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Monday, May 16, 2011

Selling Jesus

Seth Godin shares about the difference between selling and inviting people. When you're selling, it's time to convince, cajole and persuade people to think differently. When you're inviting, the convincing has already been done and you're just helping people through the steps of a decision that's already been made.

As I was growing up I learned evangelism through the lens of sales. We should use apologetics to convince people of the truth of Jesus. For every objection that people could bring, we needed to be able to bring a response. Books like A Case for Faith were incredibly popular since they answered all the hairy questions about faith.

But somewhere along the way that process stopped working. Maybe it never worked, I don't know. All I know is that now, if I try to sell someone on Jesus, I'm going to be worse off than I was when I started. They won't be convinced and we won't be friends anymore.

The other option is inviting people. But you can't just invite people to something they don't want to do. So we need to live inviting lives. We need to be the types of people that our friends want to be around and to learn more about. We need to live lives that beg the question: "Where does your hope come from?" (1.Peter 3.15) And then once people are already sold on Jesus by seeing his impact on our lives, we invite them to Jesus. We walk with them through the steps of making a faith decision.

Does selling people on Jesus still work? Did it ever work? What works in your context?

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