Five Simple Steps to Impact the Mormon or JW at your Door
You realize someone is at your door - only it is two “someones” and by what they are wearing and carrying you know they are likely Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormon missionaries. What do you do? For many Christians the two most common options are: fight or flight.
Do you open the door and start the debate – knowing it could turn long and ugly? Or do you hide and hope they go away because you have no idea what to say? Here is a third option: Impact them with truth in a way that is engaging and effective using five simple steps.
1. See them more like lost sheep than ravenous wolves. Yes, they are deceiving people with a false gospel, but it is also likely they themselves have been deceived and don’t even know it. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says we are to be kind to everyone and those that oppose we are to gently instruct and hope that God grants them repentance so they can escape the devil’s trap since they’ve been captured by him to do his will. We should feel compassionate and burdened for them rather than feeling fearful, angry or intimidated by them. People sometimes remember more how you made them feel than what you said. Let them feel the love.
2. Start the conversation by listening to them. Make it easy on yourself and just let them start in on their prepared remarks. Greet them kindly and respectfully, and then listen attentively. Every time they pause in their speech for your reaction or ask you a leading question, always say the same thing:
“That is very interesting, please continue.”
After two or three minutes they will have run through their prepared remarks, and if you’ve not given them anything to debate or refute or build upon, they will likely just go silent.
3. Build a bridge of common cause. At this point they will likely be ready for you to say something, anything – just to break the awkward silence. So now you make it easy on them. Thank them for coming to your door. Acknowledge that they are people who take their faith seriously and obviously care about spiritual truth and their relationship with God. Let them know you have that in common with them. Ask them:
“Would you mind if I shared how I became worthy to live forever with God the Father (or Jehovah - if they are Jehovah’s Witnesses)?“
Most people at this point, out of either respect or curiosity (or maybe both), are going to let you say whatever you want.
4. Share your life story in 3 stages.Every believer has the same basic story:
- Who we were before Christ – dead in sin, covered in sin, a slave to sin, guilty of sin, facing the penalty for sin. Sprinkle liberally with specifics and Scripture: Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; James 2:10.
- What Jesus did for us – offered us the double transfer. Our sin was an insurmountable barrier separating us from God. Jesus came and lived a perfect life so he could trade us His perfection for our sin. 2 Cor 5:21 – God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us so we could become the righteousness of God in Him. 1 Peter 2:24 – Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree so we could live for righteousness. God knew we needed to be perfect, and He also knew we never could be on our own. Ephesians 2:8-9: the only way to get the perfection necessary to be worthy of God’s presence, is to take it on God’s terms – a gift. See also Rom. 6:23.
- Who we now are in Christ – because we believed God when he offered to trade Christ’s perfection for our sin, and humbly made that trade (it’s called faith) we are now adopted children, have no condemnation, are blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen, called, justified and glorified (Rom 8:1-2, 29-30). God the Father now says about us what He said about Jesus – “Beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased.” And because it is based on what Jesus did (which is completely done), and not how much we can or cannot do, we are totally sure of our eternal destiny right now. We have God’s total approval; we are totally worthy of His presence. We are perfect in Christ.
5. Ask, Invite, Encourage and Pray.
- Ask them if they have ever traded their sins away, or if all their sin is still separating them from God.
- Invite them to read the Bible as a child and let the Holy Spirit be the One who interprets it – and not their religion’s books or leaders. The Gospel of John and Paul’s letter to the Romans are both great starting places.
- Encourage them to research and investigate their own religion. Express your concern that you’ve seen material that has convinced you there are serious issues, and it is possible there are things they have not discovered that it would be good to know. Feel free to mention IRR.org as a good starting place that has well-documented materials.
- Pray, but ask their permission first. Repeat that you admire and respect their sincerity and dedication, but that you know of other groups who some people consider false, yet they do similar work and are just as sincere – but they both can’t be right. So someone is sincere, yet sincerely wrong. Ask if you can pray for an increased knowledge of God and His truth for both of you, and if they don’t refuse - then do it. If they decline, graciously accept their refusal and let them know you’ll be happy to pray for them anyway and remind them they can find answers at IRR.org