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Old-school door knocking in Oklahoma City


Participants in the Oklahoma City “Back to the Bible” campaign prepare to knock on doors at an apartment complex. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Oklahoma City
I spent the afternoon watching some old-school door knocking evangelism in northwest Oklahoma City.
Well, not everything about it was old school. While groups of believers went two-by-two to spread the Gospel in an apartment complex, their team leader, Brad Vaughan, got a one-word text message — “baptism.”

“Back to the Bible” volunteers knock on apartment doors. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Vaughan, who lives in Perry, Kan., traveled to the Sooner state to help members of the Cherokee Hills Church of Christ in a weeklong “Back to the Bible” campaign. About 70 volunteers came to Oklahoma City, many of them from the Northwest Church of Christ in Lawton, Okla.
For 35 years Northwest members have traveled to another community to conduct a “Back to the Bible Campaign” at the request of a host church. Last year, Northwest partnered with other Lawton-area churches to reach out to their own city. That effort yielded 51 baptisms and one restoration, as we reported.
As of Thursday, the OKC campaign had resulted in more than 230 Bible studies. At the Cherokee Hills church building, I got to watch coordinator Dave Sexton, a member of the Northwest church, add the 20th picture of a new convert (the one he sent a text to Vaughan about) to a poster board in the lobby.

Dave Sexton adds a photo of a newly baptized believer to the wall at the Cherokee Hills church. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Chad Lessly had his picture added to the board on Tuesday night. Campaigners had knocked on his door earlier that day and left him a flyer with a contact number for Bible studies. He called, they answered. Soon he was baptized.
“Romans 10:9-10 is pretty much what told me I needed to be baptized into the truth,” he said. He didn’t have to look it up.
Unfortunately, I did.

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

“I’m a new creature in the Lord,” Lessly added.
Edith Cliburn, 86, came all the way from Franklin, Ky., to participate in the campaign. She was at the one in Lawton last year, too. When she told me she attended the Franklin Church of Christ, she already knew what I was going to ask next — “Do you know Kenny Perry?”
“Of course,” she said. The PGA pro, who very nearly won the Masters a couple of years ago, is a deacon of the Franklin the church.
Emily Hopper, 13, also knocked doors during the campaign. She attends Cherokee Hills and told me that she had a Bible study set up for that evening.

Dale Ferrier, a member of the Centerville Road Church of Christ in Garland, Texas, shows underlined Scriptures in a New Testament used in Bible studies. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Sure, she’d had a few doors slammed in her face, but also a lot of positive responses, she said.
I asked her if walking up to strangers and inviting them to church made her nervous.
“Not really,” she said, “because we’re doing this for God, so there’s not really anything to be scared of.”
The “Back to the Bible” campaign concludes tomorrow. See Cherokee Hills’ website for more info.
Have you ever participated in a door-knocking campaign? What were the results? In your opinion, is this a good option for evangelism where you live?

  • Feedback
    I’m part of the campaign to Restore New Testament Christianity in Oklahoma City. It is a wonderful experience and one that has renewed my zeal for reaching out to those needing the love of God and His family to surround them. We’re teaching from the Bible that Christ died for them and wants all to become His disciples. We’re teaching only from the Word of God and letting the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) work in their lives. Jesus taught that we must obey His commandments and IF we want become children of His and be added to the church. All those who have become new christians are taught that God commands everyone to repent, confess the name of Jesus before men, and be baptized to wash away their sins and be added to the church. (Luke 13:3; Romans 10:10; Acts 22:16)
    As of this hour, 28 people have been baptized to wash away their sins and have been added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47).
    All honor, glory and praise goes to GOD for his great covenant and love and plan whereby we all may be saved!!
    To learn more call 405-721-3054.
    Bunny Chambers
    June, 11 2010

    Door knocking is a great way to reach into the community and get our Christianity beyond our church buildings. I am seeing a real hunger for evangelism across this country.
    In July, more than twenty churches in the Ohio Valley and Parkersburg, WV, area joined by workers from Tennessee, Texas, and Ohio will knock more than 40,000 doors and host a campaign in Parkersburg’s High School Field House. They hope to have 2,500 to 3,000 people present for the evening services.
    Last year the Lawton group baptized 65, and another group in Cache, TX, baptized 25. Knocking doors to reach souls still works!
    Phil Sanders
    June, 11 2010

    The Biblical Research Library CD, www.africainternational.com, will be available in September. It is free to use for evangelizing. [email protected] will be distributing them in the USA. E-mail for more information.
    ken hargesheimer
    June, 11 2010

    Door knocking is very exciting to me. My husband and I have been participating in the Crusade For Christ since 1989 which is an evangelistic effort by churches of Christ an different areas every two years. The next one in scheduled for Washington DC next year.
    Airdean Russell
    June, 11 2010

