- Adam Butler
This Is Not A Sales Pitch
I once heard a pastor say these words regarding the purpose of the church: “we are in the business of helping people.” At the time, as a young, less seasoned Christian, it made perfect sense. However, looking back on the statement now, it raises some concerns. Are we really in the business of helping people? Is that our main focus as the body of Christ? To an extent, yes. People are ultimately helped by the Church, if she is carrying out her commission faithfully. We are helping people, in that we are sent out as Christ’s body to minister to the lost and ultimately spread the truth of the Gospel in an effort to make disciples of Jesus. So, in that sense, yes; we are helping people. But we’re not a business.
Christianity is not a sales pitch. We are not offering a product in hopes to make a profit. Oftentimes, we approach church and even the Gospel this way, trying to gather as many consumers as we can on a Sunday by providing them a memorable, exciting experience. We minister to their felt needs, but not their eternal, spiritual needs. In that sense, you may as well call it a business. But is the Gospel a sales pitch?
The answer, of course, is no. The Gospel is not a sales pitch; it is a call to die. In other words, truth is not optional; it is imperative. In a sales pitch, the salesman uses a series of tactics to convince someone to buy what he is selling. Think of a used car salesman: they use flattery to soften the buyer in order to make them more likely to buy then and there, they act as if they are working with the buyer by “making a deal”, and then make the car they are selling seem nicer than it often really is. They cover up the not-so-nice aspects of the used car by drawing your attention to the nicer things.
Too often, this is how we approach Christianity. We treat the Gospel as a sales pitch. Many try to “sell” the message of Christianity (or, at least, a watered-down, often perverted version of it) in an effort to build an audience. This phenomenon manifests itself through the concept of the “seeker” church. Though that term is not used as frequently as in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, the principle is still in place. The idea is that those who are “seeking” God will be drawn to churches which are culturally relevant and accepting.
The problem is that the whole ideology behind the concept is that the Apostle Paul teaches us this is not the case; no one seeks after God (Romans 3:11). So, to compromise on the truth of the Gospel for the sake of drawing crowds is not only problematic; it is sin. When we do not preach the true Gospel, call people to repent of sin, understand that, on our own, we are sinners before a holy God who are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and are called to die to ourselves in order to be committed followers of Jesus, then we are swinging open the doors to allow heresy to pervade and apostasy to occur.
The church is not a business looking to make sales and “grow the company” by reaching people for the sake of meeting their felt needs. If anything, we should be seeker insensitive. Jesus came to redeem, not to entertain.
We should not be using sales tactics in order to spread the Gospel. The truth is sufficient; let it speak. As Christians, our job is to be faithful and leave the results to God. As Ray Comfort says, we cannot bring everyone to Christ, but we can do our best to bring Christ to everyone. God’s spirit will do the work within their hearts; we have only to be faithful to what God has called us: proclamation of the Gospel, making disciples, and holding to the commands of Christ in order to grow spiritually, all for the sake of God’s glory alone. Then, we leave the results to God.
As Paul explains, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Each person within the body has unique giftings. However, God is God and at work throughout all of them. Though our culture may change, truth never does. Truth is either true or it is not; there is no in-between. So do not buy into the lie that you need to compromise for the sake of “winning” people to Christ.