester and never had a single person open the door to even sic the dog on us. It was depressing. I was desperate and made up five contacts to get the paper done.

    #2 This is a backwards door knocking. This was a few years ago when my husband and I were having marital problems and I had moved in with another family to be their live-in nanny/housekeeper. These 2 mormon boys kept coming around. They asked if there was anything they could do to help. I said, “Do you want to fold clothes?” (the family had 7 special needs kids, so lots of laundry). I was joking, They said yes and came up and folded clothes with me for 2 hours. We talked theology. The mom of the house invited them to family dinner. They left happy campers. Each week, once or twice a week, they would stop and ask if there was anything they could do to help. We would put them to work and feed them. We even showed them the bootlegged copy of one of the star wars films that the dad had. Their superior found out and moved them to another mission field. The new boys didn’t visit anymore.

    Also, my husband and I went to Retroville counseling and are happily married now 13 years.

    1. re: #2 — figures that when the door-knockers are actually able to do some real good, performing services that Jesus himself commanded, their superiors yank them out of their. *siiiiigh*

    2. Story #1- I like the way you changed the assignment into a Creative Writing exercise. I would have liked to have read them.

      Story #2- Very satisfying- A story with TWO happy endings. Good on ya!

  10. One summer, when I was home from fundy college, I went visiting with the same guy each week on church visitation night. We became good friends that summer and also sang in the bass section of the choir. He was divorced and lived the life of a bachelor. He used to travel with bathroom towels in his car, so he could put them over his lap after he used the drive though at a fast food joint, so he could eat and drive and not spill food on his clothes. That is all beside the point. I just never knew of anyone else who did that. 

    Anyway…..we were on our way to make a visit and we drove past a girl on a bike, who was wearing a tube or halter top and some short shorts. My friend rolled down the window and whistled at her. Of course that was kind of shocking to old independent, funny mental me! When we finally made our visit and tried to present the plan of salvation to a woman, we were discussing sin. He brought up this girl we saw on the bike and said, “Man, she was quite a dish.” He was saying in this world we live in there is temptation all around us and part of that is lust. I think I would have found a different illustration for sin, but at least he was open and honest.

  11. Not quite doorknocking but….

    I share an office with someone who’s decided it’s his life’s work to save my soul.

    For Allah.

    Every single argument is one I’ve heard a hundred times before, from christians.

    * “If you don’t convert, you’re serving the devil.”
    * “…and you’ll go to hell no matter how good you are.”
    * “Who made the universe?”
    * “If there’s no god, where do you go when you die?”
    * “You only think you’re happy without faith.”
    * “Something in the Quran is known scientifically, therefore it’s all proven.”
    * “It makes me sad that you will go to hell, so please make me happy.”
    * “Only Muslims are good, because only they live in fear.”
    * “Quranic language is pretty, so it must be true.”
    * “Some things in the Quran are also in the Bible, therefore Allah is everywhere.”

    And the eternal classic:

    * “Christianity is false because Europeans have guiltless sex all the time. Let’s talk about guiltless sex. A lot.”

  12. My dad pastors a small IFB church in a small Mid-western town. Every year for the past 22 years, the church has canvassed the entire town with fliers and church tracts for VBS. Three things I remember most about it: 1) As soon as I got my license, I “volunteered” to distribute fliers to the businesses in town. At least I got to ride in an air-conditioned vehicle and didn’t have to walk up and down the street in 100* weather. 2) We always used brightly colored paper with the VBS info. One time, a very irate lady called the church. Someone had left a flier on her door, and the rain had caused the paper to bleed all over her brand-new white door. The church had to replace it. 3) Two years ago, my sister who was still at home, posted an urgent unspoken request on FB. I called to ask her about it, and she said that while canvassing, my dad had dropped the church kids off at one end of the street and he would pick them up at the other end. One of the boys (10 years old) didn’t meet the van, and there was a panic for more than 2 hours as they couldn’t find him. They finally found him after he knocked on someone’s door and they called the police. He had finished his side of the street so he decided to just go on to the next street over. This story was spun that he should have obeyed and this never would have happened.
    I have to say that canvassing in that particular town is effective and results in an impressive VBS attendance, but that probably has more to do with the fact that the town is very small and the church has been doing it for so long that people know about it. They now have children attending whose parents attended way back in the beginning. (Has it really been 22 years since I was 15? SMH)

