How can we be more persuasive?

It’s weird to think about persuasion, right?

I think of con men, used car sales, and online scams.

But part of what Christians are called to do is persuade others, right?

For instance, Jude starts off his letter by saying,

Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.

Or remember how Luke begins?

Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. So it also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.

But how?

Arthur Brooks, a professor at both Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, explores this topic in a recent piece for The Atlantic.

Here’s the line that grabbed my attention (emphasis added):

I have known quite a few religious missionaries, who tend to be cheerful despite facing almost constant rejection of their closest-held values. As one told me once, “No one ever said, ‘Great news: There are missionaries on the porch.’” What explains this apparent dissonance? The answer is that effective missionaries present their beliefs as a gift. And sharing a gift is a joyful act, even if not everyone wants it.

Got it? If we want to be persuasive, we have to share our beliefs as a gift to others.

Well… how is this possible?

It’s interesting, but this is often overlooked. Here’s the big secret: We first have to experience our relationship with God as a gift.

If that isn’t our own experience, there won’t be integrity, authenticity, and sustainability in giving others the opportunity to hear about Jesus.

So often, religious institutions can give us a different feeling about faith. It is a lot of work! We’re not doing a good job and need to try harder. The deadly trio of guilt, shame, and fear.

Reflection and discussion questions:

  1. What reminds you that knowing God is a gift?

  2. How do you cultivate gratitude for what God has done for you?

  3. Do you feel that sharing your beliefs with others is giving them a gift?


I believe that evangelism must be a natural outflow of what God is already doing in our heart. I think that happens when we experience the richness of God’s salvation. That said, it would be good to hear how people have experienced joy in the Lord.

One way I have noticed the gospel as a gift is that it assures the steadfast acceptance and ultimate deliverance already promised by our God through every trial in life. I have a friend who has four members in her family who have severe mental health issues and disability. She is the only one who is actually able to work and runs the household. How does one cope when there are long term problems except by faith in God? Its unbelievable to see the compassion she has for others who are in lesser need than her, though she had every opportunity to get bitter at God. When she speaks of God, she speaks with conviction as she has seen how God carried her through. She is persuasive because of her personal experience with the Lord.

Cultivating gratitude is so key! Following Jesus has costed me some relationships, some estrangement from old friends and family. There is always a choice before me - count the cost of lost connections or focus on gratitude for the treasures in heaven and the eternal life yet to be revealed! Gratitude is up to me! Its a choice!

I think its a gift for those being introduced to the gospel. They dont see it that way though, because we differ in how we perceive our need for a savior. How do you persuade someone to follow Jesus when it carries a cost in this life? How do you persuade someone about eternity when their focus is only the physical and material? Would love to learn!

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