Right now, I'm sitting at a Starbucks, ostensibly doing some sermon preparation. I say "ostensibly" becasue I'm actually eavesdropping on the women at the next table. I like writing at places like Starbucks because I get to observe humanity in all its wonder. As I overhear their conversation, I start thinking about evangelism.
The three ladies are talking about Avon. The one woman has a big box of catalogues and samples. They appear to be getting the third woman started as an Avon representative. Apparently Avon reps get credit for sales made by people they recruit, and the people they in turn recruit. It's about building your team. I wonder--isn't this how evangelism should work? You have a meaningful experience with God, you tell your friends, they tell their friends. Instead of recruiting people to sell Avon, we tell others about God.
I realize that Christianity isn't a product to be sold. In fact, I often cringe at the commercialization of religious devotion. But I think we can learn something about evangelism from Avon. It's about relationships. It's a matter of building connections between individuals.
Imagine--what would happen if everybody invited one extra friend to worship? Our attendance would double in size.
I don't always think bigger is always better. I've heard repeatedly that people have been attracted to Amazing Grace because of our size--they don't want to feel overwhelmed. But I also realize that behind the numbers are people. Avon's model works because people want to tell their friends what a good product it is. As Christian people, we have an amazing story to tell. Why wouldn't we want to share it with our friends?