Door-Step Getting Acquainted

Seeking to be genuine in making new friends


Looking back over the past 5-7 years,

I’ve been able take part in door-step, get-acquainted, visits to around 200 homes. Turning stomach, sweating palms, and swirling imagination color my story as I think about my index finger pressing each doorbell. But I can testify—it’s gone from being an a-w-k-w-a-r-d experience to a forward-looking one. I’ve come to see the blessing of meeting my neighbors this way. That’s why I keep in the forefront of my mind what priority one is: meeting new people with a stated purpose—friendship and possible opportunity.

It’s a form of reaching out to listen to folks talk about their backgrounds, and I usually get a better idea about possibilities for future ministry. 

I have found 10-15 minutes at a door allows me to introduce myself, and I can center on being new to the area or that we are starting a new Bible study or church. Giving consideration to their spiritual interests stirs up prayer.

Here’s how I start as the door opens:

Hello, my name is Mark Sumpter. I serve as a pastor in the area, and I’m out meeting folks in the neighborhood. Do you have a moment; may I ask you four questions?

  1. Do you presently attend a church in the area?
  2. I am helping to start a church [a Bible study, a class] right here in town. Would you be interested in helping us or know of someone who might be interested? (I have found that there’s often a pause as the person might be preparing to respond, so I offer brief elaboration with something like: Any feedback or comments to offer us? Or I might say something like, May we keep you up-to-date on our progress?)
  3. Is there something for which you would like prayer…maybe prayer for you and/or your family?
  4. Would you like my wife and me to stop back over? We enjoy visiting with folks, do you mind if we stop by again in a week or so?

That’s it. This is a get-acquainted door-step visit.  The visit may be very brief or it may go for 45 minutes.

When I meet someone plugged into a local church, who is involved in a Christ-preaching church, my visit often turns to asking for their prayers for our efforts.

With the uninvolved, I am ready to take down their address and contact information. But I am not pushy. I have found a folksy conversation opens up possibilities for a return visit.  

Budding friendships sprout from taking tiny baby steps. Coffee meetings, hospital calls, telephone conversations, in-home visits, a prayer meeting, and mercy ministry of diaconal deeds have surfaced—in some cases, there have been multiple visits as call-back appointments. Good, growing friendships around the things of Christ spell pastoral witness to new people.  It can start by getting acquainted at the door.