Pushy Salesman Evangelism
Yesterday started off well. I have just started my paternity leave and anxiously await the arrival of my first child. I took the day easy, not doing too much, watching some bad day-time TV shows. All was well with the world . . .Then it happened! A knock at the door.
A friendly person was there and introduced himself. Not being one to swear and yell, I listened to what he had to say. He offered a free no obligation quote to re-do our double glazed windows. Now, the windows we have in our house are OK by my standards, however being a responsible home owner I wanted to at least find out how much new windows would cost - I had no idea, so why not?
So an appointment was arranged for later that day. Another representative arrived from the company, very friendly and chatty. But it took him ages to 'get to business'. He seemed to be buttering me up with small talk 'establishing a rapport' (I am not daft - I knew what he was doing). He then rattled through a sales pitch, explaining about the finance plan, a loan we could take out (I hate loans!), previous customer testimonials, watch this DVD presentation, look at this sample window I have brought with me etc. etc. etc. etc.
Finally we got to the point where he actually measured the windows! Then is was more sales pitch, and more sales pitch. Then . . .the special offer was launched! 'If you sign on the dotted line today, I can do you a great deal', he offered all sorts of free things and discounts.
When my wife and I said 'No', he phoned head office and was able to make their 'non-negotiable absolute best offer' even more appealing (again, I can see through the marketing tricks). He also tried to lay on a bit of guilt (which again I had seen coming - bad sales technique because that was it - I turned right off!).
So after much effort on his part and persuading and 4 hours of our evening later, he finally left with no deal. And left me feeling angry. I was glad I had not let myself be manipulated into signing away thousands of pounds for windows I had no intention of changing when I woke up that morning and opening myself up to an unnecessary debt I had not budgeted for.
This got me thinking about how I have come across some similar pushy and manipulative tactics in the church, especially when it comes to 'getting a response' to a sermon or alter call for salvation. I wonder if those who are not familiar with church feel about their experience? I expect they leave angry, just as I felt with the salesman.
We need to remember that it is our responsibility to preach the good news, to tell people about the salvation that only Jesus can offer. But that is all. we are sowers of the seed. Sometimes it falls on good soil, but other times it falls on stony ground and will not bear fruit. The growing of the seed is up to the Holy Spirit. Only He can actually save someone - not us.
We need to turn away from feeling we have to meet some kind of 'quota' - how many people made a decision today Bob? Oh dear, that's not very many. You are failing in your witness! God would not be very pleased with you.
We are not salesmen pushing to make people follow Jesus - or else. Other religions try this approach too, but it reeks of sin and is not godly.
We are given free will to choose. God allows us this. It is always been this way since the dawn of time. Who are we to take that gift of free choice away from people that God has given to them? No, let them choose. Present the gospel, share the good news, but then leave the response to God. Don't become that pushy salesman we hate to see on our doorsteps.