I’ve heard the stories. A couple gets invited to their friend’s house for dinner. Dinner goes well, the conversation is easy. Then, out comes the white board and the friends are selling a multi-level business opportunity.
I really don’t have anything against multi-level marketing. I have some friends that apparently are doing pretty well with it. But there is something insincere about inviting friends over for dinner when there was another agenda for the evening. In short, it wasn’t genuine.
Evangelism has to be heartfelt. It can’t be a bait and switch scam we run on people. We don’t build relationships with people just to get them saved. It is no more sincere than trying to recruit someone to a MLM by inviting them over for dinner.
What happens if a friendship is based on getting someone saved? Wouldn’t it become the focal point of the relationship? Salvation becomes the goal that eclipses everything else.
I know people that believe their parents love them. They just believe that mom and or dad would love them better if they had a degree, lost weight, or went to church. You can fill in the blank. For the person on the receiving end, it can get tiresome.
Alex McManus was talking to a group of church planters and said that love must be unconditional. We are to love people because that is what God does, but getting them saved is not why we love them.
The unconditional love (or our best attempt) is fueled by the Holy Spirit anyway. This frees me up to love and enjoy my friend without having to push salvation on them.
This may sound too passive, but it is actually quite honoring to God’s timing. God has always opened doors to a message of salvation and eternal life. Hindsight has shown me that I tend to focus on less important issues at hand by having a salvation agenda and thinking I knew what was best for my friends.
The best thing I have found for evangelism is to remember these few things:
- God loves each and every person I will ever meet.
- God wants to make sure everyone has eternal life, even more than I do.
- God is already moving in their lives.
- God’s timing is perfect if I will wait for the open door.
Praying to be able to see and respond to the movements of God in another person’s life is vital to recognizing the first three points.
1 John 4.12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” Our love puts skin on God and makes the abstract, tangible.
I guess I could sum it up by saying that I’m going to love people and let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting.
What do you think? Is love enough when it comes to evangelism or not? If not, what has worked for you?
3 thoughts on “Multi-Level Marketing, unconditional love, and Jesus.”
We are quite arrogant if we believe that “we” save anyone. We can recognize salvation, we can applaud salvation and we can pray for salvation; but we cannot do the deed. That’s God’s job alone. He’s better at it than we could ever be anyway.
So, let’s leave Evangelism Explosion and all the other latest, greatest evangelism tools on the shelf and let’s just love people. It’s more fun anyway!
“Evangelism Explosion” always sounded dangerous. Who exploded or would explode? 🙂
Love is always enough. It is unconditional love that drew me to Christ, and unconditional love that has held me during troubled times. People may or may not remember the words you say to them, but they will always remember the love you’ve shown them. If it’s real love , the source is unmistakable and they want to tap into that source. Conditional love (evangelism with an agenda) can deeply hurt people. I remember when my dog died, I was engulfed in a pain beyond words, I called my pastor although I had not been to church in several months, he came without hesitation and offered practical assistance, understanding and when he prayed with me I literally felt the Holy Spirits presence enter the room. He never once asked about my absence from church. Those kinds of experiences is what settles the love of Jesus so deeply within your heart it can never be fully extracted, that’s the kind of evangelist I pray I can be.