by €urtis Ηoneycutt
When was the last time someone called you in the middle of dinner selling something you didn’t want? How about someone hounding you to take a survey in the mall when all you want to do is shop/hang out? What do you do with the random flyer that someone puts under your windshield wiper while your car is in the parking lot? Has anyone ever tried to sell something to you at your doorstep? If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced this or something like this. How did you react to these offers? More than likely, you weren’t interested. And the persistence of the salesperson doesn’t make you want what (s)he is selling any more; it usually has the opposite effect.
I was reminded this past Friday night of how some Christians approach telling other people about Jesus in a similar fashion. Canned sales pitches for Jesus are memorized and then aimed at people who have no prior relationship with the salesperson. In this case, the seller is selling his/her version of Christianity to someone who might not be interested. I don’t think people take statistics over things like this, but I wonder (for every 1 conversion) how many people are turned off to the idea of Jesus/Christianity after the spiel is given? I don’t know for sure, but many people despise this type of evangelism.
I’m not against the salesperson, I’m against the sales pitch.
I’m not against people turning their lives over to Jesus, I’m against Christians turning other people off to Jesus/God/Church/Christianity.
So is there a better way?
Yes, but it’s harder, and it takes longer than five minutes.
(But I want results!)
Yes, but let’s try it a different way. Think of evangelism not as a “cold call”, but think of it like a dating relationship. When you meet someone, it takes time to gain his/her trust. As the person gets to know you better, (s)he will respect you more. Peddling Jesus to a stranger is like proposing marriage to someone on a blind date. There’s a slight chance you’ll be successful, but a better chance that the proposed party will turn around and run in the opposite direction.
Let’s be very careful and intentional how we approach people who do not claim to be Christians. We are “ambassadors“, or people who represent Jesus. When people meet us and we let them know we are followers of Christ, they will associate a lot of your character traits with what Jesus is like. If we treat them like jerks, they’ll want nothing to do with us or our Savior…
…just something to think about. People are watching us. Hopefully they know whether or not you claim to be a Christian (it is not something you should hide if you do), and you have an affect on how they view Jesus, so be careful.