We’ve all reached that point in sharing the gospel, when we’ve shot all of our bullets. All of the arguments and evidence that we’ve learnt and stored up to convince someone of the truth of the gospel have failed to bring them around. What do we do? Seth Godin recently blogged about how for many people in many situations, there is nothing that you can tell them that would change their mind.
He suggests that the solution is not more evidence. He gives the example of someone who thought the polio vaccine was bad. When he tried to convince the person with evidence, he met the reply of “that’s all faked, promoted by the pharma business.” Someone with an assumption of suspicion towards an idea or group, will always be able to interpret the evidence in such a way that confirms their assumptions.
So what do we do? We tell stories. Not just any old stories. They have to be stories from people who the persons trusts implicitly. And they have to be conversion stories. Telling how they came to move away from these unshakeable assumptions.
“What would change his mind, what would change the mind of many people resistant to evidence is a series of eager testimonials from other tribe members who have changed their minds. When people who are respected in a social or professional circle clearly and loudly proclaim that they’ve changed their minds, a ripple effect starts. First, peer pressure tries to repress these flip-flopping outliers. But if they persist in their new mindset, over time others may come along. Soon, the majority flips. It’s not easy or fast, but it happens.”
And this is what we are called to do in sharing the gospel. As an insider, as a scientist, or artist, or entrepreneur, or whatever we do, we are called to shake the anti-gospel assumptions that the world makes about how we should live and work in those arenas, by telling our story of how Jesus broke us out of those assumptions.