Guest / Limited Access /
Page 3 of 3

So if there is nothing we can do enable or prevent the Spirit's converting work, what are we supposed to do? Here are three ideas.

For one, we can stop marketing the faith as if it were a product in the marketplace. We can stop thinking it our job to convince or cajole people.

Second, we can do what Jesus told us to do. He did not tell us to market our neighbors, but to love them. That means refusing to treat them as potential customers or clients who need to be talked into something. What made us think non-Christians would enjoy that type of relationship with us in the first place? Instead, we are called to love, to take the initiative to get to know others, to not hold their sins against them, to be generous with our time and goods, to be faithful and kind, and so forth.

This requires a lot more effort, discernment, and sacrifice—and the grace of the Holy Spirit!—than any evangelistic campaign we might work up (which may be another reason we'd much rather market people).

Third, when we have the opportunity to tell another about Jesus, let's avoid come-ons, rhetoric, sales pitches, and pressure. Just a simple explanation of what Jesus has done on the cross and is doing in our lives. Francis de Sales, author of the devotional classic Introduction to the Devout Life, was one of the most effective preachers of his day (late 1500s, early 1600s). But his "method," if we must call it that, was simple. His motto was: "He who preaches with love, preaches effectively."

In order to share the gospel that announces God's extraordinary love to dead sinners, doesn't it make sense that instead of trying to cajole people into faith with marketing techniques, we would simply love them as God loved us all?

Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today. He is author of many books, including the forthcoming Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit (Baker).

Related Elsewhere:

See also our January 2009 cover story, "Jesus Is Not a Brand."

Previous SoulWork columns include:

One Wedding and Six Funerals | What it can mean to participate in the life of God. (January 20, 2011)
Blessed Are the Poor in Virtue | Why some people may want to abandon New Year's resolutions as soon as possible. (January 6, 2011)
Me? Favored? By God? | The remarkable announcement to Mary—and us. (December 22, 2010)
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is senior managing editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow to Help Those in Need (Without Treating Them Like Beggars)
How to Help Those in Need (Without Treating Them Like Beggars)
Robert Lupton shares strategies to lift people out of poverty for the long haul.
TrendingHow 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
How 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
Survey: Two in three evangelicals were attending monthly or more at the time of their first abortion.
Editor's PickGood Behavior Matters After All
Good Behavior Matters After All
How I discovered God's plan to reach a lost and sinful world.
View this article in Reader Mode
Christianity Today
Super Bowl Evangelism