I just returned from an enjoyable vacation in Branson Missouri. If you are unfamiliar, it is basically Las Vegas for red staters. Just substitute out the prostitution and gambling with country music and concealed carry permits and you have a good idea of life in Branson.
It turned out to be a fabulous trip with one major asterisk. For a place that lacks the polish of many urban or beach vacations, Branson’s time share sales game is next level.
I was propositioned approximately a dozen times to check out a resort and receive all manner of swag. In each instance the time share was slow-played while discussing something seemingly unrelated– show tickets, restaurant reservations, purchase of novelty t-shirts, etc.
“What if I told you that you could get these tickets for free… by investing just 90 minutes of your time?”
It was amazing how disingenuous it all was. I’m there trying to buy one thing and you are trying to shoehorn me into buying something totally different. Something I don’t want or need.
It got me thinking about evangelism.
Today’s evangelism is sadly a lot like selling a timeshare. We are trying to show/convince someone there is a better way to do things. Something they may not understand or want. How that plays out can be just as tricky.
Yes we know that people need to connect with their Creator, but how we help them see that has to be authentic and on God’s timing, not ours. Finding that authenticity is challenging for all of us. The last thing you want is to sour someone on the entire idea.
And yes, no one needs a timeshare. But the analogy still holds. How we approach people has to reflect where they are, what they want and how. It can’t be a shell game.
So the message is to be authentic? Groundbreaking stuff Mize.
I guess the larger point is that here I was in the “Show Me” state and the lesson I learned was to practice more “Show Me” evangelism. Live it first and people will ask you.
Sure you can invite them to join you at church events or a service project, but the pivot to Christ has to be organic, maybe even implied.
Otherwise, we are no better than the shysters schlepping vacation rentals– despite the best of intentions.