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. At around the age of 10 – 12 yoa, I went “soul-winning” with my father. He knocked on the door. As the lady answered the door, her little dog, a tan mutt, made a b-line to my leg barking and looking though he was going to attack me. Startled, I kicked him, not hard though, just enough to push him away. The lady told me he was blind. Well, I cried. I cried so hard my father had to give up his “witnessing” for the day. Luckily, he wasn’t mad. He loved animals!

  2. Thankfully, I never went door-to-door. I DID witness to someone on an airplane once. Never again.

    I was returning from my sophomore year at BJU. A Catholic priest sat down next to me, and I proceeded to ask him about how the Catholic church believes that someone gets to heaven. I tried to use big words, like “soteriology” and we debated for two hours. When I left for the loo, I found him buried in a newspaper and the seats around us were dead quiet (did I mention the flight was at about 8.00 PM?)

    Looking back now, I wish I’d used the chance to try to understand the Catholic church a little more; there were so many interesting things I could have LEARNED from him. *Sigh.

    1. I had a similar experience sitting on the plane next to a Lutheran missionary to China on my way back from the teen missions trip to Ireland. I ended up explaining to him how Jack Hyles was this wonderful pastor and all the ungodly people didn’t like him. Amazingly, he had heard of Jack Hyles but what he’d heard wasn’t quite the same as what I’d heard. Go figure. I so wish I could have a do-over of that plane ride.

  3. When I was 11 or so, my dad took me with him to do bus visitation. He knocked on the door of one house and the woman answered the door wearing a leather bikini that covered a postage stamp and left nothing to the imagination. This happened almost 30 years ago, yet my dad asked a year back or so if I remembered that visit. Apparently we both did. 😉

  4. I was only in the IFB for a few years, and when I went I was the silent partner. I always went with this one lady who I do genuinely like. She and her husband are missionaries from America and they actually went out and helped people do hard work on their properties and got to know them and their families.

    Anyway. I was a doorknocker in training, lol. I did like that the lady I went with made the point of saying it is God’s job to save people, it’s just our job to give them the opportunity by warning them. She also made a point of asking people if they had a church they belonged to, and accepting if someone said they already attended somewhere.

    I don’t think doorknocking is the best way to do things. But I think some doorknockers are worse than others.

    1. I agree that doorknocking isn’t the best way, but it can work. However, what gets me is that in most IFB churches, you’re a “nothing” if you don’t go out door-to-door.

      I tried for a while; I really did, but I feared that I would lose my sanity. My kids always feared “soul-winning” night because I would come home in such a black mood. I hated the condescension toward those who wouldn’t listen to us, and the push to just say a prayer. I had to stop for my own mental health. So, I went back (for years) to being a nothing, suffering silently as an “inferior” Christian

  5. I was taken out on visitation by our head deacon one time. He said it was to train me so I could be an aggressive soulwinner like him. We went to the house of someone from another denomination, I don’t remember which. Bro. Deacon got into a heated argument with this person and lost. Big time. I remember him beating a retreat on salvation, the KJV and a few other things fundies hold dear. I thought it was hilarious. Bro. Deacon blamed it on me when we got back to the church.

  6. My husband and I were bible study leaders at a fundy Baptist church. We were directed to go around our neighborhood and hand out the “Jesus Video” for free and try to start a conversation. With great spunk and religious enthusiasm we stormed our neighborhood, eager to win people to “Jeeesus”…..2nd house I knocked on, an old man wearing small white underwear opened the door and asked me…”oh..are you the young lady I ordered from the escort service…??? I turned red, handed him the video and said, “No sir, but this spicy video will be LIFE CHANGING!” And I left….;)) I’m sure he was disappointed ;))

  7. Thankfully, I hardly ever went, although my dad did on Thursday nights.

    When my husband was a youth pastor, sometimes he’d take the teens to canvas a neighborhood if we had a special event coming up. We had taken a group to do a week of VBS at a small church pastored by a man whom our church supported as a home missionary. Since I hated going to doors, I was driving the van. I’d drop teens off at the end of a street, cruise slowly up the street, and pick them up at the end. Sometimes I drove on around the block.

    So my small group of about 5 teens and my husband (all white with one Hispanic guy) are handing out VBS invitations in an African-American neighborhood because that’s where the church was located and as I drove on up the street, I passed a yard where nearly 30 young men were hanging out in the yard. I was SO scared what would ensue if our naive little group walked up on them, but I couldn’t turn my big van around on that street, especially not in front of them! So I kept driving around the block, afraid that I’d wouldn’t get to my group in time. When I found them, I commanded they all get in the van NOW. The rest of that street remained uninvited to VBS that year.

    Not a thrilling story, but at the time I didn’t want an exciting story!

  8. I had people from my own school(which had a church) one saturday morning. One of the door knockers was this teacher who really didn’t like me. It was intensely awkward. I eventually ended up joining the church because the principal and headmaster and some others didn’t like me (I think it was because I liked tye-dye) and I wanted to fit in so badly…and I got more and more entangled in legalism. 🙁

  9. When I was in high school, my youth leader thought it would be a great idea to have the youth group canvass the area around the church for some special meetings or something.

    I do remember him telling us not to get into heated arguments with people, and above all, do NOT go into anyone’s house, even if invited. (You know where this is going, right?)

    I was paired with the most boy-crazy girl in the youth group. We ended up at one somewhat dilapidated house where our knock was met with a chorus of male voices telling us to come in, the door was open. My friend marched right in with her fistful of flyers, and I had no choice but to follow.

    We ended up in a very dark, very marijuana smoke-filled living room with teenage boys lounging on every available surface…and we stayed for more than half an hour! By the time I dragged my friend out, it was pretty obvious we were starting to get mellow ourselves.

    Our youth leader was not happy. But it was the last time the youth group was ever asked to go door-to-door, so some good came from it. 😀

    1. Also, my husband would always let in the JWs and Mormons and whoever, and would talk with them and be friendly. When he first told me that I thought he was crazy, because I was always terrified of them because I didn’t have the tools or knowledge to support my position. He may have gone to a public school and a Methodist church, but he had more people skills in high school than I even have today.

