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The Used Car Salesman

By Neal Stone ~

From about age 12 to around age 33, I attended church. I attended a strict Baptist church that focused a lot on “Soul Winning”, as in going door-to-door annoying… ahem… sharing your faith with others who were so eager and overjoyed to open that door at 7pm, while you were in the middle of not being annoyed, and seeing those wonderful suit clad strangely happy guys with Bible in hand or New Testaments conveniently hidden in an attempt to hide the reason you were there… poorly. They often have no time to jump around the issue and dive right into why they are there.

When I did the door knocking stint, I was surprised at how many pretended to get “saved” just to get these guys off their porch. It was obvious, at least to me, but not to the guy who ran back and bragged how he got one. In fact, not many had much success each time we got back and reported in our results. Most of the time the results were exaggerated followed by a lot of patting on the back.

Often one is a newbie, and the other is experienced, the latter doing all the talking. Always target your question to the other guy who has no idea how to answer your questions because he is new. Make it awkward! Bonus points if he is a new Christian and you cause him to doubt his conversion and new religion. 😁

I had every class you could imagine on soul winning and all the techniques used. Oddly, they never gave a seminary style in depth class in Christianity and The Bible, especially the origins of it all. Hmmmm.

Now I can deal with these door-to-door guys pretty easily because I already know why they are there regardless of how well they try to hide it. Just ignore them or answer the door naked. Either way, they’re leaving!

It’s the covert operators I can’t stand. Imagine you go to a car lot, new or used, and you’re looking around. Often the salesmen will wait for a bit before approaching you. They often watch for a minute to see what you look at and then approach you to “assist” you. They want to learn as much about you as possible, so they know how to present themselves and gain your interest.

It happens often, you are at the park, the grocery store, a restaurant or at a friend’s house and there is that one person who has locked in on you and is watching you ever so closely to figure out how to approach you because “God has laid it on his heart” to talk to you. Yeah, sure buddy!

We will take on the friend visit for an example. You go over the visit and they are having a BBQ or something and as you are there hanging out, someone off in the distance or even close by has locked in on you. Watching you closely and listening to everything you say.

As you are talking to your friend you happen to mention a book you just read or a song you like. Then you hear it, “So you like to read? So, you like music?” and you look over and there is Mr. Fake Interest intently focused on you with a smug condescending grin. He will sit there with a big cheesy grin and look right up at you. He will then start asking leading questions which eventually will turn to God or salvation.

I can deal with these door-to-door guys pretty easily. [...] Just ignore them or answer the door naked.He is attempting to get that hook in you and show you he is interested in you and whatever you are doing. This is to get you to open up, share more and let your guard down. By showing fake interest in you he is hoping you will open up and be comfortable in talking to him. Let’s face it, we all have things we do we may like to share and brag about. Photography for example and am always happy to show off my work. It’s a trap!

Once your guard is down, he has you and he will move into somehow taking your interest and use it to wedge God, salvation, being saved or whatever he can into the conversation. You will be in front of friends or even family, so you’re stuck now having to deal with him in front of these people and he knows it.

It’s all fake! They are never really interested to begin with, it’s just a tactic to pull you in and sucker punch you with religion. But be warned, if any of your skill sets are useful to their church, they will hold that interest long enough to let you know how you can help spread the word and how they think it is “God’s Will” to join their church. After all, that is (in their eyes) the very reason you just happen to meet. It was God leading you to them so you can serve their church and agenda.

Yeah, it was all part of God’s plan. NOPE! It’s like fishing on a charter boat, you throw out a bunch of hooks and snag whoever bites it. It is nothing more than random chance that you happen to meet this person and there is no divine intervention here, just some guy exploiting the opportunity and gas lighting you into thinking you were meant to meet.

I hate these guys! The fake interest, the fake smile and way they watch you intently looking for an angle. But I also know how to deal with them, let them know up front I am NOT interested. I can politely chat with them, then excuse myself and move on. Oh, they will keep trying, but I can play the game too. This fish knows how to avoid the hooks.

Show lack of interest in them, avoid them, or hit them with those uncomfortable questions about why certain things happen or ask them to clearly explain a difficult question. “What was Jesus/God doing when my step-dad abused me as a child?”

Either way, I am not biting that hook. Did once and it stung!

One of my biggest pet peeves is the single person who flirts and shows interest then once you join, they move on and act like they never were interested. Either way, that is how it lays out, once you join their church or show up, there is interest for a while, but then they move on to their next target. Often you will be directed to a class or Bible study where someone else takes over.

Eventually you are forgotten and their interest fades once they have gotten what they need out of you. Now if you end up serving the church and really getting involved, they are happy to stick around so they can brag how God “lead” you to them.

But mostly you won’t hear much from them after they have done what they needed to do. It’s like a used car lot where they have a constant turnover of their product. Stay with any church for a decade and you will see the crowd change. There will be the die-hards that stick around, but a lot will quit or move on. The die-hards only stick around because they are either in charge or are still popular, it’s all about ego.

It’s nothing more than sales and marketing.

I am not for sale!