How do you react to an unexpected stranger knocking at your front door?
This year, members of St George’s Church in Pearce embarked on a community visiting project, knocking on doors of strangers with a gift in hand.
With the impetus of a Pelican Foundation Grant, we aimed to show a generous welcome to residents moving into our area. Our prayer has been to grow in our capacity to reach new people in our community, so that they make a connection with us, and with Jesus. We have about 13,000 people within our parish boundaries, with over 130 homes sold this year. So far, we have visited around 70 of them.
Fourteen lay people have been going out in pairs to do the visiting. Others from Church have baked biscuits and packed them into welcome baskets along with tea, locally roasted coffee, hot chocolate, mugs, plus a postcard with information about our church and local businesses in our area. More recently, we included an invitation to our Carols Service on Christmas Eve.
It has taken us out of our comfort zone in a good way. We realized that we could not just sit back and wait for people to think about connecting with our church. We had to be out there meeting new people and praying for opportunities to befriend them. Team members have very encouraging stories to share about their visits. We cannot underestimate the power of a personal conversation for someone to become curious about Jesus.
To prepare the team, we ran a number of training sessions on the how and why of visiting homes and talking to people, with the help of The Reverend Michelle Philp and Geoff Horne (a veteran of extensive home visitation in Gungahlin).
The response of local residents receiving welcome baskets has been overwhelmingly positive. People have been polite and appreciative of our gift, and in many cases, on for a chat. It’s been clear that God prepared the people who opened the door. We sensed that some were even hoping for visitors like us to come! Team members received hugs, others were invited to come in for cups of tea, and on a few occasions, we were able to pray with people on their doorstep. We trust that the seeds sown would be used by God to draw people to Himself.
Team member Cecilia reported, ‘Even when we turned up at a mistaken address, where someone had been already living for 20 years, we sensed God was involved and ended up having a really good conversation!’
In doing the project, we were reminded of Romans 10:14, ‘How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?’
by Meredith Clift