Before entering into full time ministry in 1985, I was in sales. Immediately I noticed that some salesmen were more successful than others, even when they operated within similar conditions and geographical locations. I inquired, gleaned and learned from many older salesmen on the secrets for their success.
As Christians, things are somewhat different. We are not asking people to choose our ‘product’ over other similar products. We are offering the only means for finding forgiveness of sin and acceptance by the God of creation. Also, we are not selling faith. We are offering the message of salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus on Calvary’s cross. This great message seems to good to be true; that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
Though there are obvious differences between secular sales and sharing the gospel, four of the principles definitely apply when we are attempting to reach out to the lost.
- Know Your Product – We will not be convincing if we are ignorant of sound theology. A working knowledge of systematic theology and intimacy with Jesus provides us with a boldness which will be evident when we share. This involves the need to be able to answer questions and objections about the faith. The early church continually cultivated their understanding of doctrine and their intimacy with Jesus.
- Befriend Your Client – Because of the competing market, friends usually have more influence than a casual acquaintance. Become a friend and your advice will be sought. Jesus was even known as a friend of sinners. Religion thinks this is compromise, the Bible presents it as our method.
- Prove Your Friendship – Go out of the way to demonstrate your care for them. Surprise them with a helpful action by sacrificing your time and energy on their behalf. This demonstrates you care for them. Jesus reached out and demonstrated friendship to strangers.
- Earn Their Trust – The previous three principles will gain the trust of those we are trying to reach. There are a lot of talkers in the marketplace, but people respect the opinions of those they trust. Live a life which demonstrates you can be trusted.
These four principles served me well in the sales field, and I have seen them provide opportunities to share the gospel with those who would normally be uninterested in Jesus. Because of the charlatans and religious quacks we see on TV, many people are skeptical about the motives of ‘Christians.’ However, if we’ll understand these four, our attempts at outreach will become fruitful.
Study God’s Word… Spend time with the Lord in prayer… Share Jesus with others… Enjoy the harvest!