    Yes I’ve been a part of a church of Christ door-knocking campaign. I believe it can work if done properly. We got Bible classes and also people were baptized and added to the church because of it.
    It’s exciting and encouraging. Not only to win souls but to partnership with others who have the same level of faith in God and Jesus.
    Yes door-knocking still works. Also it’s a command not an option to being a Christian. More churches need to institute it. It’s sad that it’s now called or considered old-school!! Well if that’s true then the Bible is old school!! Not!!!
    Sister Terri
    June, 11 2010

    Most of our members came and come from our annual door-knocking campaign in our city. Students from Oklahoma Christian sacrifice their Spring Break week to share in the work every year. Last week, the First Street Church of Christ youth group from Lampasas, TX also helped out.
    from Alamo City Church of Christ, San Antonio, TX
    Alana Forster
    June, 11 2010

    These brethren are sincere but they rush people into baptism. I saw it for myself in Garland. Some were baptized who did not fully understand the truth about the plan of salvation, especially concerning repentance. They are very number oriented.
    Shawn Paden
    June, 11 2010

    knocking doors is a very great ministry among the people because of through this ministry we can save and lead the people to Christ by the Gospel.
    Your service in the Lord,
    Bro. S.Suresh (Director), GOSPEL FOR EVERY HEART MINISTRIES, INDIA
    Bro. S. Suresh (Director), Gospel for Every Heart Ministries. Andhra Pradesh South India.
    June, 11 2010

    I am currently serving as the pulpit minister for the Cherokee Hills church of Christ where this campaign took place. You need to know that for the last six months, the time we have been preparing for this work, I was extremely skeptical. I had been convinced by some that door-knocking really didn’t work any more. That it was, as Erik said, “Old Fashioned.” I wasn’t sold on the method the Back to the Bible campaign was using, even though they had proved it successful for the past 35 years. My wife will even tell you that the night before the campaign started I was unsettled about the whole thing. I had been on door-knocking campaigns in the past that were not very successful, so I started with an attitude of just bearing with it and eventually the week would be over. I now am ashamed of my attitude. If you have never seen the NW congregation at work in one of their campaigns, you have nothing to base your judgment on. These brethren have shown more love for the lost souls in our community in one week than I have for two years working with Cherokee Hills. I pray I am forgiven of my neglect. This past week has, in numerous ways, changed me. I have learned that when God’s people set out to fulfill the simple command of preaching the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15), and spend many many months in prayer and preparation, He will not ignore their willingness to spread the truth.
    I don’t know what Shawn Paden saw in Garland, but there was not one soul brought to Christ without a thorough study of the plan of salvation. I personally baptized 27 of our 31 new family members and I have absolutely no doubt every single one understood exactly what God has commanded of them to refocus their lives in true repentace, and put on their Savior in baptism because they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He truly is the Son of God and the new master of their life. Yes we are excited about the number of new babes in Christ. My facebook has been updated multiple times a day with reports of new Christians and how many studies had been set up. You cannot tell me it is not exciting to know that in the 21st Century it is possible to set up 271 Bible studies simply by asking people if they are interested in learning more about God’s plan for their life, and for 31 to say “yes” to Jesus Christ. Even God was thrilled enough to post that on His first day of campaigning nearly 3,000 were added to the church (Acts 2:41). He then updated that post a short time later to inform us that His kingdom had grown to over 5,000 (Acts 4:4).
    What you will never be able to see in a blog article or the pictures that are included is not just what went into the changing of the destiny of 31 souls, but the transformation of an entire congregation. Are we exhausted? You had better believe we are! But there is a fire burning in NW Oklahoma City and I am blessed to be a part of it.
    Steve Schinnerer
    June, 12 2010

    What about the Ethiopian treasurer!
    Jesus said to SOW THE SEED! We can not do that sitting in the church building. We can sow it as above. Every christian can sow it using BBC, Bible DVDs, etc.
    Growth and decline of The church of Christ in the USA – Don Petty, [email protected]
    1. 1960s 17%
    2. 1970s 6%
    3. 2003-5 lost 10 per day!
    4. 2006-8 lost 38 per day!
    5. 2009-11 lost ?? per day!
    ken hargesheimer
    June, 12 2010

    Zeal is wonderful, but shouldn’t we do a little more research on our facts before we go public. The sign on the van, “Established 33 AD”; much talk about Walter Scott’s “Plan”. OCU could help some with a little better preparation with the facts. What will these converts do when years later they enter into advanced studies? We pray they will sort it out and mature and not feel they were mislead.
    Positively, I would prefer to hear Paul’s approach to the Corinthians, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”
    John Paul Hundley
    June, 12 2010

