Thursday, March 21, 2013

Something Clicked at Church Last Night

I went to a class last night and toward the end of the evening a gentleman said the following:

"At the end of the civil war, Methodists outnumbered Baptists eight to one.  But then something happened that changed that:  the Baptists became known for having the audacity to ride up to your doorstep on horseback and invite you to visit their congregation."

And the rest was history.  I imagine that the South is predominantly Southern Baptist. 

I immediately connected this with something I'd been noticing in my neighborhood:  I always see throngs of Mormons in the library.  I've talked with them and they are mostly young men performing their obligatory period of missionary service for the Mormon church.  The Mormon church pays for them to have an apartment nearby about a mile from the local Mormon church.  The local Morman church, by the way, has a satellite dish in the back which I presume they use to coordinate with the head church in Utah. 

I can only assume they are extremely successful in their outreach efforts because each Sunday the parking lot at the local Mormon church is PACKED. 

I think G-d has surrounded me with Mormons to put me to shame.

We need to take our faith door to door.  And our movement needs a plan for congregation-planting.  We need to get organized.  If no one else has such a plan then I'm going to create one (even though I know nothing about this sort of thing).  But I figure if going door-to-door works for the spread of a lie (e.g. Mormonism) then how much more should it work for the spread of the truth?  Are we going to get serious about the Great Commission or not?  This isn't a Messianic Judaism thing.  This is about spreading the Gospel--the Good News.  That's the primary goal.  The secondary goal is to share the a pro-Israel and pro-Judaic culture. 

Pray that G-d will send me an ally in Richmond, VA.  I need another like-minded individual, someone who will go out and knock on some doors with me.


  1. I think that is great, the Gospel message is priority, all I say is don't force it. If you are called to Apostolic ministry then fantastic, but not everyone is called to do such, and some force it and do more damage than good. America needs the Gospel message just as much as any other place.

  2. Having had some dealings with a now-semi-lapsed Mormon who was very committed and successful during his missionary service, I would say this -

    According to my friend, door-to-door missionary service, Mormon-style, really works to reach one sort of individual. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, the door is slammed in the missionary's face. People are annoyed, and don't want anything to do with them. Moreover, the tactic gives the religion as a whole, among those who are not part of it, a reputation for being annoying. Mormons, after all, have a stereotype that their style of missionary work has brought on. " ''s Witnesses" also share this stereotype.

    Occasionally, someone answers the door who is easily impressionable and seeking answers so desperately that they are willing to buy any tale, hook, line, and sinker. When you're reaching out twenty-five or fifty people per day, per missionary pair, these numbers add up. However, according to my Mormon friend, generally, people outside of this characterization are not reached by the Mormon tactic - and the rest of the population becomes less open to your religion, because of the streotype.

    Now, I'm not saying that the people whom this approach DOES reach are not worth our outreach - they very much are. However, it might be unwise to mimic the Mormon door-to-door tactics (or the tactics which they use once you answer the door) exactly, instead of devising a plan which might reach a wider cross-section of the population.

    1. Jon,

      Thank you for your input. I hope we can agree on several points: (1) the Mormons did not invent the door-to-door approach; (2) the door-to-door approach if used should not be the only method for outreach; (3) there is a right and wrong way to use the door-to-door approach.

  3. Having been raised old school hard core fundamentalist Baptist, I know a thing or two about "door to door" or "cold" calls. The Baptists were KNOWN for this through the 70s and 80s. What's the long-term results? Not so good.

    We cannot escape the need to work together as a group to create a culture of hope and joy that is attractive. Then we must each individually take responsibility to nurture a trusting relationship with someone and invite them into that culture. Hopefully, they will come, see our works and our attitudes and say "Surely the Lord is at work here!"

    Radio, television, magazines, mass media and mass outreaches may have a certain place, but our congregation has grown from 15 to 200 through individual relationships, one person at a time.

    It may be slower but I believe it is healthier in the long run.

    1. How did you get the initial fifteen?

  4. The fifteen were people who had grown dissatisfied with three different congregations. They were biblically ignorant, culturally introspective (bordering on xenophobia), and challenged with some interesting interpersonal issues. They asked if I would lead them in the formation of a new congregation. I was actually warned several times to NOT take them. Being generally obtuse and stubborn, I took them anyway. I could see that there was a core group that had sweet spirits and really wanted to be biblical. I just needed to help them divest themselves of the "dead wood". It took three years and a lot of pain and tears, but it worked.

    1. I'm going to try an experiment in the coming weeks to see whether I have the same patience and "stubbornness" as you: I'm going to finally put up some flyers around local grocery stores and libraries advertising for a Jewish Roots Fellowship Group (don't know how I'll word it exactly). I have a good relationship with a local Baptist church that is both outreach-oriented and pro-Israel/pro-Judaic. So I think they might allow us to meet in one of their classrooms. We'll see! All in HaShem's will! : )