      1. The best witnessing I’ve ever…er…witnessed, to this day, was done by a Methodist in a cigar shop. I’m still impressed by what I saw of his openness and kindness, yet ability to stay on track.

  10. I’ve done plenty of hanging literature on doors, but I don’t do the talking to people thing. I will do pretty much anything to get out of talking to people, in fact, because I hate it so much. Well, this one time, I didn’t have to worry about it.

    The group I was with wasn’t a fundy one, but we girls were still wearing skirts and had long hair, so we probably looked either fundy or JW. There’s me and this other girl, both probably only about fifteen or so, and we come across a small apartment complex. As we usually did, we looked for the office to ask if it was OK for us to pass out our Bible texts.

    We find the office in the middle of the complex. As we approach, we see the front door’s open. As we draw closer, though, evidently someone inside notices us, as the screen door crashes shut, the door behind that is slammed to and locked, and we can hear inside the building more doors being closed and locked.

    I think the two of us stood there for about five minutes laughing ourselves silly at how terrifying we must have looked, two girls in skirts with a bag of religious material! 😆

    1. Oh, two more: this past summer, a girl I went to high school with came to my door. (Yes, I’m not that many years out of high school. :)) Most intensely awkward conversation of both of our lives, I think.

      And then there was the time I nearly got heatstroke and felt like I was going to die… yeah, when it’s a 100+ degree day in a humid Arkansas suburb with absolutely no shade, it’s kind of a good idea to bring along some water. I thank God to this day that I ran out of material just a few feet from about the only tree of significance in the place!

      And then there was the time a friend may have sort of accidentally booted a dog off a small cliff… in front of its family… whoops! Hey, it was coming after his ankles!

  11. I used to go soul-winning daily with a friend of mine for several years. One day we were finishing up the project housing and when he knocked on the door a guy pulled a pistol out and stuck it in his face! 😯

    He asked for money and THANKFULLY my friend pulled out a tithe envelope from his bible and said “You know what happens if you take God’s money right?”.

    The guy just slammed the door on us and we walked away a little shaken. And the school used to send all the girls to that part of town too! 👿

    1. “A little shaken?” Sheesh, I got robbed at gunpoint about ten years ago and I had therapists making $ dealing with that for years. But your friend was a quick-thinker, good for him.

  12. It didn’t happen to me, but I am told years ago of a couple of guys, one an older Christian and the other younger, going door to door in my old neighborhood. At one house a young woman answered the door wearing only a bikini and, with a cigarette dangling from her lips, she looked at the neck-tied pair on her front steps, put her hand on her hip, and said, “What can I do for you?”

    The young man snarkily answered, “Well, if you’ll go put some clothes on, and take that weed out of your mouth, we MIGHT talk to you!”

    She slammed the door shut, leaving her visitors to find their own way out of her yard.

    I smile but, there is just so much funny and sad all at once once about that event. 😕

  13. I remember one Saturday going door to door we saw that some Mormons had beaten us to the neighborhood (evidenced by the tracts they left). So we would remove them and replace them with ours. We end up seeing them on our way back, two girls about our age (late teens early 20s). They smiled and I either smiled or got flustered, not sure which. Apparently it was very noticeable and the rest of the time the guy I was with kept telling everyone else from the church that we saw “my girlfriend”

    This also happened to be the same day that another friend from church got their pants chewed on by a goat that came out along with the owner of the house.

    1. “…another friend from church got their pants chewed on by a goat that came out along with the owner of the house.”

      Best closing line I never saw coming…ever. 😀

  14. We have some JWs that regularly canvass our neighborhood. A year or so ago, one nice gentleman (and his young lackey) knocked on my door so I happily invited them in. I spent about thirty minutes showing them that, yes, the Bible does teach that Jesus is God, and, yes, He is worshiped pretty explicitly in numerous passages. Then I asked them a few questions and started pointing out pretty significant flaws in their logic. At this point, the older gentlemen decided to it was time to be go visit the next house…

    …about a month ago, I was out working in my yard and some nice ladies stopped by to chat. I politely answered their questions (they were surprised I knew the answers :/) and they asked where I studied theology. It was quite cordial actually. Towards the end of our (brief) conversation, the older lady said she’ll have to bring her husband to chat with me…

    …two weeks later, the nice lady stops by with her husband. He’s the same older gentleman that stopped by a year ago. She introduces us and he replies, “We’ve met.” Very stiff and awkward sounding the way he said it. She gave me a magazine, and they left to go to their next house.

    1. That brings back memories of my mother having… disputes, we’ll call them, with JWs when I was a kid. For some very strange reason, we didn’t get a lot of JWs to our door after the first few times. That may have been right after the time a guy tried to cite 2 Peter chapter 12 to rebut something my mother said…

      1. James told me that his mother, who was a very upright Baptist woman (church organist, led the ladies’ group, etc etc) kept a basket of tracts next to the front door. When JW or Mormon missionaries came to call, she would accept their tracts only if they would take one of hers. I thought that was pretty cool, actually. He said that she would occasionally talk with them at length (on the porch- she never let them into the house, even if Fred were home- maybe because he was home, as he was a rather pugnacious sort and would argue) and usually sent them off scratching their heads…

    2. For a while our neighborhood would constantly have JW’s come through. I was talking to a couple ladies when my then 2 year old wandered outside butt naked. Needless to say it was a really long time before they ever came back to knock on our door. 😆

      1. I bought my house from a pastor, and for about 15 years now our house has had a shield or invisible hedge of protection around it. I see JW’s once in a while in the neighborhood, but they never stop here. It’s kinda cool.

  15. I was out going door to door with a friend. My friend was driving. One of the first doors we knocked on was answered by a State Trooper in his full uniform. I guess he was on his way to work.
    Anyway, he grilled my friend hard about why he was out driving a car with the tail light smashed in. He threatened to give him a ticket.
    In retrospect I think he was just having a laugh at our expense. It worked because my friend suddenly felt like going home after that.

