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How to get involved in the colporteur ministry
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When a farmer plants his crops, he does not run aimlessly about, dropping a few seeds here and more seeds there. He knows that he must plant in an orderly way if there is to be an abundant harvest of healthy, mature plants. As we plant seeds of truth—our books—we must be even more careful to work efficiently.
Door-to-door work When you canvass from door to door it is important to go in pairs; and one of the team should be an adult or older teen.1 Working this way makes the task much easier and more enjoyable. It is an added benefit if your partner has some experience in literature evangelism, so that you can learn from him or her.
Your work will proceed much more smoothly if you are organized. You’ll need a map of the area that you’re working in, to help you cover your territory in a logical manner. Once you’ve visited all the houses on a street, use a highlighter to mark off that street on your map. Try to find a map that has space to write a few notes. If you cannot find any detailed maps, you may be able to obtain them from local fire, police, or water departments.
Best times to canvass You will soon discover that there are certain times of the day and week that are best for door-to-door work. More people are usually home in the evenings (6 pm until 9:30 or sunset, whichever comes first). If you cannot be out that late, 10 am. until early afternoon are next best. Also, Sunday and Monday are often the best days for canvassing, as many people are paid on Friday and tend to be broke later in the week. Depending on where you work—city suburbs, small towns, or rural communities—people will have different habits. Be observant, and you will soon discover what days and hours are best for your community.
You will also find it easier to accomplish more when you have a regular schedule. Sticking to your schedule will keep you from procrastinating. Of course, the more frequently you go out, the faster you will learn good canvassing skills and the more truth-filled books you will place in people’s homes.
Remember holiday seasons! At these times, most people are looking for gifts for family members and friends. If they don’t mention it themselves, you can suggest that the books you are selling make excellent gifts. The books dealing with the life of Christ are especially appropriate for Christmas and Easter.
Where to begin Start with those nearest. Christ told His disciples, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Begin with your own neighborhood. Then expand your work as God opens the way.2
1. See Colporteur Ministry, page 58. 2. For an interesting study on where to work, read Ellen White’s dream, "Gathering the Fruit," in Gospel Workers, pages 136–139.
"As you learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ, you will know what you should say to the people; for the Holy Spirit will tell you what words to speak. Those who realize the necessity of keeping the heart under control of the Holy Spirit will be enabled to sow seed that will spring up unto eternal life. This is the work of the evangelistic canvasser" (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, page 325).
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