Evangelism is like…Network Marketing???

Last week, I read chapters four and five in David Platt’s Radical.  In these chapters, he reminds us that our purpose, regardless of who we are or where we are, is to “go out and preach the gospel to all nations.”  God has a global mission for the church–and that is to reach the 4.5 BILLION people in the world who have never heard the gospel.  And yet, as Christians, we so often focus on what’s best for “me” and “my family.”  We hide behind our “calling,” or lack thereof.  Platt isn’t saying that we need to give up our careers and/or nice houses–and he isn’t saying we have to move overseas and become a missionary.  But he is saying that we should be willing to.  We should be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of the cross.

So, what does this look like?  Maybe it means that you use your resources to finance missionaries.  Maybe it means that you and your family serve at a local homeless shelter.  Maybe it means that you teach recovering addicts business skills so that they can get back on their feet.  If you don’t know what your gifts and purpose are, you might want to read The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett.  Some people may be asked to literally go to another country and be missionaries.  Others may be asked to give up a job to serve.  But the key is to make it a habit to constantly think about how you can serve God right where you are.

One woman gave a great example–if you knew that you had the cure for cancer, would you keep it to yourself?  Or would you be out, sharing it with as many people as possible?  We have something so much more valuable, and yet we keep it to ourselves.  Platt, in chapter 5, lays out a very simple plan for sharing the love of Christ with others.  It’s not the “normal” outreach, where you gather as many people as possible, stick them in a room, and teach them.  Instead, he says, as we live our lives, we should do so with God’s purpose in mind, thinking about how we can share with others His love for them.  One on one.  And create relationships.

After all, this is what Jesus did.  He spent his entire ministry here on earth cultivating a relationship with just 12 guys–and he left 11 who were expected to continue what He started.  Yes, Jesus spoke to large crowds, but He asks us to go out and make disciples–gather people to us and teach them to walk as we do.  We can’t do the one and not the other.

The philosophy Platt shares sounds a lot like Network Marketing to me.  One of the slogans we hear a lot in our industry is “each one, reach one.  Each one, teach one.”  That’s it.  You find one person, share with them your product/service, then teach them to do the same.  It doesn’t matter what you know–whether you are brand new or a veteran, the process is the same.  You go out, tell people about what you’re doing, then teach them how to do the same.  Along the way, you read personal development books and go to seminars to get better and better at what you do. But it’s all about taking consistent action and constantly improving yourself.

This is what we are to do as Christians.  Just as we listen for the need for our product/service as we develop relationships, we need to listen for people’s need for Christ.  When we hear that need, we can respond by introducing them to Him.  At that point, they make a decision–they accept, reject, or ask for more time.  If they accept, then we walk with them.  Bring them with us to events.  Teach them how to walk the Christian life–what do we read?  How do we pray?  etc.  If they say no–well, then, you continue to develop a relationship with them.  Because every good network marketer knows that “no” really means “not now.”  🙂  And if they ask for more time, you keep following up–by inviting them to live life with you.

It’s all about building a relationship.  It’s about one on one interactions with people.  Getting to know them.  Listening for their needs and meeting them with the gifts and resources God has blessed us with.

When I first got started in my company, making those calls was really hard.  What if I was rejected?  What if people didn’t like my product as much as I did?  But as I forced myself to step out in faith, as I built up my own knowledge and belief about my company and my industry, it became easier and easier. It takes walking forward day by day and slowly, but surely, changing your mindset about what is important.

I believe that the same is true for witnessing.  At first, it will feel uncomfortable.  We’ll be afraid of rejection.  People will laugh at us.  But if we continue to grow in knowledge and increase our belief through study of the Word and getting to know other believers, it will become second nature.  We will see a need and meet it–and as we become willing to be used by God, He will show us, day by day, how to use our gifts and resources to reach those 4.5 billion people in the world who have not heard of His grace and love for them.  The first step is to be willing to do whatever it takes.

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