By Ian P. CarricoA road in West Kentucky today is not the same road that I’ve heard about and experienced in years past. You know, a road where everyone knows one another and on a Sunday morning it would be normal for many folks to be in a church of their choice. And even if they weren’t at church on Sunday, they’d probably tell you they would be if you asked them Monday-Saturday. Nowadays a great number of folks don’t know their next door neighbor and some are vocally opposed to going to church. Same roads. Different world.
I haven’t been in ministry long so going out for door-to-door evangelism is still pretty new to me, and I love it. I wish I could say that it’s easy, but that’d be a lie. It takes intentionality and scheduling. Also, I have fears that lurk regarding the conversations I may have at people’s front door. Even writing this article is convicting me because I know such breeds accountability. But I need it and invite it.
I was saved when I was 20 years old and was called to pastor my first church when I was 23 years old. It was in far West Kentucky. Though just 14 years ago, when I would talk to people in the community most proclaimed to belong to a church or be “saved.” Now this wasn’t everyone, but I’d say a good majority. But this does make some sense, after all, I was doing ministry in the Bible Belt of America. Everyone knew one another and all the stories and worldviews like atheism, agnostics, paganism, and those struggling with gender and sexual identity were in the “big cities” or somewhere far, far away. Not any longer.
A road in West Kentucky can be different today. Today, July 30th, 2019, on a fairly hot, yet slightly overcast day, Kenny Rager (Kentucky Baptist Convention, Evangelism Team) and I went out for some door-to-door evangelism. I’m no seasoned evangelist and have a lot to learn but I want to make an effort. One effort I’ve learned is that it takes intentionality to get done. So off we went, as scheduled now for over a month, to a road in West Kentucky. Among other things, we found out that the road in West Kentucky is a huge and opportune mission field that needs to be reached. These roads have real people with real needs. They need to hear and experience the love of Christ and thankfully the church has the message they need. We also found it’s different because the people needing Christ don’t fit the “religious” and “saved” profile(s). And that’s okay. Jesus came to seek and save that which was LOST. He went after “THE ONE.” Furthermore, we need to be reckless in our efforts to reach people with the gospel that reached us. It’s transformational! Here’s some specifics we found on a road in West Kentucky.
We discovered that a self-proclaimed atheist, a self-proclaimed pagan, and an individual/family from New Jersey that had an experience in a unitarian universalist church (though he didn’t hang there long) were on this one road in West Kentucky. All on one road, one street. All in rural West Kentucky. Each one very kindly admitted these things and each one was willing to talk with us. Each one openly admitted that they were not really open to embracing Christianity, yet we were able to listen to them, love them where they were, and give them some literature to read, both scriptural and church information. In each of these conversations on a road in West Kentucky we were, most importantly, able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I appreciate the fact that they were willing to be honest and willing to listen. And I rest in the fact that the Spirit is at work, even now. We weren’t working through religious talk, or at least the talk that one may think typical of the Bible Belt. That’s what I’ve heard and experienced over the years. It goes something like this: “Everybody says their a Christian” or “Everybody will say they belong to a church.” I know I’ll hear this a lot in the future, but not today and not on this road.
There was another conversation on this road in West Kentucky that needs highlighted. It was with a young lady that opened the front door while God was opening her heart. As we began to have conversation, it became apparent that she had some questions and was just plain broken. I guess I’d summarize it by stating she wasn’t sure what to believe. She was broken. She was tired. She was looking for hope. Frankly, I’ve been there and done that! Prompted by the Holy Spirit and understanding that we are called to “take people alive” (Luke 5:10-11), Bro. Kenny was able to share the full gospel using the 3 Circles Evangelism method. Bro. Kenny asked where she was within the 3 Circles and without hesitation, she pointed to “brokenness.” She was asked if she’d like to receive Christ into her heart. Again, with tears running down her face, she shook her head “YES.” Bro. Kenny lead her in prayer to receive Christ and upon her own profession, she was saved! Praise the Lord for this last visit we had on a road in West Kentucky. It was honest, raw, revealing, and thank God, redemptive!
The roads in West Kentucky are different, but one thing remains–they are mission fields. I’ve got a feeling that this may describe the roads of America. While door-to-door may not be the only way these individuals are going to hear the gospel, it stands above many other options we have. In fact, this reminds me of another time when a friend from church, Blake, and I went out on a road in West Kentucky for some door-to-door evangelism. In that experience we were told bluntly to simply get back in our car, reflecting the opposition, yet need for folks to be reached. After today, I am actually willing to take it a step further and say a majority of these folks probably wouldn’t have had conversations if we didn’t go door-to-door! Oh Lord, help me to go to them! The roads in West Kentucky are crying out for pastors and churches to take serious again the call to GO, door-to-door. It’s not the only way to reach them, but it’s about the best vehicle we have, in my opinion.