Do Jehovah's Witnesses have a systematized way of finding specific types of persons?

Jehovah's Witnesses are known by their hallmark door-to-door proselytizing. But what I am interested in is the fact that their choices on which door to knock may not be random but planned. Perhaps, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses may specialize in ministering to specific ethnic groups and then try to find persons that may belong to the ethnic groups, even within the United States. If anybody appears interested, then they may launch a series of "Bible Studies" as a way to proselytize every prospective convert on a case-by-case basis, as well as supporting their own doctrines and rejecting others.


4 Answers 4


No. Like the person above, I was a Witness for 40+ years. Every congregation is assigned a preaching territory. They try to reach each and every single person in that territory - businesses, funeral homes, even churches. They may (like stated above) divide the territories into sub-categories like businesses, churches, etc., but they do not target specific ethnicities or people.

That being said, their is an unspoken filter. They want (I know I did) people who are eager to accept their version of truth with no more than a little resistance. It is almost as if they want to find people who want to be witnesses on day one....people who are willing to drop all of their former beliefs after read one or two scriptures that support a new one (we well know a scripture taken out of context can and has been used to support all sorts of false teachings).

Witnesses believe they are the ONLY religious group approved by God and the only religion Jesus is leading and dealing with. They think they are the voice of Jesus on earth (no lie) and every other voice, religion, church, teacher is definably apostate. Failing to sheepishly follow them is failing to follow Jesus the Great Shepard. So any dissenting opinion on their preaching is viewed as not being a sheep Jesus would want. Instead you are a goat like one and they should not waste too much time on you!

Funny things is that made perfect sense to me when I was in it, then it started not to kinda make sense and I left...now it just seems so insane that I ever followed that kooky faith at all! Jesus church is the people who follow Jesus and that church is here there and everywhere. Jesus knows his sheep.

  • I expect the JWs no longer visit your home, Angie. This is one aspect of making choices about not knocking on certain doors. They have a 'black-list' of former JWs who they know will not return to the fold, and they never call at their homes. JWs are taught to view such people as 'apostates'. Further, I have learned that some Christians (who have never been JWs) are also black-listed because they ask awkward questions that the JWs are not prepared to answer (either through ignorance or because they actually know they cannot give a biblically sound answer).
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 18:41

Practice will vary from place to place. I live in the middle of Ireland. I’ll try to describe general principles, but this may work out differently in different areas. Each congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has its own “territory” (roughly analogous to a parish in other denominations, perhaps). That territory will then be subdivided into maps.

The territory of my former congregation covered a few towns and a very large rural area. This is partly because of population demographics: Ireland tends to have a lot of one-off scattered houses in the countryside, while in the UK people are more likely to live in towns and villages. In Germany, I believe, even farmers tend to live in villages, and they commute to their farms in the morning. In Ireland, though, it’s quite common to have houses in the middle of nowhere which have nothing to do with a farm: people just like living in rural areas. Our maps, then, covered different types of territory. A person working such a map would be expected to cover the whole thing: houses and businesses alike. They would keep a record of people not at home, and attempt to call back at a different time of day.

Of course, some people prefer doing different types of work. Some of the urban maps had a note on them: “Businesses on this map are included on a separate business map.” A person working such a map would cover only the houses, leaving the businesses. (I was working on redividing the territory and creating new maps; the business maps were never actually prepared before I left the Witnesses. I assume they have some now.)

There are cases where things would work differently. The most obvious example is when congregations serving different language groups have overlapping territory. In this case, people might try to specifically seek out speakers of the language they are targeting. On one occasion, my mother (an ISL/English interpreter) and a couple of visiting Deaf Witnesses went out specifically looking for Deaf people.

Of course, not all witnessing activity takes place from door to door. In street witnessing, it is relatively easy (and fairly instinctive, actually) to pick out particular people who look more approachable, by whatever metric you use.

I suspect that more targeted witnessing happens in more populated areas, generally. In a rural area, once you’ve spent an hour travelling to the place, you’re going to try to get to everyone.


Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses have a systematized way of proselytizing, but no, they are not looking for specific “types” of persons, i.e., based on gender, race, colour, ethnic background or culture. All they are looking for are “persons of good will” or persons who are open to hearing their message.

They will knock on any door where they have access, and they will speak to any person who expresses an interest. They systematically cover towns and cities by using area street maps and will cover the same area more than once or twice a year as they move from area to area. If nobody is at home, they will take a note and call back another day. They will also witness to work colleagues, neighbours and relatives. Nobody is excluded!

However, since you posted this question in January, 2014, there has been a new development in the preaching work. It’s called “Metropolitan Witnessing” and involves filling a portable literature stand with their latest publications and standing in a public place where individuals who pass by can take a free copy of a magazine. The Witnesses hope to engage interested persons in conversation, with the object of inviting them to have a Bible study.

I don’t know how successful this new method of proselytizing is because the Jehovah’s Witnesses in my home town no longer appear in the town square with their literature stands. Also, and this is somewhat disconcerting, they haven’t knocked on my door in over six months. All I know is that going from door to door is hugely time consuming. The latest 2018 Yearbook statistics show that “publishers” spent over 2 billion hours worldwide door-knocking and conducting home studies to bring 281,744 people to baptism. That suggests it takes 7,363 hours to get one person baptised. Source: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/2018-service-year-report/2018-grand-totals/

Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t be accused of excluding “specific types of persons” or of deliberately seeking out “specific types of persons”. Their sincerity and commitment is exemplary, even if the house-to-house ministry is a hugely time-consuming and ineffective method of proselytizing.

  • Well said! There is one exception when it comes to looking for "specific types of people", and that's a person's language. In areas where there's a significant need for people to be preached to in a different language, a group/congregation will be formed for that language, and if there's need, the Witnesses will learn that new language and start compiling addresses for people who speak that language. That's what's currently happening in my town in Arkansas with Hindi. I've been learning Hindi for a year, and when I go in the ministry, I give priority to just preaching to Hindi speaking people.
    – user32540
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 16:21
  • @4castle-That's quite remarkable, to learn a new language just so you can share the gospel with others. Here in rural Scotland we don't have language barriers except, perhaps, in the Highlands and Islands where Gaelic is spoken. It's a beautifully melodic language but I confess I can't speak it. Larger cities in the U.K. are home to lots of people from different European countries and so I can see a need to publish information in a variety of languages, like Latvian or Polish. Doubt at my age I could learn a new language, though - I'm still struggling with English!
    – Lesley
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 17:33
  • Indeed, it takes strong motivation to get started, but it's very rewarding to see the joy that comes to people when they see your effort to speak in their mother tongue. It's true that the older you are, the longer it may take to learn a new language, but thankfully, it's the effort that matters to Jehovah. (Hebrews 6:10) It may be that there was some kind of miscommunication to cause it to be so long since Witnesses have visited you, but if you would like to be visited as soon as possible, there's a Contact Form.
    – user32540
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 18:01

Our ministry is very organized and each congregation covers their assigned territory thoroughly. (Matthew 24:14) We want everyone to get a change to learn the truth. When we go door to door we don't randomly skip doors, but we may skip one for a variety of reasons. There are different congregations for different languages so that people can learn in their own language. As an example, if a French congregation exists among a predominantly English speaking population, then the door to door work would be different for those in that congregation. They would search out ones that speak French rather than try to preach at every door. Normally if we find someone who speaks a different language, we pass their information along so someone can talk to them in their own language. If the population in one specific area predominantly speaks a different language than the surrounding areas, that would become the territory of a local congregation that speaks that language, assuming one exists. We do offer free home Bible studies and encourage people to study in the language they are most comfortable with. For more information please see the lesson entitled "How Is Our Kingdom-Preaching Work Organized?" from the brochure "Who Are Doing Jehovah’s Will Today?".

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