  16. Around 5th grade I went canvassing with my dad and sister. To cover more ground faster at the seedy projects we were visiting, we each took a door of the same apartment building. Well, the door I knocked on didn’t open but a voice said “come in.” Wanting a contact, I figured I could just step inside. Next the voice said “come upstairs”. Being both eager and obedient (especially to male voices), I cast a last look at the door behind me and then proceeded to go upstairs, thinking I would then get a chance to say my memorized spiel. There was a man lounging in a bed who looked me over and then told me to come around to the other side of the bed, which would would put him between me and the door. I hesitated, but he repeated the order and I was just about to obey, when his phone rang. He picked it up and while he was talking I heard my dad yelling outside. I ran back downstairs and my dad told me to never, ever go in a house alone again even if you do think you’re going to get to witness to someone. I’m not sure if I ever told him exactly what happened, but years later when I became less naive, the memory of that changed from merely scary to downright traumatic.

    For teen soul-winning we were always sent with a pair of girls dropped on one side of the street and a pair of boys on the other. This one time a dog was barking at me and while I was nervous I felt I was handling it fine – not making eye contact with the dog, holding still, etc. Well, our pastor’s son from across the street decided to come running in toward the dog to get it to chase him so I could escape. Naturally it chased and snapped at him and he claimed to be wounded and used it as bragging rights about having “saved” me for years afterward. While I appreciated the intervention, I really thought I would have made it out of that yard just fine on my own, but you don’t contradict boys. Especially not pastor’s sons :/

    I went every week from about 7th to 11th grade and I had all the “correct” techniques down pat. So fast forward a couple years and I’m in college and I no longer feel comfortable with 1-2-3 repeat after me soul-winning techniques, but I still feel like I ought to go on door-to-door if I’m a real Christian so I go and this girl I’m paired with typifies everything I no longer quite believe. She makes me very uncomfortable with her pushy tactics and her easy believism. Because I choose to be the silent partner, she thinks I have never been soul-winning and she starts “teaching” me all the tried and true tactics that my parents taught me when I was 4 or 5. I insist that I want to remain the silent partner. We go up to the next door, and she knocks, the door opens, and she refuses to speak. It’s really, really awkward for a minute there but I finally reluctantly start talking. I decide not to be pushy and as we walk away (without a new convert) she proceeds to tell me everything I did wrong. It’s everything I can do not to tell her that I know everything she does about soul-winning and then some. Instead I hold my tongue (for once in my life) and just quit going on door-to-door.

  17. Oh, dear. I was a rotten soul winner. As a teen, I’d always pair up with my friend who hated doing it as much as I would.So as soon as the bus would round the corner (read: no adult supervision), we’d immediately stop knocking on doors and just leave tracts between the screen and the door. It was probably just as effective as anything else we could’ve done.

    1. I’m guessing leaving the tracts in the door was marginally MORE effective than that personal touch they expected you to add. It was brave of you to try. It pains me the so-called “grown-ups” forced this experience on you.

  18. I was a bus captain while in college and we would visit our kids on Saturday mornings to remind them about Sunday services. One girl’s dad answered the door and the overpowering aroma of weed drifted out. I said what I had to say and got out of there quickly. I often wonder about that young girl.

  19. I never went door knocking when we were in the “peoples republic of fundystan”, although we did go and support the Thursday night street preaching/screaming fest that went on. We never felt comfortable with that and I basically just went to hang out with my friends and look at the girls in the mall. Boy, I’m getting old. Nothing “bad” ever happened, strangely though, handing out tracts in the mall was never really a good way to hit on or pick up girls. 🙁

    1. Our bible “college” mandated each of us males to street “preach” 3 times a week AND get graded while doing it by our peers. We also had to turn in 3 outlines that we had “preached” out there for a grade. 😕

      Your comment just reminded me how much I don’t miss any of that.

    1. I did the Spanish version of Evangelism Explosion with my uncle’s church in Tecate, MX. I remember spending hours trying to memorize the outline and witnessing to complete strangers out in the marketplace. Though I hate talking to complete strangers, the people of Mexico were a lot more receptive than anyone I ever witnessed to in the States. As one couple that got “saved” told us, “since it’s about God, it has to be very important what you are telling us.” Of course not everyone was as welcoming, but it just felt like religious matters weighed more in their daily lives than in our lives here.

      That being said, I’m glad I never have to run through that outline in front of complete strangers on the street ever again.

    2. Our little teeny tiny independent baptist church had all the materials, and as I read through them, I was thinking that they were very fundamentalist, and yet it was developed by a Presbyterian. We looked at the Master’s way and then settled on a set of materials that taught us how to develop relationships with people in our circles of life and get them into bible study wat whatever place they were in life. I cannot remember the name of the materials, but we used thm to great benefit. I do know that Bill Hybels was involved in the making of the materials.

  20. Probably the experience that fills me with the most shame was going on mandatory evangelism at Fundy U in the “bad” neighborhood (the crime rate was actually pretty low, but a lot of black people lived there, so of course it was THE bad neighborhood). We came to a typical ratty house, and were invited in by a younger guy. An old lady lay on a rickety bed beside the door. There was no AC, in Florida, in the summer. A creaky ceiling fan turned the room into a convection oven. My partner and I – all spiffed up in our khakis and collared shirts – declined to come in. The old lady insisted, saying that she wanted to talk about Jesus. Who knows – maybe going into a stranger’s house wouldn’t be wise, but that’s not why we left in a hurry. We left because it was hot, dirty, and Other. I didn’t know a thing about Jesus at the time, and I certainly didn’t act like him. It is a painful memory, a constant reminder of God’s grace that Jesus came into my dirty, repugnant life and saved me, even as I rejected the poor in his name.

  21. I’m so glad I was never forced to do this. By the time I was old enough, I was already marked as covertly rebellious and subversive, so I’m pretty sure The Powers That Be didn’t trust me to behave myself.

    But I saw plenty of it, since any time church members went somewhere as a group (even just a couple of moms and kids out shopping together), they would find a “target” and do some ambush witnessing. This only added to my already-considerable mortification at having to wear denim jumpers and keds in public.

