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  • Why Door to Door Proselytizing is Problematic in Canada

preachingdoortodoorIf you live in any major community, you’ve likely encountered door to door proselytizing in one form or another. While some major churches have made door to door campaigns a hallmark of their culture, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Latter Day Saints, many smaller denominations and churches make use of door knockers to increase awareness. We don’t feel this is a fair way to proselytize, not because of any inherent hangup about religion, but because the door environment makes it ineffective and, worse, it can be offensive to many.

Among a Multicultural Canada, Door Preaching Hits The Wrong Notes

Canada may be one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, and resting on that multiculturalism is a practice of cultures maintaining their identities and practices. Unlike the US, Canada practices a “rainbow” philosophy of cultural inclusion, not a “melting pot”.

Proselytizing door to door has its problems because of this, in part due to cultural differences and misunderstandings between individuals. Many people in Canada come from a smattering of cultural and religious backgrounds, backgrounds with door to door proselytizing either fails to address or may never address with integrity.

It’s through this process that individuals of different religions may feel judged, scrutinized, or harassed by another faith approaching them in their homes and challenging their beliefs. Among a nation already dealing with cultural friction, this conflict may be too offensive for many.

Door to Door Sales Work, Preaching Doesn’t

And ignoring the potential social pitfalls of preaching at the door, it just may not be as effective as you’d think.

Conversation rates in door to door sales vary wildly depending on the industry you’re dealing with. Charities tend to do the best, followed by home service plans, followed by home appliance products.  And at the very far end of the spectrum, nestled somewhere between irrelevance and nothing lay door to door proselytizing.

Faith is a personal choice for many people, and no matter what group attempts to preach outside their door, the exchange will invariably become a high-pressure exchange, leaving churches whom preach door to door with bad press and homeowners with a bad taste in their mouths.

That’s why door to door proselytizing has a success rate, in Canada, of about 0.02%

Preaching-Door-To-Door-jehovah-witnessesWhat Should Churches Do Instead?

We propose that proselytizing is the wrong way to go, but reaching out through a door to door program is still an option. Churches, at least local churches, can benefit from making connections with people in their neighborhood in methods aside from preaching.

People don’t want to be told of what happens when they die, they want to know how their local churches are helping the community; or how they can get involved as well.

So if you’ve ever been involved with a door to door proselytizing campaign or know someone who does: spread the word. Confronting people at the door, just like in sales, never works. Instead, offer them something in return, because religion may divide us. But community doesn’t.

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