Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pizza Evangelism

Pizza Evangelism
By John Fischer

I received an E-mail recently from a reader that had attached to it a fascinating rendering of his own spiritual journey. In it he related how his first encounter with someone who could speak personally about a real relationship with God came to him while serving in the US Navy. Apparently, one of his fellow recruits put out the word: “I’m getting out of the Navy tomorrow and I’ll give free pizza to anyone who’ll listen to me talk about Jesus.”

The reader responded, “I’ll listen to anything to get free pizza. Bring it over here!” He went on to relate how the pizza evangelist’s excitement and absolute belief in what he was saying had kept him spellbound from ten o’clock at night until two in the morning. “Pizza Evangelism! God was at work in bringing my senses into focus.”

Maybe the pizza evangelist is on to something here. Sure it was a “come-on,” but who cares? He didn’t bribe anyone without telling them what he was doing. He was up front with everything. “I’m going to talk to you about Jesus and I’m going to buy some of your time with a little pizza. How about it?” That’s a generous offer that respects a person’s time and motivation.

I think we’ve all been burned at one time or another by someone’s sales pitch disguised as something else—a freebie, a dinner out, or an invitation to meet a neighbor. As good as the product or service might have been, we still feel taken in some way. Duped. And a little dumb. At least I have.

But there’s nothing wrong with an offer. I like this pizza and Jesus guy. He went with a straight-across deal. I’ve got something really important to me that I’d like to share with you, and in order to do it, I’m willing to give you something for your time, so that even if you don’t like what I have to say, you’ll like the pizza. And the weight of the offer itself tells you that this Jesus story is really important to him—important enough to make sure he has one last chance to tell it.

What do you have that you can give for someone’s time? What can you exchange for a legitimate opportunity to share the gospel with someone?

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