The Personal Experience Invitation
We like to think of ourselves as thorough beings. Faced with the decision to purchase something new, or advance in an unknown direction, we like to think that we will thoroughly research our options to determine the best choice. With the internet at our fingertips, a plethora of knowledge lies readily available, ready for your inquiry. Despite these tools, marketers continue to say that word of mouth remains one of the most effective methods. You cannot argue with personal experience, it seems.
We need not look far to realize this in action. When purchasing a product on Amazon, if you are deciding between different options you merely scroll through the reviews to read about what people have to say about their experience. Yelp can make or break a decision to dine based on an aggregated rating or a couple of negative reviews. You are more likely to buy something if a friend positively recommends it, and/or vice versa. Something about already having been through the experience increases one’s reliability index. And, we can seldom argue with personal experience, well, because it is personal.
When we read about the miracles of Jesus, one part of the story that comes across as “arrogant” or standoffish appears at the end, when the healed person longs to follow Jesus. Instead, Jesus sends the person away. The demon possessed man wanted to follow Jesus after Jesus restored his mind, but Jesus told him to tell what he had experienced. This narrative repeats itself in many other stories. 1 John 1 begins with “what we have heard, seen, and touched” regarding the Word of life…
Your chances of getting someone to accept your invitation increase with personal experience. Why? Your experience drives your authenticity and enthusiasm. Actors make millions of dollars per movie capturing the minor details of someone else’s character. The authenticity validates the hours of studying and observing. Sometimes we try to act out the value of our invitation. We hype something because it sounds good in theory, or because someone told you to. But when you have had a positive personal experience, it will shine through your rhetoric, mannerisms, and body language. Personal experience makes related invitations much easier.
Inviting someone to experience Jesus is most convincing when you have had a personal experience with Jesus. Before reaching out to someone else, have you let Jesus reach in to you?