Decorating Doorknobs in Lansing, Illinois

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New Hope walkers wear yellow T-shirts as they hang 2,500 invitations on doorknobs throughout Lansing, Ill.

Door hangers distributed by New Hope Church in Lansing, Ill.

They are inviting people to New Hope Christian Reformed Church. But it’s not just a one-time invitation—walkers distribute door hangers in 20 neighborhoods three or four times a year.

The idea is that persistence pays off.

The strategy worked with Sue Greenwald, who has worshiped at New Hope for over three years now. The first time she got a door hanger she thought about checking out the church. The second time she drove by the church. The third time—Easter Sunday—she visited.

“From the very first visit, I felt God’s presence, and I was warmly welcomed into the New Hope family,” Greenwald said. “My search was over. I truly believe that if they were not persistent in placing door hangers, I would not have known of New Hope Church.”

The door hanger distribution began in 2009 when the church formed as a merger between two small congregations. New Hope has since grown steadily and has become multiethnic.

“We hadn’t previously been very intentional about reaching out to the community,” said Joyce Mulder, who heads the distribution. “We decided to try a lot of new ways of letting people in the community know that we are here and you are welcome. We have gotten quite a few visitors to the church. Our theory is that people who are unchurched need to be touched more than once.”

A graphic artist in the congregation designs the door hangers, which have various themes, often inviting the public to special events at the church. Only a few people respond, but that’s enough, said Mulder: “We think it’s worth doing.”

About 20 people help with the distribution, which has been authorized by the city of Lansing. “It’s fun going out with a friend and distributing,” Mulder added.

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.

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