“Buy now while prices are low! This deal can’t last forever! The boss is out and he would “Pop His Top!” if he knew the deal we were giving you! Come in now and you’ll get a free latte with every purchase!”
This a typical sales pitch on radio and TV, and it works!
Heck, most have used a similar pitch for the gospel! It is a formula for sales; get them excited, show them the great deal they are getting and close the deal quick before they quit feeling. If they start to think, we might not close the deal!
They seem to have discovered the secret to winning souls at a low, low price!
When my wife and I were raising support as missionaries, I ran into a guy who was trying to be a good steward. He said “The organization we give to has a salvation ratio of a buck-a-soul!” This ministry would carry video equipment to show the Jesus Film. They would play it all over the world in remote villages. Then they would give a gospel message and individuals would respond.
He could give $1,000. Vavoom, a 1,000 souls! I couldn’t compete with that. My ratio has been thousands of dollars per soul. I’ve never calculated it, I don’t think I could.
I think you as I, are not convinced of the buck-a-soul ratio. A couple things to note: They don’t calculate the funds to pay evangelists to travel from their home to the destination and other overhead costs. But I can’t prove that.
I spoke to another individual recently. He touts a similar ratio. I know their calculation only includes the initial equipment cost and nothing else; cooking the books.
But here is the real issue. The gospel they preach is simplistic; believe in Jesus and you’ll be saved.
To most of us this sounds great; what is the problem?
It is like a business that cuts prices in desperation to make a sale. If a business is doing poorly it is tempting to reduce prices. In spite of these sales the business will collapse! It is also like a person who is starving themselves. The body begins to consume itself and is destroyed.
And the same destruction is being dealt upon the church.
With a motivation to see people respond to a gospel message, we have slashed prices on the gospel!
This is nearly universal but due to our paradigm we can’t see it.
The result has been, people believing they are forgiven when they aren’t. It works as a great inoculation against a Biblical Gospel. 200 million people now call themselves Christians in the United States. We know this number can’t be correct because if it were we would live in a virtual utopia! It isn’t the case but there has been a result. So many call His name but so few exemplify His life. Ever wonder why we are categorically called hypocrites? The institution is being destroyed!
Regularly I hear of such-and-such pastor and the great gospel he preaches. Then I go listen! The prices are slashed using the same old rhetoric. People respond and numbers are reported. “10 people were saved at such-and-such meeting!” The people rejoice!
How many people return to church? How many continue to the end? How many have a changed life? How many take up the cross? How many live the sacrificial life of love, consistent with salvation?
Few! Those who stay on get en-cultured into the modern American gospel and Christian-ism. At best, they produce a good church member and a descent family; rarely anything else!
Jesus only had 500 followers at His ministry’s termination. This was after three years of miracles, three years of preaching, and His resurrection! After His ascension and Pentecost a few thousand more were added. Paul didn’t have great number afterward.
The numbers given by ministries today are dubious! I’ve been told if you added up the conversions in India over the years we would have to determine the whole population is Christian and as a result Hinduism is dead. Obviously this is not the case.
Time always tells the real number, a small fraction of what is reported.
It feels good to report high numbers; validates the ministry and helps draw people and funds. There are quite a few immediate benefits.
If we quit slashing prices, state the costs and benefits of the Gospel, we will have fewer so called conversions. However, those who come are more likely to finish the race and produce 10, 20, and 100 fold! These are the real numbers.
Sorry to say, this approach will kill the buck-a-soul ratio!
Now read this again…it’s ominous!
“Buy now while prices are low! This deal can’t last forever! The boss is out and he would “Pop His Top!” if he knew the deal we were giving you!” What do you think?