Jehovah’s Witnesses are moving beyond their traditional strategy of door-to-door evangelism as they seek to reach a wider base of potential converts through a more non-confrontational approach.
A BBC News article (July 7) reports that a strategy pioneered in New York City three years ago where the Witnesses distribute literature at train stations and other busy places has spread throughout cities in Britain and Ireland. But rather than approaching passersby in the style of their door-to-door approach, the church’s volunteers let people come to them; they usually say little but stand at distribution tables smiling and handing out Watchtower literature, according to the article. A spokesman for the Witnesses say the new strategy is an addition to, rather than a departure from, their door-to-door work.
But some observers, such as former Jehovah’s Witness writer Scott Terry, say the new method is in response to the widespread member apathy about door-to-door missions. The movement did not provide figures on how many converts the approach has produced, but adherents say they are optimistic the new tactic is making an impact.
One volunteer says the non-confrontational approach is better for secular and people, giving them more control in finding out about the religion. It is not the first time that the Witnesses have tried other proselytism methods; they have used radio, movies and, more recently, the Internet to reach people.