  22. Ugh, the number of times I’ve knocked on atheists’ doors.

    I remember one in particular, this guy was probably in his mid-to-late twenties and was a very intelligent guy. I was with two other guys, all of us in our early twenties. This guy comes out that he is an atheist early on in our inviting him to church. Well, the word ‘atheist’ really caught the attention of my bus captain who was one of the men with me. He tried having a conversation with this fellow, who was well versed in Christian apologetic. To keep it short, he knew his stuff in biology, evolution, and creationism. He also mentioned the Synoptic Gospels at one point, a term I never heard while growing up as a Fundy and only learned about recently before having this conversation with the atheist. I remember the second guy I was with, he asked the atheist a question, I think it was about the Flood, and the atheist, “You do not want to go there.”

    A week later, as we went visiting in that apartment complex, my two friends again wanted to visit the atheist just to say hi. The atheist said, “You know what’s weird, I just spoke with a friend this past week. He was an ardent Christian most of his life, and now he’s an atheist. It was very odd considering I just met you guys last week.”

    I remember knocking on another man’s door and having a twenty minute conversation with him. So many times during that conversation, he would put his hand on my shoulder and say, “My son.” in a very condescending way. From what I recall, the conversation was about how we can’t necessarily prove that God really exists or not, and the same goes with the history of the Bible. When we finished and he closed his door, I just said, “That was a complete waste of time.”

    All in all, despite performing door knocking almost every week from middle school to high school, I do not believe I ‘led a soul to the Lord’ for the first time till I was 18 or 19, after high school. Despite knowing the Gospel presentation backwards and forward, I would become shy very easily. Making that first knock in 7th grade was harder than the first witness.

    1. Strangely enough, I’ve only met one openly atheistic person in my career of passing out literature… sadly, considering many other atheists I know are lovely people, she was also possibly the rudest person I’ve met in my career of passing out literature.

  23. I went a few times but stopped after one Saturday morning. We knocked on a door and a woman answered. We had obviously woke her up from her Saturday morning sleep in and who knows…maybe she had worked the night shift. I felt bad for her…

  24. As a teenager it was mandatory for us to go “soulwinning” and the thought was since we are located in Los Angeles and live in a city of 10 million people that the minimum amount of people that we should “save” everytime we went out was 10.,., so all my teenage buddies would go out and just lie about “leading people to the Lord”., it got so bad that we were coming back everytime with 30,40, and even at times 60 people “saved”., and the crazy thing is that all this “saving” was happening in 15-30 minutes of being out on the streets.,., the “leadership” at the church would discipline us if we came back with less than 10 sould saved.,., and they would reward and sing for the teenager that came back with the most souls saved.,., cheeech !!

  25. I had a SS teacher who had JW’s knock on his door repeatedly and he got tired of it, especially since he had been nice to them all along. So he finally invited them in to have a Bible study. They started their spiel, but he said they should pray first, and he immediately bowed his head and started praying, “In the name of Jesus, we ask for your help in understanding this book, ” etc., etc. JW’s are not allowed to stay where the deity of Jesus is being proclaimed, so they got up and walked out. My teacher followed them, still praying out loud, through the front door, out across the yard, down the sidewalk, and all the way to the corner stop sign. They never, ever came back to his house. 😀

  26. I am NOT an outgoing person, so to be forced to go “soul winning” as a teen was very uncomfortable for me. The one thing I really resented was that we weren’t really trained in any way. They just let us loose in any given neighborhood. How on earth they expect people to be convinced by a couple of green teenagers is beyond me. I was always the silent partner, just because I didn’t have the confidence to lead the discussion, or for that matter, have enough information to have a debate with anyone. I absolutely hated it, and it was with relief when I left a tract in a screen door because nobody answered. Also, I think people let their dogs loose in their yards specifically to keep people like us out!

    1. Fortunately, the church I was in as a teen didn’t consider soul-winning to be the be-all and end-all of the Christian existence. In college, it was a little worse; then, post-college, going ‘soul-winning’ became mandatory to do anything in the church (told a bit of my story above)

  27. The proper response to men in suits knocking at your door is to answer the door in a suit of your own… my personal favorite is the aluminum foil cod piece with matching head gear. It is always proper to introduce yourselves (pl) with the appropriate Orkonian greeting of “Nan-nu, Nan-nu” and a Cossack style hug and kiss. (tongue optional)

    Invite them in and always offer them the option of sitting on you lap, or you sitting on their’s. If they have gotten this far it is time to offer your guests refreshments, beer, wine, jello shots… or maybe some special Brownies.

    Be sure to treat your guests to some soothing music, “My Sweet Lord” is a crowd pleaser along with “Stairway to Heaven.” *this would be a good time to excuse yourself to “go freshen up” for your guests.

    If your guests have made it this far it’s time to ask for their badges and identification because they must be FBI rather than IFB. *and you will have som ‘slpainin’ to do.* 😆

      1. Lord Don, I have been thinking about the fact codpieces, whether made of tin foil or clinflim are not mentioned in the King James Bible (neither are tin foil and cling film) so should any true Christian use anything that is not part of Scripture? More importantly, codpieces are not part of the Fundamentalist culture, so no true Christian should wear them.

        1. But Dr Fundy, you can’t make those kinds of jokes, it will upset the King James Version Onlyists 😆

    1. I did not know what a codpiece was till I googled it for myself. Don, you post the most hilarious things sometimes. I wish I could meet you and have a cold one with you.

  28. BEST EVER…knocking doors as 20 year college student inviting folks to the fundy version of VBS called Neighborhood Bible Time (NBT)

    Door opens attractive eighteen to twenty year old girl answers the door in a bikini…the guy I was with says, “Hi, I would like to invite you to Neighborhood Bikini Time”…stammer, stammer, “I mean Neighborhood Bikini Time, I mean Bible Time.” Yep, twice he allowed that to slip out. Needless to say she never came.

    1. FACT: 1/3 of all homes in the United States have nubile women inside who will answer the door half naked if you knock on the door.

