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How to get involved in the colporteur ministry
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Literature evangelism is a work that places us face-to-face with people from all walks of life. We cannot know exactly what every person expects of us, but we can be careful to avoid doing things that are likely to offend. Our words and actions should show that we are lights to the world—and that Christ has made a difference in our lives!
Meeting people When you knock or ring at a door, stand so that you will be facing the person directly—not through the glass or screen. Hold a few books at your side in the order you wish to present them.
Do not ring a doorbell more than two or three times, even if you are sure someone is home. Sometimes doorbells don’t work, so if no one answers your ring, try giving several knocks. If there is still no response, just move on to the next house. Do not ring the doorbell if you know the people inside have already seen you. You may want to knock quietly to get their attention; otherwise just smile and wait patiently for them to come to the door.
When they answer, smile! Look confident; be confident! God and His angels are on your side! Don’t wait for the customer to make the first move—always try to be the first to say "Hello" and introduce yourself.
Sometimes you will find people who are already outside, perhaps eating, washing the car, or getting ready to leave. In this case, it’s especially important to be quick and to the point, because people often feel more insecure or impatient when they are outside, especially if their friends or family members are watching. Occasionally you may find people who have just arrived home. If they are carrying in the groceries or unloading the car, don’t give your canvass until they are done. Better yet—volunteer to help! If you find yourself intruding at a very inconvenient time, such as a party, you should probably offer to return at a later time. Whatever the case, try to talk to the person long enough to find out if there is any interest.
Your presentation Avoid talking like a tape player; be enthusiastic about your literature! Respond to questions as quickly as you can, but don’t talk so fast that the person cannot understand you. Try to avoid "fillers" like "um," "uh," and "you know" whenever you pause for a breath.
For your presentation, choose books that match the situation. For example, someone who is poor may not be able to afford your higher-priced books, and may feel embarrassed if you try to get them to buy one. Men and women, teenagers and elderly persons, and people of varying religious backgrounds will often have different reading interests. Ask God to help you know which books would be most appealing.
Remember to place the book in the hands of the one to whom you are speaking. If the person insists on handing the book back to you, take it; tell more about it; then offer it to the customer again. By encouraging the person to look through the book, you show that you have nothing to hide. This will help the customer to feel more comfortable purchasing it. You’ll find that people almost never buy a book without first holding it in their hands.
God has given everyone the freedom to choose. Don’t try to force or push anyone into making a decision that they really do not want to make. There are many good things you may say to encourage them in the right direction, but be careful not to give the impression that you are trying to control someone’s power of choice.
Sharing your faith Before you leave, offer to say a short prayer. In your prayer, thank the Lord for the privilege of meeting the customer, and for the opportunity of working and praying for them. Ask God to guide and help them with whatever challenges they may be facing. If they have shared a concern with you, be sure to mention it specifically. When you open your eyes, don’t be surprised to occasionally see some tears!
Praying with people often opens their hearts. In fact, some people may seem to have no interest in your books until you pray with them.
Be bold in sharing your faith and telling others what Christ has done for you. Personal testimonies touch hearts as nothing else can! Be helpful and interested in what others have to say, and demonstrate through your life that a true Christian loves others.
Above all, keep your daily connection with Jesus, and study to practice the methods that He used to win souls for the Kingdom. If you truly follow Jesus, you cannot fail to make an impact for Him!
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