A few years ago, NBA star Kevin Durant testified that he struggled with guilt and a sense of condemnation, until Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz explained to him that “We don’t live by the Ten Commandments anymore.”
I don’t want to unpack the reasons that’s partially true and also misleading right now.
Instead, I want to point out that all of us DO live by certain commandments today, whether we call them that or not.
Some members of the modern church have replaced the original Ten Commandments with a new set of Laws.
For example, when Carl Lentz appeared on The View, he explained that his church has a certain way of dealing with the more controversial (“political”) topics, when someone asks where they stand.
Hillsong has a method.
They have a strategy.
Lentz was asked: “Where do you stand on social issues that young people are particularly passionate about, like gay marriage? Abortion? Like, how do you address those types of things?” And he responded: “I think our job is to help people. Not necessarily change how they think, but try to point them to what God has said…[what] we believe the Bible to say…” and he kept rambling from there.
Then Joy Behar tried to pin him down: “So it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?”
And he chose not to answer with a yes or no.
I think this was a difficult question for Lentz because, though he isn’t condemned by the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament, he and many others ARE strongly compelled by the Ten Commandments of Influencing People.
Here are a few of the most important points of effective evangelism, from a sermon I found:
Law #1: Keep your mouth shut and your ears open
Law #2: Offer questions, not answers.
Remember this: Nobody cares how great you are until they understand how great you think they are.
Forget about trying to “sell” Jesus or you particular church, and focus instead on why your Seeker wants. To do this, you need to get fascinated with your Seeker; you need to ask questions (lots and lots of them) with no hidden agenda or ulterior motives.
Law #4: Speak to your prospect just as you speak to your family or friends
Law #10: Invite your prospect to take some kind of action
After having gone through the first eight steps, you should have established a mutual feeling of trust and rapport. You’re now ready to bridge the gap between your prospect’s needs and what it is you’re offering. So invite them to church!
Bur remember: You don’t want the prospect to be reminded that he/she is dealing with a “Christian.” You’re not another “Christian.” You’re a human being offering a gift! And if you can get your prospect to understand that, you’re well on your way to becoming an outstanding Christian.
Okay, okay, it wasn’t really a sermon, per se. It came from Entrepreneur Magazine and I just changed a few words.
The closing line is my favorite. The original article said:
“You’re not a salesperson, you’re a human being, offering a particular product or service. And if you can get others to understand [that you’re not a salesperson], you’re well on your way to becoming an outstanding salesperson.”
I laughed out loud because he doesn’t seem to realize THIS is why 85% of people have a negative view of salespeople…
Salesmen literally teach each other how to obscure and dance around their own motives. They encourage each other to PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING ELSE, in order to “win” clients.
Salesmen always insist they’re not selling. They say things like, “I just want to get to know you, with no ulterior motive” or “I want to find out what you need…”
…or really, whatever it takes to get their foot in the door.
I’m not saying that this “technique” won’t turn into sales! (Who am I to argue with the experts?) Clearly, people are interested in piling into amphitheaters, to hear that God loves them and that abortion is complicated.
But, when I look at the product, to see if I’m interested in buying, I’m turned off by churches filled to capacity with excited, brand-loyal fans of the guy on stage–when they can’t say, for sure, why “Thou Shall Not Murder” is still important.
So, I say to the salesman, “I’m not interested in that, thanks.”
And when I am, I’ll just get my fix for “someone who wants to get to know me” from pretty much any other salesman in the country.
(For the record, I’m pleased with how Lentz took a FIRM stance on racism and said “Some of that stuff needs to be called out, up front, out loud…” Why such different tactics there? It looks to me like this is a game being played between cat-and-mouse. And he knows which issues are easier “sells” than others. You can see The View segment here.)