A Pentecostal church in Southern California has taken to heart Jesus' commandment to go and make disciples.
The members of Love and Unity Church of God in Christ in Compton have visited every door in their city three times, and recently began working on the neighboring city of Carson. Last year, the 2,600-member congregation logged more than 5,300 decisions for Christ, which its director of evangelism said isn’t unusual. “We range between 4,000 and 7,000 decisions for Christ every year,” said elder Ray Branch, Love and Unity’s outreach coordinator.
A former street preacher himself, Love and Unity pastor Ron Hill staffs two full-time evangelism coordinators at his church. And though the congregation has grown, Hill said the door-to-door evangelism campaign is not simply a tool to gain new members. “The first reason we do this is for kingdom growth,” Hill said. “We take the position that one will plant, another will water and God will give the increase. We would like them to come to our church, but what’s most important is that they go to some church.”
In addition to evangelizing door-to-door, Love and Unity leads regular outreach events targeting children and the homeless, and it distributes roughly 10,000 tracts each month. Since January 2008, after the church had blanketed Compton three times, Love and Unity members began visiting every home in Carson, which is near the congregation’s new facility. Branch says they’ve knocked on several thousand doors so far, but they don’t rush their visits. “We can go out on one particular day and cover only six homes,” he said. “It’s predicated on the ministry that’s needed.”
Branch said recently a team prayed with a young man to accept Christ. When they called to make sure the teenager had gotten plugged into a church, his father answered and said his son had been shot two days before while riding his bicycle. “The father received comfort knowing his son had been prayed for and received Christ as Savior,” Branch said.
On another occasion, the team knocked on a door and no one answered. But Branch said he didn’t feel led to leave. “Finally, a woman came to the door and said: ‘I can’t believe you’re standing here. I was just about to take my life, but I heard a knock on the door.’”
Hill admits that motivating people to evangelize isn’t always easy. But he said soul-winning isn’t optional for Christians. “I feel that every born-again believer ought to be involved in personal evangelism,” he said. “I don’t see it as a calling. Once you get born again you’re called to evangelism.”
—Adrienne S. Gaines