Making Disciples Is Not Like Selling Ads, But Still …

I spent several years in vocational ministry, and one job I had was selling advertising for a phone book. The one thing I was really good at was selling new business. I would often be asked to help coach others on our sales team in how to obtain new advertisers. And while I do not believe that sharing Jesus is a matter of learning effective sales techniques, I do think there are some valuable lessons to be learned.

When asked the secret to my success in sales, I always gave credit to God. I prayed over my accounts and I asked God to bless my business. So I gave him the credit when he answered. Winning souls starts with prayer. Ask God to put someone in your life who needs Jesus. God uses the Holy Spirit to connect seekers and believers. So give him the glory when he does that in your life.

I did learn that successful selling is a numbers game. I talked to lots of non-advertisers. I worked really hard at it. I did not pre-qualify leads by deciding who would–or would not–buy even before I talked to them. Of course I had a lot calls that did not go well, and a lot of businesses that said no. But I noticed the more businesses I talked to, the more I sold.

So I talk to everybody about Jesus. I am a seed sower, not a soil tester. So sometimes I talk to people who are not interested. But I notice that the more people I share Jesus with, the more disciples I make.

I thought my product would sell itself. I believed in it and I had lots of successful ad stories I could share. It is the same when you talk about Jesus. We do not have to sell anyone on Jesus. I absolutely believe he is the way, the truth, and the life. He has proven his value in my life and in the lives of countless others in my community of faith.

I always asked for the sale. Always. In the same way, I am always inviting people to make a decision for Jesus. Sometimes the answer in sales was no. I never took it personally. Just like when people reject Jesus. It is not about me. It is personal between them and Jesus.

Making a living selling ads is not really a big deal. It was a living, not life. But talking to people about Jesus is a big deal. He is life–for me and for those with whom I talk about him. So remember to ask God to bless your life with opportunities to talk about Jesus. Expect everyone to be interested and do not get discouraged if they do not.

Keep serving, inviting, sharing your testimony, telling Jesus stories, and asking people if they are ready to follow Jesus.

And give God the glory when the answer is yes.

Steve loves to tell the story of Jesus. He is the Director of Ministry for Hope for Life, a Herald of Truth Ministry, and serves as an elder at the Southern Hills church of Christ in Abilene, TX. He is a popular speaker for Lectureships, seminars, and retreats, and his latest book is “Can I Tell You a Story?” He and his wife Marsha have two children and five grandchildren.

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Author:  Publish Date: June 9, 2017

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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