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Outreach Visits by a Member
One of the most common methods of evangelistic outreach for local churches is for members to make personal contacts with potential new members. Adventist churches are more likely than other faiths to use this approach, with five out of six reporting that they have done so in the last year as compared to only three out of four among all faith groups.

These contacts include both phone calls and personal visits, and more often a combination of both. Visits include traditional calling in the homes of prospective or inactive members, as well as arranged lunch appointments in restaurants, health clubs or for golf, etc.

These data include both organized visitation programs and informal activity initiated by some church members without any prompting by the pastor or a church organization. These data give no indication of what percentage of church members are involved. In some congregations it may be only one person, while in others it may be a large initiative.

Research reports a mixed opinion about this approach. Some case studies stress the importance of organized, door-to-door campaigns that seek to involve a large number of church members on a regular schedule. Other studies report that this method is more effective when a few gifted members contact individuals and families who have visited at church or had some other prior contact with the congregation’s ministries.

Discussion Questions:

1. How many members in our congregation made phone calls or personal visits to non-members or inactive members during the last year?

2. How important is this kind of personal visitation ministry to the evangelistic outreach of our church?

3. What are some ways that we could strengthen and better support this kind of ministry?

You can find more research into issues affecting Adventist congregations in the Adventist Congregations Today book and CD-R. Learn more about the Faith Communities Today (FACT) research.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, October 5, 2005, Center for Creative Ministry