In this day and age you almost can’t go anywhere without seeing advertising. It’s on TV, radio, cellphones galore, and in printed works worldwide. Billions of dollars are spent on marketing operations, and with good reason. How would you know that some service or product existed without advertising?
Yet even the most effective advertising isn’t enough to seal the deal sometimes. An ad in a newspaper obviously doesn’t have an intrinsic mechanism to allow for an exchange of currency, so systems have to be put in place electronically for that to happen, or people have to be at the ready to follow up on the requests for more information.
For human-based systems of selling there are three basic phases: outreach, following up, and — hopefully — closing. In the outreach phase, people look for potential buyers of a product, or service and seek to make connections. In the follow-up phase, there is continued dialogue, and interaction with a lead in order to answer questions and build rapport. Finally, there is the closing phase. This is where a “sit-down” of sorts happens and numbers are thrown around, and hopefully an agreement is reached, and a transaction occurs.
Good companies and providers of services keep in touch with past buyers, and clients, because if a sincere element of care is kept, it allows for better business in the long run. If this step is done right, and something of quality is sold, the venerated word of mouth dynamic happens.
Stretching the meaning of the word “sell” a little, the truth is we sell all the time. It’s not only in the domain of sales personnel. We sell our ideas, viewpoints, perspectives, etc. We do our best to be persuasive, influential, and articulate. In the human melting pot of expressions, we also bring our own unique colors, and nuances in the mix.
It’s a part of our nature to “sell” even in unspoken ways. When humans touch and hold each other close, for example, they are conveying things that are unsaid louder than a thousand trumpets.
On a personal level, I feel that there is a body of people that has sadly done many things without skill in “selling” the Heart of God by example, and action — this is the Church at large. Like a business that isn’t doing the sales thing well — in general — it is lacking good word of mouth; it isn’t keeping in touch in a good relational way with its members, and it is not giving the sweet GOLD that is really in the heart of God.
Should there even be the question of how many people have been burned in, and by, what was meant to be the Ecclesia — The Body of Christ, in the minds of people as is so often the case? And also, how many prayers go unanswered by “God” when he intended this Body to be an answer to many of those prayers in, by, and through his strength? Where is the brotherly service unto others as is found in the example of Jesus?
It doesn’t help that the majority of his Body is selling watered down, feel good material, without substance. Like silly ads, nice sounding messages only go so far without something of depth behind them. Above all, the Body wallows in brokenness, and in disarray in the swamp of ages past from selling Hell to its members rather than Healing from the Healer.
We live in an age of a spiritual and multi-national identity crisis. While it is great that subjects you could never speak of openly in the past can be spoken of now without too much fear of shame — I feel as a whole we are giving up on looking for meaning. We are more concerned with scratching the temporal itch of our cravings instead of seeking to make our roots go deep in solid ground.
This situation doesn’t need to be taken on by the Body with an old fashioned fundamentalist revival; rather, the Body needs a FUNDAMENTAL reconsideration of its priorities, and the nature of its message.
I am not afraid to say that God was, and has never been about Hell, Punishment, Tears, Wrath, Sorrow, Damnation, and all the other nasty concepts that have been conveyed over history by the Body. If anything… in speaking these lies about Jesus, even with the best of intentions — it has doubly crucified its Savior who was crucified for it, and the entire world.
The Body cannot overcome this history alone by merely getting a minor facelift over its mistakes by putting out superficial inspirational content, great worship services, and five part messages. It has to go DEEP, and it has to be woke, and be there for people who are asking HARD questions about life, and not silently castigate these people for asking about things which may be considered taboo to itself. It has to listen again.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.James 1:19, NIV
Is it really taboo to wonder if Jesus is really God? How many of us — myself included — have doubted the nature of his convictions to our hearts… sometimes on a nanosecond, by nanosecond basis?
It can’t be taboo to ask questions about sexuality, relationships, and all the tricky bits that the more recent generations are seeking answers too. It’s never a bad thing to ask about something from a place of sincerity. In scripture, God has never had an issue with being asked deep questions. He’s only described in them as having issues with insincerely seeking.
A great example of how cool God is with being approached with HARD questions is in the story of Abraham asking God to spare Sodom in Genesis 18:16-33. Think about this, if God can be cool with someone asking him about the fate of a nation — how much more chill must he be with the issues, and questions of our hearts… provided that we are sincere in the seeking of the truth?
Hebrews 4:12-13, KJV
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
All of us, as a Body, who proclaim faith in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit can only face these questions if we face them in ourselves first. Christ is the Living Word that can pierce through our ignorance, arrogance, pride, and fear. It will ALWAYS hurt letting him do that with us, yet as a Body we cannot afford to put off the process of going into the void of the dark parts of our hearts any longer. If we want to help the lost in this world, both young and old… we have to “sell” help again, not “sell” hell. Then we will effectively convey his Salvation.