Monday, June 2, 2014

What Can Sales Teach Us About Evangelization?

Looking at this list of sales statistics a few thoughts jumped to mind.

Our popes, for the last fifty years, have been calling us lay Catholics to evangelize the world. One noted Catholic blogger, Dr. Taylor Marshall, pointed out that there are 1 billion Catholics in a world of 6 billion people. If each of us brought just 6 new people into Christ's Church, we'd convert the world. Sadly, most Catholics are not concerned with getting the hard work of the New Evangelization done. A large percentage of American "Catholics" don't even manage to make it to Mass each Sunday, showing they are more apt to be evangelized than to do the evangelizing. Another segment attends Mass weekly, aiming to skate by doing the bare minimum. Some fired-up Catholics want to be more engaged, but dissipate their energies in the Sanctuary distributing communion or reading the Scriptures (jobs that could be done by a priest or deacon) instead on focusing on converting their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors.

For those Catholics left who really want to set the world afire for Christ, we are left wondering exactly how to accomplish the task? Ought we to bang on doors in the style of the Mormons? Maybe we need to done sandwich signs proclaiming the end of the world. Or are we better off engaging non-Catholics in apologetic arguments over creed, code, and cult?

I immediately thought of all this when I saw the above sales graphic, which, I think applies just as well to evangelization as it does to selling a widgit. Perhaps, these sales stats give us the answer. Maybe, the best way of making disciples for Christ, is to continue to make contact, time and again, with "prospective Catholics" (that is, maybe, a better way of seeing non-Catholics). Building real relationships with them, real friendships with them, so that we can introduce them to Jesus Christ, who seeks to call all men His friends (cf. John 15:15)

Which leads to the question, just how many contacts might it take to make a "prospective Catholic" into an "actual Catholic"? If sales stats can teach us anything here, it seems it might be as many as five to twelve. The challenge of the New Evangelization, then, is to make our "pitch" for Christ multiple times without seeming pushy, without getting argumentative, but with great kindness and joy inviting these non-Catholics to enter into the mystery of life with Christ in His one holy Church. Don't be one of the people who give up too early to make a new disciple for Christ. We Catholics have something much more valuable than anything offered by any salesman, the words of eternal life.

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