  13. Another reverse witnessing story. A few years ago I was stranded in Cheyenne, WY, on a wretchedly hot day when the fuel pump on my vehicle conked out on me. It would run when it was cool, so I waited out the day in the city park reading until the cool of evening and I could limp the 100 miles back to Denver. Two young men approached me as I sat with my book on a blanket under the tress. I spotted them for Mormons immediately and determined that I would identify myself as a Christian, be polite, but discourage them from trying to convert me. These young men did not try to convert me. They accepted that I was not interested in what they were selling. They were more than kind when they found out my situation and offered to go get food and beverages for me. I had brought all I needed for an 8 hour trip so I thanked them but declined their offer. They went on their way around the little lake in the park and I watched them for the next couple of hours stopping to talk to people. My fundy roots kicked in when I felt bad about not talking to them. I had all day, after all. I even promised God that if they came back to try again I would enter into conversation with them. But they respected my distance and went to their car and left once they’d made the circuit back to me. I was quite touched. Perhaps if we spent more effort in engaging ourselves in people’s lives and showing kindness, we would be more of an influence when we share Jesus with them. But…you can’t do that on hit and run door knocking, can you?

    1. At least the two drunk guys make Heaven sound fun! :mrgreen:
      Maybe the only way door-knocking can work without losing your mind. 🙄

  14. One of my churches considered it a Biblical mandate to knock on doors, visit the homebound, and visit the sick. One couple had a VERY large 21-year-old son with some mental and anger issues that they were very happy to leave with the door-knocking group for two hours while they went out to “visit sick people.” (They never actually said who they went to visit, they just left and came back whenever we called to tell them we were done.)

    This son, who we will call Rick, tended to be apprehended by the police on a regular basis due to threatening to kill his parents/random cops/anyone who got in his way when he was triggered. Given that he was 6’4 and over 300 pounds, this was a real possibility. Naturally, he was usually paired up with my 5’7, 200 lbs self as my “silent partner.”

    Once, we went into a commercial district to do some “street witnessing” We had a three-man team, with Rick in the rear of the team. After a few minutes of discussion with one fellow, we realized that we had lost Rick. We frantically searched for him up and down the street until we found him in a UPS store, telling all of the employees and customers that he had a “package from God” for them. We quickly rushed in and got him out of there, much to his protests of “BUT I WAS WITNESSING.”

    Another time, I had him one-on-one in a door-knocking session. We knocked on one apartment door and a younger college student, who came up to shoulder-height to me, answered. I introduced us and told her where we were from, and asked how she was doing. She took one look at Rick and said “…scared?”

    After we had to talk this kid out of running away from home and hiding in a Mexican restaurant, visit him in several psych wards after he had threatened police with a knife, and after he tried to stab our IT guy in the back with a pair of scissors, we explained to the couple that it may not be prudent to use the door-knocking “ministry” as a babysitting service due to the potential liability. They left the church due to the “lack of support for their son’s condition.” I’m just glad we never had a major incident when we took him into people’s homes.

    1. Ah, “partners”… I was stationed at Glenview Naval Air Station (a North Chicago suburb), when I met a new flight crew member who I was going to have to fly with on a training mission. He noticed that I prayed before eating lunch, and he asked if I was a Christian. I replied that I was recently saved (less than a year).

      He invited me to go soul winning with him on his bus route in downtown Chicago that evening (Saturday night). He seemed kind of aggressive, and I was already aversed to confrontational “soul-winning”, having been accosted by FBCHers and HACers often while growing up in East Chicago, IN – Hammond’s next-door-neighbor.

      For some reason, I agreed to go with him, and it was like being on a scary ride in a carnival. He was a HACer, and his bus route included the Rush Street (red light district) area. He was generally kind to the families (mostly Hispanic) that he knew from his bus route, but to the people on the street, it was a different matter.

      At one point, he asked an obviously inebriated man about God, and it “came out” that the man was gay. My “partner” began shouting at him that all queers were going to hell, proof-texting with passages from Romans 1. All I could think of was the fact that this man, in his own neighborhood, was being ‘attacked’ in the name of Jesus, while on his way home.

      I never went “soul winning” with this “partner” again. He soon quit the squadron because, he told me, he didn’t have time to study the NATOPs (flight manuals) when he should be studying his Bible. The skies were friendlier for his absence.

  15. Once, a three-man team consisting of my best friend, a dental student, and myself knocked on the door of a Mormon couple. The man was a self-professed newcomer to the faith, and the girlfriend was a long-time believer. They invited us in to ask us if we had read the Book of Mormon.

