A freaky thing happened to me today that reminds me of an obnoxious habit in personal evangelism.
I got a phone call today. Would I be interested in the caller showing me how to make $3500 a day?
I don’t know this person. Never met him before. I did not recognize his voice.
He quickly introduced himself and told me how he found my telephone number.
Somehow, a click on his website revealed my identity (scary) and he called me.
He decided I was a potential customer for his life-changing product.
Then he proceeded with the opening sentence of his pitch.
From the very first syllable to the last in the 5-minute encounter, the mental alarm bells were going off in my head. I found myself immediately defensive.
He was polite during the whole conversation, but the level of his sincerity wasn’t the problem.
He was interrupting my day. He had stalked me.
He wanted to sell a program I wasn’t even interested in.
He had no credibility at all.
When I told him I wasn’t interested, he was stunned that my answer was no.
Aggressive sales put people on the defense.
He may have had the greatest program in the world. It would solve my problems if I could make $3500 a day.
If I signed up right there on the spot, I would have been excited about hope. However, tomorrow would come, without the $3500.
I was defensive from the start:
- He stalked me to locate a number for me when I had not given it to him.
- He called me to initiate a conversation about his product.
- He didn’t ask if I wanted to talk about his offer.
- And No, I didn’t want his stuff.
Aggressive Personal Evangelism is just as off-putting.
If you’ve ever done contact evangelism, you know that sometimes your gospel presentations are aimed at sharing the greatest news in the world:
- Get straight to the point with the right opening question.
- Convince them of their need for Jesus.
- Explain how a decision for Jesus will change their life forever, solving their greatest problem.
- Invite them to join your movement with a simple prayer of salvation.
- Leave them to figure out what to do next.
Much of that is done without listening to the person, interrupting their day, ignoring what their real need is, and tapping only their fear of hell.
(Less I be misunderstood, I do teach contact evangelism in partnership with local churches, but in such a way that doesn’t feel like being an aggressive salesperson for Jesus — the above comment is laced with cynicism over abusive ways people share the gospel).
Evangelism that is disruptive and not part of an ordinary conversation flow is an obnoxious habit I can do without.
My own Personal Evangelism Teaching
Instead, I want my conversations about Jesus to be with people who really want to talk with me.
I don’t want to create defensiveness. Rather, I want faith-sharing conversations to be a normal part of my daily life with people who are truly interested in the conversation.
I have a DVD set (or digital download) that focuses on conversational style evangelism that would be effective in:
- casual conversation between friends
- causal conversation between strangers
Learn these principles on personal evangelism, and your faith-sharing conversations can become an ordinary part of your life without feeling like you are selling Jesus.
I show you how conversations can be natural and wanted, rather than you putting people on the defensive like this man did today.
Read more about the Effective Evangelism Conversations in the store