Originally posted on October 31, 2013.
Today is Halloween, making today the ONLY day when it is ever okay for anyone to go door-to-door in your community. Studies show a church would have to knock on 740 doors to get only 1 person to respond to an invitation, and that the other 739 households are probably far less likely to visit your church after you knocked on their door. The reason? People don’t like having strangers show up uninvited at their door, and most people really don’t like going door-to-door themselves, so if you get the reputation as “the church that goes door-to-door” you do so at the cost of your own reputation: people in your community will resent the intrusion, and they will not want to be one of “those people who go door-to-door.” Door-to-door outreach is not only ineffective; it actually does more damage than good.
So if you want to go trick-or-treating tonight with your children, knock yourself out (if that’s not your thing, that’s cool, too). Tonight is the night when costumes and pranks are fun, but door-to-door outreach is a real nightmare for your church and your community.
Dr. Steve Dunmire is an ordained pastor and Director of Ministry Resources at Houghton College (Houghton, NY)