    For the next two hours, “civil discussion” and “Bible Study” ensued which all went to hell when the dental student asked about “Kolob”. The girlfriend looked uncomfortable, and the boyfriend started asking what “Kolob” was. Things tended to get a bit more uncivil from there. Finally, the boyfriend got up and stormed to the back of the house. We all thought he was going to get a gun or something. Finally, he came back out and said, “LOOK, THERE IS ONE GOD, AND JOSEPH SMITH IS A TRUE PROPHET AND YOU CAN ALL GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.” I, being a full grown moron, said something smart back as my colleagues were making a hasty retreat out the door. Before things escalated further, I had four arms pulling me out the door as our team lead decided we had better call it a night after suffering such “persecution.”

  16. Time will not permit me to go into detail on all the other incidents, so, here are some highlights:

    1. The time the seventy-something year old man answered the door in a pair of white briefs that were two sizes too big. (Number of equally scantily clad women? Zero.)

    2. The time we knocked on a door and interrupted a VERY attractive young woman in a seductive red dress as she was laying out rose petals and candles in her apartment…and then her boyfriend showed up right as we were giving our spiel.

    3. The time I knocked on a door, and a bunch of children showed up and watched our shadow nervously through the stained glass. I left a door hanger, and they all screamed as they saw my hand reaching for the doorknob.

    4. The time a man got so mad at a theological debate we had initiated on his doorstep that he threw the information packet out on his front lawn screaming “I WILL HAVE YOU FINED FOR LITTERING!”

    There are several more, but I’m starting to want to curl up in a corner in the fetal position. So…time to stop.

  17. One of the best times I had witnessing to a person was a year ago when we knocked on a door and witnessed to a lady who believed in Mormonism. I had the privilege of walking her through the Gospel, proving to her from the Bible that Jesus was God and the only Savior. Her little girl came up behind her mid-way with the Book of Mormon to help her mother. The lady THREW THE BOOK OF MORMON on the stairs behind her and shortly thereafter accepted Christ as Savior. It was amazing! Something only the Lord could do and He gets the glory!

  18. Much to my shame, My husband & I would throw parties, we invited our neighbors & friends. We pushed the envelope by serving wine. All invited would be having a delightful time engaging & catching up, when I would stop the party to introduce several people who were going to share their testimony… ugh. However, church leaders thought what we did was marvelous. 😥 I have repented from such nonsense…

  19. Given the American meaning of the term “Knocked-up” I am surprised that the “Brown bottle Apparent” crowd would still go door “knocking.” Seems that would be too close to the appearance of something evil for them to continue the practice.

    But then again… the Empire Building Church Growth movement doesn’t care about or specify “how” the church grows; converts, filling quivers or whatever.

  20. I was a student at HAC from 77-81 and was on the bus routes that ran in Chicago.
    One of the stories that should be one of my scariest (but wasn’t because I was too stupid to know it) was the murderer who invited us in. His son rode our bus and his dad was sitting in his undies on the couch as the child invited us in. He was drinking a beer and generally relaxing, watching t.v. He told us he was just out of prison having killed his brother-in-law. We just happily sat there listening to his story and then “leading him to the Lord”. His life was not changed and he never attended church but he was one of my best soul winning stories for years.
    We also visited a lady from Thailand. She and her brothers were in Chicago studying English so they could go back home and teach it. It was soooo cold on those Satudays we were out and she would invite us in and serve us Thai food – usually something we thot was terrible and would put in our purse and throw away later to not hurt her feelings. And she always served Coke because we were Americans and Americans liked Coke. She was so kind. We were probably helping her improve her English and she was a much needed cultural experience for me. I often wonder if she remembers us. I’ve never forgotten her. We witnessed to her for a couple of years but she was firm in her religion and never converted. She gave me a hand woven purse that I still have. Her name was Surima.
    There were lots of experiences that were good for me but we should never have been out there, alone on the Chicago streets. In the summer, it was so hot. Children would unscrew the ends off the fire hydrants and have fun in the water until the fire department came and closed the hydrants up. We never participated bec it would be a bad example and besides we had hose on. I remember the ice cream trucks going up and down the street. The Greek store owner who had the best baklava and the restaurant on the corner where we would go when we couldn’t stand the cold anymore. They served the best fries and hot chocolate with whipped cream. I remember the sisters who had their heads shaved because they had lice and the bandannas they wore to cover it up. We felt so sorry for them. The cute little Hispanic (Hosea and Maria, of course) children that rode the bus every week. Best friends Tammy (who had nothing except filth at her house – rats, mice, animal feces) and her best friend, Michell, who would bring a grocery bag full of food each week on the bus to make sure Tammy and her siblings had food, too. Just like the other kids. I can’t say that any of these children’s lives changed but it was good for me to see the lives of others. Not too safe for my bus calling partner and I.

