Evangelism is being redefined for me.
I've been thinking about selling a product as an analogy to sharing the gospel. Though it's probably not the best analogy, it brings out a few interesting points.
Somewhere along they way I began to see evangelism as a sales pitch. I have a product that you need and you don't know that you need it so I'm going to try to convince you that you need it. Hopefully by the time we're done you've agreed to try the product out and I go and tell everyone I've sold it! Everyone wins right?
First problem I see is the push to prove a person's need to them. I think before someone decides to follow Jesus they should be aware of their current state, that's very important. But for us to try to convince someone that they are in need seems like manipulation. Like all our current advertising: convenience and pleasure is made to be a perceived need. And if this product doesn't work out for me I can go get my convenience and pleasure from another (or so the claims go). Are real needs being met? Or are they manufactured?
Does the gospel we present meet real needs or manufactured needs?
Another issue with the above is that the focus in on the initial commitment. If I had a product and did really well getting that initial commitment from customers but many of those customers ended up not buying the product ever again, well then I'd see this product as bad or our customer support is bad. If the focus is on the initial contract and no effort is taken to maintain the relationship, then there will be no long term customers. If the goal of the product is to serve the customer but I'm focusing my business on getting contracts, then the service of the customer will suffer.
Is our focus on getting a commitment or a decision to Jesus meeting our real objectives?
That being said: what are the objectives we seek to accomplish? Do the methods we use help the process?