Bee Wilson in her latest book, First Bite, points to ways that work and don’t work when you are trying to change someone’s diet. Frightening discovery—- Despite the large amounts of money spent by governments, vegetable consumption is going down.
The more people get advised to eat vegetables the less it seems they eat them. This is quite a natural response. The main way we get to like food is by getting exposed to them. But there is second condition that must exist and that is we have to be exposed to them without feeling any sense of coercion. As soon as we hear a parent or government say you should eat this or consume some many portions of this a day, it bring us into an unpleasant atmosphere of compulsion. Governments in US and Britain haven’t learned this. Wilson points out that massive amounts of money continue to be poured into these ineffective strategies.
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It reminds me of the ineffectiveness of evangelism as the prime means of spreading the good news of Jesus. No matter how slick, the idea of convincing people they are wrong about what they believe and on by the way, you are right. If they simple would believe what you believe their lives would be different. As Seth Godin recently wrote:
It’s almost impossible to persuade someone that he’s wrong. Almost impossible to make your argument louder and sharper and have the other person say, “I was wrong and I will change my mind.”
Far more effective: Help someone make a new decision, based on new alternatives and a new story.
Those of us who live in countries that are “over evangelized” realize that a new direction is needed. People are still facing a Christ-less eternity and have an aversion to being persuaded they need a Savior. What if we stopped being “salesmen” for Jesus and begin to be “event planners” for God.
Instead of trying to convince people they are wrong or believe the wrong things, invite people to journey with us and see if Jesus makes a different. At Shoal Creek we call this a Discovery Group. We invite people to read the Bible and discover what God says about life.
In a Discovery Group people are invited to read the Bible, obey what it says and share with their friends what they are learning. In an atmosphere of accountability and discovery people hear from God what He says about life. No selling, simple planning a time to read together and learn to obey and share what God is up to.
Like eating vegetables, the message of good news can be delivered in a significantly different way and might even be more effective.