      FACT: At least 1/4 of such women are down to shag teenage boys carrying a Bible.

      The danger is real. On the other hand, this means there’s a 1 in 12 chance of a preacher boy getting the best nine seconds of his life.

  29. I sucked at door knocking. Not only am I not outgoing, I just never felt right doing it. I can’t imagine ever changing my worldview and lifestyle because someone knocked on my door and handed me a pamphlet. I don’t like getting knocks on my door. So why would I do it to other people?

    I occasionally get some fundy Baptists or Mormons or who knows what come by. I politely but directly tell them I am not interested. I used to try to scare them away by telling them I was in seminary or whatever but it never works and it just seems cocky.

    1. My husband tells them we are Zoroastrian.

      If I had been allowed, er, forced to door knock, I would have sucked, being 1) an extreme introvert and 2) not really a Christian by that point.

  30. Lol I’ve been doorknocking since before I could walk. And honestly have seen pretty much everything… A very naked couple coming to the door in just a single blanket between them (talk about an eye opener!) getting bitten by a German Shepherd guard dog, my younger brother waiting for my dad to finish witnessing for so long, he ended up wetting himself right there on the doorstep (interrupting was unheard of!), being followed around the block by strange cars, strange men and several dogs, having things thrown at me, being asked if I wanted them to call child services on my parents (due to doorknocking at just 12, with my younger brother in the hottest Australian day of the summer with no one to protect us), etc. Lol I saw my first naked guy while door-knocking and a lot of other firsts I’m only just really realizing now. Fortunately as a child I was extremely sheltered or I’d be pretty traumatized by some of the crap we’d get called and some of the sexual innuendo that completely went over my head and some of the extremely dangerous situations I was put in.

  31. I remember a time when nothing bad happened with the person who was my partner. This was in Illinois; my partner was a staff member – they were trying to convince me to “get with the program”. We went to a door; a lady answered, who was in the middle of doing something – she really didn’t want to listen and turned us down (I remember thinking that if she so clearly wanted away from us, we should let her go). Anyway, after she was allowed to back at her business and the door was closed, this fine example of a staff member declared that the reason she didn’t want to listen is that she was living in sin with her boyfriend and was afraid of the truth. Needless to say, nothing she said or that we saw supported such a conclusion; she just didn’t want to talk to us at that time.

    The arrogance and condescension almost made me ill; even as I write this, I am ashamed that I was part of it.

  32. While at HAC every few months or so we had to go to the Projects of Chicago. When i say projects, i mean the absolute Ghetto called Cabrini Greens. Google it..

    Once my friend and i were on one of the higher floors of the 20 story highrise. After about 30 minutes my friend decided that he had to pee. There are no public restrooms. Instead of peeing in the hallways or stairwells like all of the residence, he needed more privacy. He chose to break into an abandoned unit and use its facilities. For some reason he decided not to to use the toilet but rather to pee in the bath tub. About half way through his businesshe heard some comotion behind him. He turned to see children running around behind him. This is when he realized the unit was not abandoned at all. It was somebody’s home. Imagine that, you are a small black kid living in one of the worst areas of the US and a white stranger breaks into your home and pees in you bathtub!

    1. I know Cabridi Green. It was the absolute worst in Chicago. It is the ghetto down and dirty. I have a friend who was not really fundy and decided to minister to kids there. They didn’t do soul-winning. They did relationship building. It was hard, extremely hard, and he saw some fruit, but not much.

  33. My dad was the pastor of our small IFB church and one night we ended up inside this older lady’s home (well it was more like a run down shack) that was so infested with roaches it should have been condemned. You could see them all over the walls, and I vividly remember having to shuffle my feet every few seconds in attempt to keep them from climbing up my shoes and legs. Her husband was in a recliner and chewed massive amounts of tobacco, and there were metal coffee cans completely full of his spit everywhere. I can still remember the smell.

    She ended up attending our church and the church paid an exterminator to go and treat her home. Not sure it ever helped… once a few bugs crawled out of her purse during the sermon and two 80-year-old ladies in the row behind her started shrieking. Epic IFB moments…

    1. That is so sad – that lady’s living conditions. I mean that. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m glad your church at least tried to do something constructive, with paying for an exterminator to go to her home.

  34. I was in the SB church as a teen, so the closest thing I have to a soulwinning story is selling doughnuts door to door for the youth group. One of the doors I knocked on was opened by a very young mother with two toddler aged children and a hangover. She said “Yeah, you don’t know anything about this, right?” Then she got two boxes for her kids to have for breakfast.

    I remembered being slightly shocked, but feeling that she was very nice under the circumstances. I was also about 16, and she couldn’t have been much older than 22. It made me think about how quickly a person’s life can change.

  35. Decades ago, I was out soul winning and got pinned between a screen door and the front door of a house by a dog bent on devouring me. I had already knocked on the door, which woke Fido up, and he charged at me. When the homeowner opened the door, there I was literally falling into his hands onto his front room floor. He refused to call his dog off until I stated my business, and then geto angry because I was once of those “religious” people. BTW: that was when I was a lot thinner, and was able to fit between a screen door and front door. Nowadays I’m considerably “wider” than I used to be. Ah well, suffering for Jesus.

  36. One time our youth group activity was handing out tracts. (That’s exciting, huh?) My sister and I decided to team up; as soon as we were out of sight of the others we found the nearest trash can. We made sure we weren’t the first ones back. I put $1 in the offering because I felt guilty for throwing them away. Now I just want my $1 back. ha

  37. I forgot to mention something very important about my soul winning endeavors back in those days: We were told at my militant, IFB church that to have bad breath while witnessing could turn people off to such a degree that they’d go to hell. Not wanting that to happen, I became a “Binaca Baptist,” and shot little drops of that stuff in my mouth every few seconds. It made my eyes water, and my nose run, which I’m sure could be such a turn off to reprobate sinners they’d risk going to hell over that as much as my bad breath. I should start a new denomiation called, “Binaca Baptists.”

