Come the summer months I am always reminded of one thing, whether I like it or not: Door to door evangelization.  Jehovah’s witness and Mormons are well known for pursuing this type of evangelization.

I have always wondered how successful this style of evangelization is, and whether or not there are other types of evangelization which are far more worth the effort.  According to an article on About.com entitled “Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses Practice Door to Door Evangelization,” some estimates argue that the Jehovah’s Witnesses get one convert for every 740 houses they knock on.

As a Catholic father, I have often asked myself, “What is the best way to deal with these separated brothers and sisters?”  I don’t think it is the most virtuous and Christ-like action to simply slam the door in their face.  I think that the Christian thing to do is to simply engage them, invite them into your home, and seek to achieve the following goals:

1. Understand them –  Remember the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:“Master, grant that I may not so much . . . seek to be understood as to understand.”  We especially have to remember this when dealing with door to door evangelists.

2. Defend the faith –  Once they find out that you’re Catholic, probably due to your religious statues, crucifix necklace, saint medals, etc. (we tend to give ourselves away pretty easily), then they will probably start to rain down the questions. Hopefully they will genuinely want to know why we believe and do certain things.  Defending the faith is the hardest part of answering door to door evangelists for many of us.  Personally, I would prefer to just push them off on a priest or send them to catholic.com for answers. However, we as the laity ought to empower ourselves.  I suggest you arm yourself with Catholic apologetics books on topics from sola scriptura to Mary to papal authority.  Maybe you even have a few extra to give to them! The bonus is what you learn will be helpful in answering questions from your children as well.

3. Treat them with love –  The last thing you want to do is start a heated argument.  Treat them as you would treat anyone, in persona Christi, or, “in the person of Christ”.  Gently answer their questions, and ask questions of your own, so that you can better understand why they believe what they do. Showing them Catholic hospitality will make a far better impression than verbally assaulting them until they make a run for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting a dialogue with door to door evangelists ought to be something that every Catholic father is not only unafraid of, but also something that every Catholic father wants to do.  Why?  Because it is an opportunity to share the truth of the Catholic faith, to understand what others believe and why, and to treat others with love as Christ would have us do.

What has been your experience with door to door evangelists? What advice would you offer to fathers who might be faced with door to door evangelists?

 

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11 Responses to How to Handle Door to Door Evangelists

  1. @goodsaints says:

    Our Parish Priest took us through the Beginning Apologetics books in a series of classes – http://www.catholiccompany.com/beginning-apologet… – they are very helpful on all kinds of topics!

  2. Chris says:

    I was enheartened to read in the newsletter from the local Catholic school district that they would be starting this year a "Why Am I Catholic" class for the students at the high school, taught by a priest and including apologetics. :)

  3. @MarkTSoaPM says:

    “some estimates argue that the Jehovah's Witnesses get one convert for every 740 houses they knock on.”

    Doesn’t sound so bad to me; must be better than the rate for those who think that evangelism is something for other people (cf. missionaries and Protestants).

  4. Babagranny says:

    We live way off the beaten path, but had some Baptists stop by the other day. Too bad we were in the midst of a road repair project or I would have engaged them in a conversation. A couple of years ago I was stranded with a small group of travelers in a small airport for a whole day and one of the group was a young Mormon just returning home from his missionary year abroad. He and I had a very interesting and friendly conversation. Your advice was right on.

  5. Angel F. DeJesus Sr. says:

    This is a very hard situation to be in. One must be careful if you do not know your scriptures. If you do not know your Bible and how to defend our faith please just remember this, 2nd John Chapter 2 7:11. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 [a]Anyone who [b]goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

  6. Judi Graham says:

    I usually engage them, but do not invite them into my house because of legal issues. I am no scolar when it comes to Catholicism, but I know what I believe and why I believe it. I always invite them to go to Mass with me

  7. Lisa says:

    I usually don't answer the door. I did a few months ago, though. I politely stated that my family is Catholic and I am a non denominational Christian. I told them that I appreciated them coming by and I said "God Bless you". I leave it at that. To each their own. ;)

  8. Christy says:

    When I was at an apartment in a university town (I won't say where for privacy reasons), some Mormons (I think they were Mormons) came to the apartment to try and convert me, but instead I noticed one had a cold and it was snowing. I gave the one with a cold a tissue and invited them to come back some other time and we could discuss religion more at another time. I even offer some hot cocoa to them. They actually did come back…several times in fact and we read Scripture from both their book and the Catholic Bible. I welcomed them into the apartment every Tuesday morning until about 2 weeks before I left to return to my hometown. It was a very growing time for all of us (I could tell it in their eyes and smile).

  9. Barbara says:

    Before we moved to the west coast we lived in Maryland. Our PASTOR had been raised a Baptist. He was a building contractor who got a job remodeling a convent. The nuns took the time to speak to the builders and he converted. He was a Catholic for a few years when he got the call to become a priest. Once a priest he then became our Pastor.

    So talking to those around you does work!

    • Dan says:

      That is a wonderful story and one that, if your pastor wouldn't mind, would be a wonderful story for a "Journey Home" program on EWTN. Please contact Marcus Grodi at chnetwork.org and tell him the details. They could contact him. That would be an interesting, informative and enjoyable witness.

      God bless,
      Dan

      • Barbara Tahir says:

        I would love to give you his info but unfortunately he passed away on Holy Thursday not this past Easter but the year before. That was another wonderful priestly story. He had just finished services on Holy Thursday and was turning to leave the altar when he had a heart attack. There were doctors in church so every effort was made to save him. People immediately began a rosary and the choir sang one of his favorite hymns. I was NOT there so I am going by what other people told me.
        He was Father Bill Finch at Saint Rafael's parish in Rockville, Maryland. I am not sure who would have the details of his conversion but yes it is a wonderful story. We had some very interesting priests in that parish. There was a Chinese priest who was there for a few years and his story of being smuggled out of China after his Bishop and some fellow seminarians were killed is very inspiring. Then we had a Father Peter Reynois (?) who was an Episcopalian priest and converted to Catholicism. I loved hearing their stories.