EDITORIAL: Gotta love Southern hospitality, especially when it comes to door-knocking campaigns


It was heartening to hear the success of New Bethel Baptist Church’s ambitious undertaking to knock on every door within a 7-mile radius of their campus.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable for the Carnesville church: More than 50 salvation decisions.

No wonder Pastor Joey Gilbert is convinced knocking on doors remains the best way to reach people, especially in the rural South where hospitality almost always assures a warm welcome and an invitation to sit a spell.

Lots of ministry leaders, especially in urban centers, have stopped doing front porch evangelism. But in places like Carnesville, where hospitality thrives, New Bethel has made it a centerpiece of its outreach.

One of the things the church has learned is that even parents who are caught up in sinful lives and won’t go to church themselves will send their children.

“They want something better for their children, and they’re appreciative that we’ll come pick up their children and bring them to church and give them a chance, give them some hope,” Gilbert said.

"We’ve purchased two more 15-passenger vans in the past year, and, if things keep progressing the way they are, we’ll soon have to purchase another one.”

Mike Blount, the associational missions strategist in the Tugalo Baptist Association, said New Bethel is showing that doing the thing Christians are called to do, going out and getting people, still works.

“The Bible says to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in,” Blount said. “Too many churches have quit inviting and quit going after people. We’ve gotten away from the basics.”

Here's the way Gilbert put it:

“Our job is to reach people. I don’t know a better way to do that than to go knock on their doors and extend a personal invitation.”