    My first real campaign experience was in 1965 with Ivan Stewart. I have been involved in the Northwest Back To the Bible Campaigns since 1980. I’ve been on 26 of them to date so I believe I have the experience to judge whether they are successful or not. We at Northwest consider a campaign successful if we are spreading God’s word. That is our goal and our responsibility. The number of responses is up to the hearers and God who gives the increase. We are just out there looking for honest hearts who want to know God’s will for their lives. If one soul is saved as a result of the campaign then it was a success. The dollar cost is not important in comparison. I was in Garland and I don’t know what Bro. Paden saw either. Of course the new converts need further teaching and grounding, which is the local congregation’s responsibility. If some are baptized not fully understanding why, it is definitely not the fault of the teacher using the “Safety Chain” of scriptures. It’s also not a common occurance. Some agree to be baptized who do not intend to attend or change their church homes. Unless they indicate that, there is no way for the teacher to know their intentions. Sometimes we are unable to finish the second half of the study with a student which is about the church of the New Testament, unity, worship, etc. In that case, it is also the responsibility of the local congregation to follow up. There will always be detractors when there are Christians doing God’s work to the best of their ability. Satan even uses fellow Christians to try to discourage us.
    Jeanne Stark
    June, 14 2010

    Having been involved with (lackluster) door-knocking campaigns in various venues in the past, and having my own share of doubts before last week, this particular approach was utterly fantastic! The sincerity of those who responded in our community has humbled me. We were told that some converts from other campaigns had said that ‘I have been waiting all my life for you to come talk to me.’ I can tell you that I have heard similar things from follow-up studies with some of our new brothers and sisters. And they are hungry to learn more of the truth! Steve (and our elders, and others) have been preparing us at Cherokee Hills for following up with these new converts, studying with them, spending time with them, getting them involved at church. This is where the real challenge comes along, and I pray that we are up to it!
    John, as far as the facts, there is no misrepresentation. Our approach was to read from the New Testament only; no other materials were used, and no opinions were expressed–only the Word of God. These new converts will (hopefully) go into advanced studies and remember fondly the hour they first learned the truth, and turn and help others to see it also.
    Scott
    June, 15 2010

    Well, I still am for zeal, even zeal without knowledge can do good. It is better than no zeal.
    I guess my eyes are playing tricks on me. I can affirm strongly that the sign on that van did say, “Church of Christ, Established 33 AD.” and the convert did say he was “baptized into the Truth.” Where did he learn that? The posted pictures of the converts reminded me of when I flew in the Navy and the ground crews painted little planes under the cockpit indicating how many kills you had. Five and you were an ace.
    Understand my concern! My ministry is to those who have left the church or any church and abandoned any faith in God. Ralph Barma says 1,000,000 people a year are leaving the organized church. Flavial Yeakly reports churches of Christ have lost 6 % over the past three years. Christian Chronicle has addressed the issue in the past. It is my belief that the best place to address this thing is on the front end.
    See what can happen when we are so blind that we will not see in one of the greatest catastrophies in religious histry. This is my area of work. www.churchcalvary.com/SPIRITUALITYTHEOLOGY.
    John Paul Hundley
    June, 16 2010

    First of all I would like to thank John for his military service, we do appreciate your sacrifice so campaigns like this can be completed without interference or hindrance to spread God’s Word openly.
    John the “picture board” is intended to let all of the local members recognize and greet by name their new brothers and sisters when they saw them for the first time. Not all were able to witness each blessed baptism for themselves, so this, I believe is the main reason for the board not to gloat, God forbid, over a quantity.
    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    I believe Jesus is telling us He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Could it be so hard to understand this babe in Christ, the joy felt in his life, his wanting to share his new found Savior? What a great example for all of us. Please don’t expect a babe to have the vocabulary or the knowledge of someone seasoned in the Word.
    Now is knocking doors a good option, only God knows the effectiveness of this approach to bring His word into our neighborhoods. I personally have never dedicated so much of my time and energy to prepare for a campaign or any other outreach action as I did for this one. So, that said, I got out of my comfort zone, way out, and did something I am commanded to do and enjoyed every minute of it.
    The NW Lawton church of Christ members are a loving and caring group of Christians that helped us at Cherokeehills learn how to reach out and spread the Word.
    Pray for us now to “keep the saved, saved” in the next few critical months, Satan wants them back bad.
    George Rowell
    June, 17 2010

    Following the campaign it was very impressive to see members walk up to visitors and immediately set up a time for a Bible study. Individuals have and are being given an opportunity daily to accept Jesus. Angels are rejoicing. Those on God’s side are rejoicing with the angels. Please stand with Jesus and share the truth in season and out of season.
    Strangers continue to come to the church building, calling in and asking for information. I believe this to be agreeable with Jesus.
    Please also find an opportunity to read a Bible passage or a whole letter to a stranger as it could do you both good.
    David Burdue
    June, 17 2010

    it was the day before my 33 birthday, I prayed to the lord that something change in my life. I was so very alone and depressed and in so much pain in my life i knew not where to turn,i turned it all over to God. I told him that this year was going to be different and I was ready for whatever change needed to be made. The next day the door knocking came a knockin’ on my door and things were set into motion from there. I was a bit lenient at first, not sure of what to expect. But am so blessed and so very happy to have anew family in Christ today! Thank you! God bless
    Stephanie Scales
    June, 25 2010

    I have been at NORTHWEST for over 30 years and I really enjoy the campaigns. Once you go, you’ll never be the same ever again! AMEN!
    todd padgett
    July, 23 2012

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