Zig Ziglar says that every sale [of a product] overcomes five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. This list deserves our attention; witnessing involves selling the church and our Lord. The five barriers translate easily into five problems that every congregation has to solve. For the average congregation trying to sell the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their unchurched neighbors, Ziglar’s list is in a rising order of importance.
#5 Need: Even Plato was clear that an unexamined life [without philosophy] wasn’t worth living, and Buddhism, which opposes proselytizing, still holds that every sentient being needs enlightenment, but most Christians no longer believe that people need the Lord. Church leaders also have to consider what people need, as opposed to what we have always given them, in designing church programs.
#4 Money: To outsiders, churches look expensive and demanding. They fear that becoming involved will suck their time and money away. What has your church done to counter this misconception? What would Jesus did do to overcome this barrier?
#3 Urgency: Church people have forgotten how painful and confusing a secular lifestyle is. We lack a sense of urgency as we invite people to today trade in their slavery to sin for something far better.
#2 Desire: A close second, is our failure to make our faith look desirable. Jesus and the early church did not have this problem. They were infectious with their joy, loving in their actions, and confident with their hope of heaven.
#1 Trust: The number one reason most people do not buy the Gospel today is because they no longer trust religious institutions. Trust is earned through sincere contact, persistent communication, and being there when needed. It is lost when Christian fellowships look too much like businesses or institutions.