      1. Yup. Was a Hyles “wannabe” church: Central Baptist Church in Pomona, CA. Hyles came out every year to lamblast us with his pomp, bombast, and thunderous pulpit oratory. That’s where I learned how to win em, wet em, work em, and wear em out!

        1. I drank most of the KoolAid, but I didn’t get why the PBs would use Binaca just because Hyles did. I always thought it was weird.

        2. @Semp, it was because in his little book “Let’s go soul winning” Hyles says that one of the steps in soul winning is to always carry mints to freshen the breath. And in his later years he graduated to Binaca. It has become sort of a long standing joke among former Hyles followers.

      1. oops, the Marjoe link has been removed. But if you watch the “Marjoe” documentary on Netflix, or wherever you can find it, he makes specific reference to having fresh breath and using Binaca.

        1. Oh man, witnessing in the 70’s Bianca was a required accessory. I was just a kid but I remember the Southern Baptist Growth movements and the Witnessing classes. It was the late 70’s when I was exposed to the IFB in a BJU outpost. They had witnessing down to a science and had even made it a requirement for being a Christian in “good standing.” *sigh* The errors and excesses of the Legalistic traditions. *shakes head and mumbles to self*

    1. With watery eyes and a runny nose people probably didn’t know you were a Binaca Baptist. It is highly likely some of them thought you were a Cocaine Christian though.

  38. as a teenager, stuffing Chick tracts into the vegetable bins at the grocery store in Lowell, Indiana. And leaving them on the toilet paper dispensers in the restrooms. And feeling spiritual about it.

    1. I used to find Chick Tracts in the erotica section of the bookstores. You know that whoever put it there got a good look at whatever book it was first.

        1. No, the person was looking for sermon material. Then he could explain just what exactly the problem was.

  39. When I lived in Charleston, the JW would come around from time to time. I managed to avoid them, but once they made the mistake of knocking on my Mormon neighbors’ door and were confronted by the rather irate husband. He went on a long rant about being bothered by these guys, who in return plowed ahead with their spiel regardless. This went on for over two hours and I never did find out who prevailed. :mrgreen: 😆

  40. When I was little and we were still Baptist, soul-winning was drilled into me. I got a bunch of leaflets from the narthex and papered my neighborhood with them. I don’t know what they were all about except that one was a bout stewardship. Oddly, by folks found out and were unhappy. I still don’t know what that was about.

    When we got into the pentecostal church, they didn’t do the door-to-door stuff (other churches did, out particular one didn’t) but accosting people at the grocery, on the street, etc was the thing. Standing in front of the Movie Theater (I remember being on the sidewalk when Star Wars came out, trying to tell people that The Force was real and he was Jesus) was another big one. But most of all, witnessing to people we knew at school and work etc. There was one girl at school (kind of a frienemy- I was in 7th grade I think) who I badgered into praying the Sinner’s Prayer with me, but I don’t think it stuck. I also went through jr high and high school carrying my huge Bible with me wherever I went. I was like some sort of shield or something. But everyone knew I was a Christian, however I behaved, because I had that hurking Bible. I don’t think anyone was impressed with that.

    When the JW or Mormon or Baptist folks come to call, I simply tell them No thanks, I’ Episcopalian and happy in my faith. They generally leave politely. I had some guy (probably Baptist) try to tell me that my church was idolatrous and I was not saved. I told him that that was offensive, and you never win people over by offending them. And then I closed the door in his face. I’m sure he went away feeling all smug.

  41. The “college” I attended required us to ask 10 people every week if they were saved. It didn’t matter how old they were. One girl I knew “led” a 3-year-old to Christ on bus visitation one Saturday. The child’s mother wasn’t very happy. But I wasn’t very good at this. I didn’t mind inviting people to church, but walking up to complete strangers and asking them “If you died today, do you know where you’d spend eternity?” didn’t seem very effective. You always had to give the Plan anyway, because we were taught not to believe them.

    1. You were taught not to believe them if they said they were Christians? Really? I had a guy do a similar thing once, while I was waiting his table. He asked me two or three times. I was nice, because I wanted a tip, but I was exasperated inside.

      1. RG – we were absolutely taught that if someone came to the Lord in any other than the proscribed “1-2-3-repeat-after-me” way, he or she wasn’t saved. As I look back, I can’t figure out why I did this, since I certainly wasn’t saved that way. No aisle, no Romans Road, no tracts. Just the Savior and me.

  42. Darrell, this one was just too easy. I had an experience with some door-knockers just a few weeks ago.

    I live on a cul-de-sac, so any vehicle coming to the end of the street has to turn around to head back out. One Saturday morning I heard a vehicle come down the street, turn around, and instead of it accelerating up the street, the engine turned off. So, I knew this vehicle had parked on the street near the front of my house. I looked out the window and immediately knew that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had come calling due to the appearance of the crowd of people piling out of a van. Fortunately, they were “working” the other side of the street first, which gave me time to hand-write a sign saying “WE ALREADY KNOW JESUS. THANKS.” and tape it to my front door in hopes that as soon as they approached the porch and saw the sign, they knew they would be wasting their time ringing my doorbell.

    My 17 yr old son didn’t understand at all what the hell I was doing in taping that sign to the door until “DING DONG”, the doorbell rang. “Son, if you open that door I swear you’ll be on laundry duty for a month!” After the JW’s ringing the doorbell 3 times before finally leaving the porch and walking to the neighbors, I opened the door and removed the sign. My 10 yr old daughter found the whole thing to be so hilarious that as soon as I left the living room, she taped the sign back up on the front door so she would have a story to tell the rest of the neighborhood kids. I doubt that any of the other moms on my street would ever do such a thing.

    1. @ Teresa. I’m a little confused. Why would a “We already know Jesus” sign be a deterrent to JWs? Wouldn’t it be more of an enticement for them, since they don’t consider Jesus to be God, they think Christians are heretics, and they need to preach even more to you to make sure you’re one of them?

