As I grow older, I realize I have more questions than answers. One question has developed in my mind over the last few years. How have the smartphone manufacturers convinced so many people they cannot survive without a phone?
The word "necessity" has taken on a whole new meaning. When I was a child in school, the word necessity referred to air, food, water and shelter. Now, necessity means those four items and a smartphone. We recently traveled in Europe. I thought people here were bodily attached to phones but it's nothing compared to Europe. People walking down the street in several cities walked to within inches of me, finally looking up as if the near collision was my fault. In France, I felt like I was in a futuristic movie of robots.
Christians must take note of the marketing strategy of the manufacturers of these devices. Mobile phones, alias smartphones, are a trillion dollar industry and we have only been successful at convincing a mere handful, based on world population, of the people they need our Jesus.
Somewhere along the way, evangelism has missed the point of appealing to the masses. I'm visualizing us standing on the dock waving goodbye to the smartphone boat as it vanishes over the horizon.
Marketing is a science. Specialists study the psychology of the sale, the mind of the buyer, and the technique used most effectively to move the money from your pocket to theirs. The psychology of marketing is an imperative to the success of their industry. It must also be an imperative to the Christian community to preach/teach Jesus to the unchurched.
Perhaps you've noticed a technique used in stores. The products are placed on the lower shelves that appeal to children. This is not by accident. Retailers know some children will throw a tantrum and the adult will buy it to quieten the child.
We go into a store and the product we are looking for is not in the same place it was last week. While we are looking for it we find something else we can't live without. These are marketing strategies.
Product wrapping is to appeal to the color receptors in our eyes; the colors "grab" our attention. This is a science. This bag of tricks is enormous! And we are the victims. Yard sales and thrift stores have become the dumping ground for all these products we come home with that we really do not need.
So, evangelicals, we are attempting to promote the Greatest One that has ever or will ever exist in this world, our Lord Jesus. What are we doing wrong? Why do so many people in the world think they must have a smartphone but see no value in being a believer-follower of Jesus?
The answer to the question is marketing. We teach one hour workshops in Christian witnessing and marketing specialists have four year degrees in marketing technology. We must not only work harder; we must work smarter!
Strategies in evangelism must be urgent, on-going and persistent. I have long taught the method of reaching the unchurched is different for different Christians. I do not have the perfect answer, but I'm convinced we all have the inclination toward evangelism and we are all missionaries by default.
There is a method of conveying the Christian message that will work for all Christians. One must find his own personal method. It may well be our personal testimony, or giving someone a tract or Bible, or developing a relationship, or inviting someone to church. A method I have used is to initiate a conversation and steer it into a discussion of Christianity and go forward as it develops.
We can develop strategies as individuals, as churches, as denominations and as Christians. If there is ever a time this world needs Jesus it is now and if we don't tell them, no one is going to.
What is there about our Jesus that we have to sell Him? Absolutely nothing! He's already done it all. All we have to do is tell them and that should be enough, right? Apparently, that's not the case. It is a sad fact we have to resort to worldly techniques to convince the unchurched He is the only way to salvation, but, that's the world we live in.
Of the thousands of functions a smartphone is capable of, it cannot give eternal life. The question we must address at this point: what method of marketing do we use? A common thread is to reach the most people. Get the most "bang for the buck" seems to be an advertising philosophy. Currently, the trends in advertising are TV and internet. Nothing is better than making a personal contact.
Advertising has methodology for leading people into the positive and away from the negative. We do not need the latter in referring to Jesus because there is no negative. To tell the unchurched about Jesus is all positive.
There is evidently another common denominator and that is a level of enthusiasm and excitement that conveys a positive attitude. Advertising does not always tell us the whole story, only the good, and many times that is embellished upon. In Christianity, it's all good. In reality, promoting Christianity should be simpler than product marketing. Go tell it!