Relational Evangelism or Marketing God: which are you doing?

October 30, 2007

A profound quote from one of my favorite movies, the Big Kahuna (warning: this movie makes some VERY good points that Christians need to hear, but contains very coarse language – use good judgment as to whether or not you, personally, should see it):

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or ‘How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.’ That doesn’t make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are – just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore; it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being; you’re a marketing rep.”

That’s how the world sees many Christians: as though we’re marketing God. And everyone dislikes (metaphorically, at least) a used car salesmen. Looking over Jesus’, and later, the disciples’ methods of evangelism (as Jarram Barrs does EXCELLENTLY in The Heart of Evangelism), one quickly notes that there is no one sure-fire technique to saving a soul. EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT! How are you sharing Christ with others, or ARE you sharing Christ with others? Sometimes we personally believe we’re evangelizing, but we’re actually just selling Christianity. The difference: LOVE – a relationship that gives and takes – a willingness to listen and share – a heart to engage people as God’s image, no matter how marred, instead of projects. Sharing Christ and marketing religion – the world can tell the difference. Why can’t we?

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