A sentence from a secular source I read this morning, “I learned more about sales, marketing, and evangelism” through my first job.
Evangelism is often lumped into selling, whether by churchy-folk or not. We treat God as a commodity and we have to meet our quota, keep the Boss happy with our performance. I just need a bite. Just sign your name so I can tell the Boss I’m a good salesman.
The problem with this view of the Gospel is that it completely contradicts Scripture. Jesus Christ continually turned people away. Several times He even refused to talk to some people. The Apostles would leave if a town rejected them. Then, of course, the most amazing of all evangelism stories, we have Jonah himself who was the most reluctant yet successful apostle of all time.
The problem with treating the Gospel as a sales pitch is that we then market Truth. Hardly anyone wants Truth, so to make them take it, to sign their name, to get you closer to your quota, you have to change Truth so they’ll swallow it. Do whatever it takes to turn the No into a Yes.
This is a mockery of the Gospel. Although Jesus Christ and the apostles (with the exception of Jonah) cared for people and desired all men to be saved, none of them wanted your salvation to the extent that they’d change the message.
Yes, I know Paul said he was all things to all men to win some. Completely different. Paul was willing to change; his message wasn’t.
For a business to stay in business sales need to be made. Since we’ve turned the church into a business and we are now dependent on money to keep it going, we need salesmen. Therefore we need classes on “how to present the Gospel to a post-modern world.”
But here’s the dirty little secret of evangelism: God really doesn’t need your “help.” He is not dependent on your sales quota. He is not bummed out “cuz we let another one get away.” His future is not determined by whether John Post-modern Doe wants His gospel. And nowhere does He tell us “If they won’t take it the first time, just keep dropping bits of truth until they find it palatable.”
This does not mean we aren’t supposed to evangelize, we are. But Evangelism without the Evangel is pointless. We are to preach the truth, in season and out, and people go their way. Salvation is of the Lord. We plant and we water, God gives the increase. If God is not the builder, the builders labor in vain.
Don’t act desperate with the Gospel, it has a power all it’s own. Nothing to be ashamed of. Preach it!