    2. Teresa, maybe they would not admit it, but it’s even money the other moms secretly admired yours for putting up a sign against door-knockers. If any similar signs ever appear in the neighborhood when these guys come back, you’ll know she started something. 😉

  43. My dad was (and is) all-out IFB so as soon as I turned 11 I went soul-winning every Thursday night. I hated it because I was so shy. But anyway my story is about some JWs that came to my door a few months ago. I didn’t want to be mean so I kind of deflected them gently. I told them my husband wasn’t home so I couldn’t really talk to them about it. They asked if they could come back sometime and like a complete idiot I said yes. They are not Baptists, once-and-done. They came back…5 times!! We kept not answering the door because we figured they would eventually stop, but they sure didn’t give up, and I literally was beginning to dread Saturday mornings. I felt stalked. Anyway finally my husband answered the door and said that we went to church with our family and we wouldn’t be leaving them. Haven’t heard from them since, but that experience opened my eyes to how people must have viewed us when we came to their doors.

  44. My tale begins at Seville Square. For any of you PCC types, you should remember this ministry. It was my first weekend doing required ministry, and I had absolutely no idea what to think of it. I was paired with a junior because it was my first time doing it.

    Essentially, we were to go down into Seville, which is bar country, and share the Gospel with just about anyone who was willing to listen. We go around 9-10pm at night.

    Well…my partner decided he did not want to go into Seville, and we walked several blocks in the opposite direction. I really had no idea where he was going, maybe another set of bars or some kind of park.

    When we finally arrived, I had found that he had the brilliant idea of door knocking at 9pm at night. I instantly had reservations about it…but also did not want to be the new blood who prevented God’s work…so I went with it.

    Little did I know the junior I was with would yell, scream, plead, and place his foot in the door, hoping to get converts. After having the door slammed on us four times and being chased off by dogs, I was ready to call it a night. But the crowning jewel of our night, and the Pensacola Police Department had not happened yet.

    We had meandered into the slightly nicer part of the neighborhood, and had walked down what looked like a scenic route to someone’s door…I noticed it did not seem to be the front door of the house. In fact, we had happened upon someone’s master bedroom from their private backyard access.
    The owner of the house had a guest.

    We interrupted them.

    I was shocked and averted my gaze. My partner on the otherhand had never seen anything except eskimo dogs copulate in the nether parts of Alaska where he was from. He kept knocking until the gentleman in question dismounted and answered the door.

    After giving a Bible to the gentleman we had so graciously cockblocked, we began to walk back to the center of Seville to get our rides back to the wire. On our way, we were stopped by the Police.

    After asking us to take our hands out of our pockets and checking our ID’s, the officer asked who thought it was a good idea to go Jesus-yelling at 9pm at people’s houses? I walked away and left my compadre standing to explain himself. I was not going to be part of it.

    Strangely enough, I had gone on seville square every weekend after that, and had built many relationships in the downtown area, but nothing quite as unique or bizarre ever happened again.

      1. It is unfortunately 100% True. I should probably be thankful for that experience. I may have never questioned those types of evangelistic methods until that happened.

  45. At the moment, I can’t remember any crazy things happening to me. What I know for sure is that, in seven years of consistently going door-knocking, I never once saw a lost person get saved and baptized, or a Christian join our church. No exaggeration.

    Credible research studies have been done that show that vast majorities of people in the business world will not consider making a purchase off a cold call, period. When you consider that “soul-winners” are essentially trespassing on peoples’ private property uninvited and asking them not to make a purchase but to make a very personal decision, it is no wonder the level of resistance is what it is. It takes being put on the other side of things to realize it.

    This is one area where Fundamentalists are stuck in the 60’s. There was a time when it was culturally acceptable for strangers to go to a person’s home and talk about religion. Now, that is socially unacceptable. In most parts of the country, that person is giving offense before he even begins speaking. The Fundamentalists I have known sincerely believe that door-knocking is biblical and is the right thing to do, but are too blinded to realize how they are perceived by their community.

    1. Do they really think it’s Biblical? That is so weird IMHO. When did Peter or Paul ever get in people’s faces that way? The apostles usually went to the synagogue to preach, and curious people came to them…right? Or they preached in a public square or in a believer’s home. But never did they force themselves on people.

      I’m not sure what is the best way to witness in our modern world. But I agree 100% that it’s not door-knocking.

      1. Oh yes, they will swear up and down that when Paul went from house to house, he was door-knocking trying to win souls. That’s in Acts 20:20 (And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,) and some of them use door-knocking campaigns they call “Acts 20:20 Vision” to motivate people to do it.

        I really don’t understand the attraction, unless it is a part of the hero worship, since all the great MoG’s did it that way. I think some of the more charismatic (in personality) pastors have a much easier time with it than the average person, and do not understand what it is like for an introvert to do something like that. Regardless, it is accepted fundy dogma that if you are not knocking doors, you must be new-evangelical or something. At the last pastor’s fellowship meeting I went to, about all I took away from the last guy’s message was, “If you’re not knocking doors, you should just quit now!”

        1. Thanks for giving the references. I was too lazy to look them up on my ESV.

          I wonder if the meaning of ‘house to house’ was actually talking about the church assembly in various cities. I’m sure they couldn’t all fit in just house, hence the need for many houses hosting meetings of believers.

        2. I definitely think it was more like that, semp. I do NOT think it was knocking on stranger’s doors and giving them the Roman’s Road. I think the teaching and preaching Jesus Christ involved much more than that.

        3. That’s exactly right. The idea that you can break into someone’s life and bring them to an understanding of the Gospel in a five minute conversation pretty much reveals the depth of the kind of gospel these people are pushing.

      2. The “door knocking” traveling salvation salesmen have tainted the word “Baptist” here in NW Indiana to such an extent that our church will soon be dropping it from our name. We have a growing congregation (SBC) of non-judge mental people, a pastor who we just call “Scott”, and an outreach that cares more about helping people than using them.

        We will soon be moving (after building larger facilities) to a parcel of land that is “spitting distance” from HAC ( in Crown Point). It was RECOMMENDED by the SBC representative for our area that we drop the word “Baptist” from our new name.

        Door-knocking and it’s attendant pushiness/ formulaic proseletyzing has jaded our area. Well done, FBCH and HAC… You have “separated” yourselves from the “world”. Now, move over, and let us serve them.

