Effectively Selling the Gospel

by Lynn "lynnibug" Rios on February 19th, 2015
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A friend recently gave me a suggestion to write about how to explain God to someone that has had no religious experience as we know it. I pondered this subject for about a week before it struck me that the question that was troubling me was actually a bit broader. My question was “Why are so many Christians so ineffective at sharing their faith in everyday situations?” Not knowing how to explain God to someone that has no religious point of reference is just one example of how we fail to communicate the love of God and the availability of that love to anyone who will surrender to it.


I wonder if our enthusiasm to share the good news might be at the root of our inability to share it well. I have personally witnessed well-meaning preachers scare seekers away rather than bring them into the light, so I thought it might be worth looking a little closer at basic sales techniques and how we might apply them to spreading the Gospel message more effectively.


There are basically two kind of sales pitch, the hard sell, and the soft or consultative sale. The hard sell is all about the salesperson and the product, designed to make the buyer out to feel foolish or uncomfortable with not having the product that everyone MUST have. How many times have you hung up the phone or slammed the door on someone giving you that kind of pitch? This approach works in some situations and for some products, especially products we buy on impulse, but big ticket investments are rarely closed using this kind of technique.


A few months back I watched an evangelist on a soap box in front of the courthouse in downtown Tampa for about 30 minutes. He was hard sell all the way. His message, repent or burn in hell… Don’t be left behind when the Lord comes back! He made a lot of noise, but did not engage a single seeker. Obviously this is an extreme example, so let’s look at a more subtle version of the hard sell. I have a friend whose child embraced an eastern religion. As the two of them engaged in a conversation, my friend’s message to her daughter was that she would not go to heaven if she did not turn away from her heathen practices. The technique was to try and change what her daughter believed without first understanding it, and why her daughter was drawn to it, and because of that, a wall of misunderstanding stands between them to this day.


On the other hand, the dynamic of the soft, or consultative sale, is focused on the prospect. It begins with asking questions, lots of them… this is not a race to the close. The goal is to understand the needs of the prospect. If I can relate to someone’s pain, and show them how it can be relieved, I have a much better chance of getting their attention and keeping it. We need to be able to imagine ourselves in their world, and in their situation, to communicate on their level and in a language they will understand. We want to help them to envision themselves in a better more positive situation, then encourage them by showing them a way to make that happen. When we listen, really listen, God will remind us of our own experiences that strike a common chord. We can tell our own story, yes our testimony, as it relates to their struggle, and in doing so communicate what God has done for us. We are still communicating “features and benefits”, but on a far more personal, and far less threatening manner.


Know that most people want to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled, and have a sense of purpose. Most people are hungry for that agape love that only Jesus offers, but you can’t force feed it to them, you can only invite them to His table and allow them to choose. Plant seeds of love at every opportunity, and trust that God will direct your prospects to other people of faith for those seeds to be watered and nurtured. Know also, when you do walk the final steps to accepting Jesus with another, that many others sowed the seeds that you are seeing harvested. It takes a church to fulfil the great commission. So keep it simple and focus on three things.


FIRST, Do no harm! Everything you do and say should make others want to come closer, not run away.


SECOND, Shut up and listen. Learn where their emptiness is and you have a chance at making a valid suggestion to fill it. You already have your salvation, so let this conversation be about them.


THIRD, Baby steps! Whoever you are engaging has their own journey. God is there in His prevenient grace in that journey… don’t try to take it over. You do your part, then let God do His part.


Blessings & Adventure,


Lynn “lynnibug” Rios



Categories: Digging Deeper for Wisdom, My Personal Journey, Wisdom Journeys

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