I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who is studying to enter the ministry. He mentioned a question that they had had posed to them in their course. For their assignment they had to try and convert someone without using the Bible. The idea was that you can never convince someone to accept the Bible by using the Bible.
Which makes sense I suppose.
But how do you do that? How do you convince someone of the truth of Christ’s saving grace, and his God-ship, without using scripture.
Well, you have to sell him something else.
You have to sell yourself.
So I tell you it tastes good, that it will meet all your needs, and you will be refreshed eating it. But if you don’t believe me; If you think it is poison, or that it is terrible, you will never eat it.
So I have to sell you myself first. I have to convince you that I know what tastes good, and that I am not insane, and enjoy eating poison. I have to sell you the idea that I care enough about you to want you to have something that is good for you.
Then - once you buy me, you might be prepared to try what I am selling.
The same I think with evangelism. We can not sell Christ, unless we are also selling ourselves. We need to be seen to be caring, because otherwise why should they believe us. We need to be trustworthy, we need to be loving, we need to be stable. Then, when we say “I know a way that works, let me tell you why it worked for me,” they can rely on our tastes and trustworthiness. They can trust that we know what we are talking about.
If we aren’t building relationships, and living the word we preach, we are selling a product no one will trust.
And that is just wrong.