It doesn't start the encounter off on the right foot.
I opened the door, keeping the screen shut as I always do when strangers present themselves on my front step. "Hello?"
"Oh my, we've been admiring this beautiful landscaping and porch out here! It's just lovely! It's new, isn't it?"
Alright, warming up slightly here.
"Yes, actually, my husband did it."
"Your husband??!! Oh, my, well we should hire him out, shouldn't we? Just amazing."
Loving the warm fuzzies. But, um, why are you here? I transition from warming up to being wary of all this warming up.
I look at the ladies pointedly, waiting them to break out of their complimentary streak.
"O-kay, well, anyways, we are going from door, encouraging the community. We know that these are tough economic times. Specifically for husbands and wives, sometimes when things get strained financially, a toll can be taken on the marriage. We would just like to share a Scripture verse to encourage you."
I'm a little skeptical, but I agree with everything they just said. I think it's great that someone would take the initiative to encourage families and aim to strengthen marriages. I'm tracking so far. Still, is there any hidden agenda?
"So, why are you doing this?"
"Oh, we're just Christians from the community, wanting to encourage."
"What church are you from?"
She looks for the Scripture. "We're from the Oxford Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses"
"You know what, my husband and I are Christians, so we're actually all set!"
Wow, did that just come out of my mouth? We're all set?? Nice one, Laura.
"Can I just share this verse with you? It's from Philippians."
How can I argue with Philippians? That's clearly not any sort of weird, cultish, made-up book of the Bible.
"Ah, here it is: Philippians 2:4 "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." So just remember, if things are tough, keep putting each other before yourselves. That's it! Beautiful landscaping, just beautiful!"
The ladies walk back down the path, murmuring to each other over the planting, stopping to admire a line of hostas.
I'm trying to take in what just happened. No pamphlets were given. Nothing was said that I disagreed with. I certainly didn't take any great advantage of an opportunity to share my faith ("We're all set!").
What do you think? How do you react when Jehovah Witnesses come knockin'? Do you think, as Christians, door to door evangelism is effective or useful? What could I have said that was better than "We're all set" while still being loving and non-confrontational? I'd love to hear your thoughts!