Sometimes I feel like when I am trying to explain who God is, I am the stereotypical East-Indian customer service representative trying to speak what I think is perfect English to someone who is hearing it with extreme difficulty and irritation.
Its like I have a Christian accent… and it is thick.
So everything I say, though well-intentioned, comes out muddy and garbled, and all I get in response is “What…? Can you say that again?” And that is what I do, I say it word for word again, and it just starts a vicious circle till someone throws their hands in the air in frustration.
And the problem is, I don’t look at the problem from the angle of the consumer. The one who is checking out the issue. I don’t think about the fact that the problem isn’t what I am saying, but that I am not thinking to articulate it in a way that the consumer understands it. I am just trying to put the right words out that I have been told to say and that by all accounts should work.
But it does not work. They do not understand a word that I am saying.
They don’t get the product I am trying to sell them, or to help them understand the problems they are dealing with it.
I mean if you think about this seriously. We live in a consumer era, and people are getting very frugal, very picky about what they buy. Things are expensive. And God is a product that we not only have to sometimes make a cold sell on, but also demonstrate he is worthwhile for those who are skeptical. So when we attempt to show them how great this product is, in this case God, we don’t think to come at it from their perspective. Yet somehow with everything else as Christians we love, we can portray it with crystal-like clarity.
I am as guilty of this as anyone. I can dictate the dessert list from the restaurant I work with in such a way that those who were not interested in a chocolate souffle are suddenly craving it. The sad thing is, I don’t like desserts, much less chocolate. Yet I can be more informative of these desserts than I can be about God who I am very passionate about.
NOTE: I know I am passionate about my God and His message of salvation.
Now what I am going to say sounds crazy, but I have a theory. I have to sell God like I sell a dessert to someone who already feels like they have everything they need. I actually have no idea if this will work or not, but I am going to try anyways. I have a good feeling though.
I am going to actually get to know the person I am trying to share God with. Then I am going to think about them and pray for them and their needs. Then I am going to think about how I should show them God in such a way that they might see as pragmatic or atleast allowable. Then I will encourage them, then I will hopefully make the sale.
Because that is what I do with desserts. I talk to the people and find out how their feeling. Then I pick a dessert I think they will like based on how hungry they are feeling and what they might pair with their meal so that is something agreeable to their stomach. Then I ask if I can share a method to enjoy something that they might not have earlier considered (maybe they just want peaches and yogurt because the souffle seems too rich) and then I go for it.
And they say no alot. And they say yes alot. It’s hit and miss, but they are not confused about what I am offering them. They are informed and have made an informed decision.
So what you should get out of this Christians… Is that these people may not be understanding your well-intentioned message. So stop, look around, and listen. yes listen to your friend/colleague/family/complete stranger. Find out what they are looking for and make a clear connection to what you have to offer. And when they are understanding offer to help them have the ultimate dessert.