  21. Dear SFL Reader:

    Years ago, two Snob Clones Perversity students were door knocking when a guy invited them in to watch the game. Before long, he offered them beer. The three of them had a good time ‘door knocking.’ I’m not sure if this should be categorized as a ‘disaster.’ I know for a fact those students enjoyed the afternoon.

    Christian Socialist

    1. That’s why it should be considered a disaster, they weren’t supposed to honestly ENJOY themselves. :mrgreen:

  22. I never went door-knocking. Somehow, in all my fundiness and set-apartedness I missed all that.

    1. Man, I wish I could say this… at some churches, we were not “real” Christians; we could not have God’s favor; we were not right with God unless we went door-knocking.

      1. One of the four main points in identifying a cult is the requirement to perform some type of act which subjects a person to humiliation. If they won’t go through with it, they aren’t considered “part of the group”. I know that there is a personality type that enjoys confrontation, but most people are intimidated about interrupting people in their homes in order to present a canned “salvation spiel”, and try to coerce a “decision” out of them.

        The former types fit right in with IFB attitudes, and the latter, after dutifully, and reluctantly knock on doors, feel a greater sense of loyalty to the group out of a sense of justifying their counterintuitive actions. It’s a fundy win-win. Why do you think “soul-winning” as defined by IFBs is so important? Solidarity, my brother.

  23. I’m a Junior at a IFB Bible College, and one of the requirements is attendance to Saturday morning Soul winning. I love going out now and trying to reach people for Christ. (I’m not a crazy Fundy, mind you. I do my best to be respectful and polite whenever I go out.) However, when I first came to college, I was rather timid and would always opt for the “Silent Partner” role of the Door-knocking team. One day, however, during my Freshman year, my roommates decided that I needed to do some talking. So they kept assuring me that nothing bad would happen, that the worst that could happen was someone slam a door in my face, and that they would be there to back me up if needed. I agreed to knock on the next door. When I did knock a hispanic man (which we have nick-named Esteban) answered the door. He was shirtless, and I mean, I can handle seeing a shirtless man, I’m not so naive that I believe people are the most wicked heathen ever if they are dressed….less than modestly. Esteban however, had a very large, very round stomach and his door was set a little higher than the landing to stand on, so when he answered and opened the door I was left staring at a hairy stomach……like 6 inches away from my face! I lost all ability to speak, and just sort of began to stammer until one of my friends piped up and started to talk to him. Nothing she was saying made sense and the other two girls with us stood behind us laughing their faces off! They couldn’t compose themselves because they had just been assuring me that nothing bad or awkward would happen, and then I have a giant belly in my face…..That was a sad soul-winning day! 🙁

  24. Back when we first got married, my wife and I had a house on what must have been Proselytizing Street. At least every other day we got our door knocked upon. Being polite we generally submitted to the spiel. Being eventually tired of it and passive aggressive in general, we started inviting them in to talk, whereupon we would begin to get more and more intimate with each other. Usually they left immediately…

  25. At my Fundy school/church, Pastor Triebor sent us out “soul winning” in Downtown Oakland. Scariest moment of my life since it was late in the evening. One of the students handed a track to a drug dealer and the dealer looked at him like he was a narc. We got out of there with our lives and thankfully no gang tipped over the bus. Some of the kids we talked to talked “ghetto” and I started to talk “ghetto” as a joke and my Science teacher didn’t approve and Pastor Triebor was not amused either. I guess that’s why he’s never sent students “Soul Winning in Oakland” anymore.

  26. I had a woman wave a gun in the air at me and my witnessing buddy. Having a tall black man knock on the door after dark does not play well in white suburbia I guess. Go figure.

  27. My friend heard unusual knocking at his door while he was taking a shower. Alarmed, he grabbed his gun and ran to the door to find…
    Two JW’s,
    He yelled “Sorry, not interested!” as they ran off.

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