        1. Wow. As a pastor I would never have imagined removing the name “Baptist” (Please don’t take that the wrong way, that was me, I do not mean to criticize anyone else), but if I were in your place, I think I would be convinced to do it.

        2. We removed the name Baptist from our church. We weren’t HAC-affiliated (although the former pastor DID leave the Hyles’ Church Manual book in his church office, not that my husband ever looked at it), but Baptist DOES have an obnoxious connotation for a lot of people in our area. Plus, while we did learn the Baptist distinctives, the biggest emphasis was always being Christ-followers, so, if in order to more effectively follow Christ, we must drop the name Baptist, we are willing to do so.

        3. @Preacher’s Wife… (The term) “Baptist” has an obnoxious connotation in our area”

          That sums it up well.

  46. I have several stories from when I was on a mission team to Mexico as a BJU student.

    One time, we were working with a local church to hand out tracts in a large public park. The Mexican church members gave us the tracts to use and we started fanning out through the park, handing them out and inviting people to the church. I noticed that the tracts were especially virulent on the subject of worshiping Mary. I agreed with their contention that we should not worship Mary, but I didn’t think that emphasizing that fact was a great way to get a conversation going, let alone start building relationships.

    About halfway through the park, we saw that there was some kind of fair going on and as we got closer we heard the announcements on the loud speaker. It was a fund raiser for a new Catholic church, and they were announcing, “Gringos, go home!” They didn’t like the tracts we were passing out either. The Mexican church members kept saying, “No, we’re not going anywhere, we have as much right to be here as they do!” and I kept thinking, “That’s easy for you to say!” The hostility was mounting noticeably, but the Mexican church members did not want to leave and we were stuck with them.

    Then I approached a man and asked him if he wanted to take a tract and he said (in Spanish) that no, he did not want it, and he was offended by us being there. I apologized for offending him and invited him to the church. In turn, he invited me to his church. Trying to be polite, I thanked him and tried to walk away, but then he opened a conversation on why we don’t worship Mary. I was trying to answer his questions but also to gently disengage and walk away, but this man was seriously offended and he wanted to argue. He grew more and more heated, and a half dozen or so members of the Mexican church came and surrounded me while we talked, to protect me. I remember thinking that the other students at BJU would be so shocked to hear that I had been martyred in Mexico over the summer. Eventually we managed to walk away.

    1. For the record, Catholics do not worship Mary. We worship God and God alone.

      We venerate and honor Mary and the saints. We do not adore or worship them.

      This is Catholicism 101. I am surprised that a university (BJU) would not know this. Any Catholic priest could set ’em straight on that score in two seconds flat. Provided they were open to listening. 😉

      1. I’m not here to argue about Catholicism, but based on what I’ve read (and I read up a lot of it and used to talk to Catholics on line), many Catholics will say they don’t worship Mary, but in practice, that is what they do.

        1. I grew up in a very Catholic household, and attended a Catholic college. There is a definite line between veneration (offering respect) and worship. I can understand how outsiders wouldn’t see the difference but trust me, it’s there.

        2. Just as End Time Prophecy Obsession is the characteristically Evangelical way to flake out, so Mary Obsession is the characteristically Catholic way to flake out.

        3. It is generally considered “arguing in bad faith” to refuse to accept, “No, we don’t worship Mary” as a plain, definitive answer.

          “Yes, you do, too,” is neither a rational nor a charitable response. 😉

          BTW–this question has been answered so many times that all I have to do is Google to come up with a bajillion responses. (You might try googling, too.)

          Here is just one response, from BJU grad (and former fundamentalist) Father Dwight Longenecker:

        4. BTW, “praying” is not the same thing as “worshipping.” Italians say “Ti prego” — “I pray you” — to indicate “please.” They are not worshipping the person they are asking to pass the butter.

          The guys who translated the KJV used “I pray thee” in exactly the same way. They were not thereby implying worship or adoration.

          A little etymology lesson may be in order. 😉

          OK, here is Catholic doctrine, OK? You don’t have to agree with it, but at least do us the courtesy of accepting that it is what it is. Please do not continue to misrepresent it. Here goes:

          Latria = adoration; due to God alone
          Dulia = veneration; the honor we pay to the saints
          hyperdulia = the special veneration we give to the God-bearer, the Blessed Virgin Mary

          Thanks for understanding! 😀

      2. You don’t, but this guy and his family sure did, and they insisted that we should too. It was not a language or translation problem, either.

  47. Story #2:

    We were walking through a small town, inviting people to a meeting at the church that night, when a small group of us happened to walk into the local bakery. This was in rural Mexico, so it was not a clean, well-lit bakery like you are probably thinking of. The mud floor worked well with the chickens walking in and out of the house, and there were flies everywhere. And did I mention the pig in the house? At least the wooden tables where the bread sat was very clean.

    The leader of our group, making small talk, asked what the man was making and the guy answered that he was making pan dulce (pastries). Our leader smiled broadly and said that he LOVED pan dulce. Big mistake! The guy emptied his store of any and all bread products and gave them ALL to us! There was no turning it down without being inexcusably rude. We brought it back to the house where we were all staying but tried not to say too much about where it came from. It was absolutely delicious and we ate every bit of it. And the baker and his family came to church, too, and made a decision for the Lord.

  48. This isn’t about a soul-winning visit from total strangers, but rather a follow-up visit from a couple of guys from the fundy church my hubby occasionally goes to (and I have gone to a few times.)
    Anyway, it was a father and son team, the father probably being in his 60’s and son in his 30’s. I think the father is a deacon or something.
    It was a nice evening, and we were talking outside. The visit, for the most part, went fairly well – until my hubby mentioned that I am a regular church goer. The older guy asked me where, and I told which church (it is a Southern Baptist church.) He asked me what kind of music, and when I mentioned contemporary, that was that. Rant time, including saying that type of music was only to please people. He didn’t yell, fortunately, but I was thinking that going to someone’s home then criticizing them like that is, well, rude. 🙄

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