Travel Guides vs. Sales People


We are right in the middle of the holiday season with thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas in front of us. We have a ton of parties coming up and for many of us that means gathering with family and friends that don’t know Jesus.

If you are anything like me I want to see them know Jesus and that can bring a lot of pressure to perform or make things happen.

I want to be on my best behavior, say the right thing, and be bold in the right moment.

But this pressure that I often feel leads me to have more of a sales person mentality and I don’t like how that comes across.

Pushy, pressuring, up tight and a low view God’s sovereignty in the situation.

But Rick Richardson in his book “Reimagining Evangelism” gives us another way

The Travel Guide

If evangelism means, “communicating or announcing good news” then Rick urges us to see our selves as,

“Travel guides on a spiritual journey rather than traveling sales people on a call.”

Here are seven ways he suggests making the shift

Collaboration versus activism

What if we took the holy spirit more seriously and actually set out to partner with him and look for clues about the way He is working in our friends and family and then collaborated with that? What if we didn’t have to act like it was all up to us and just make it happen? Evangelism can become an adventure in detection.

Community versus Individual

God is much more interested in raising up witnessing communities than individuals and today more than ever people are looking for places to belong before they believe. Have you ever thought about what a community of witness can look like versus it being all up to you? Of course individual witness is important, but how much more community witness?

Friendship versus Agenda

Instead of coming with an agenda and downloading content onto people (bridge diagram, four laws, romans road, 4 circles) what if we actually built genuine friendships with people not following Jesus and let conversation blossom out of those relationships. What if we focused more on getting to authentic conversation about faith instead of just getting to the “close”?

Story versus Dogma

People today are much more concerned with experiential truth and knowing if God “works for them” than they are concerned with the right answer or what is a “correct belief”. This doesn’t mean we don’t talk theology and truth with them, but maybe we don’t start there. What if we told the story of the gospel really well? What if we told our stories really well? What if you could do that in normal conversation? You can!

The outside the box Jesus versus the cliché Jesus

Christians today are so good at bring up Jesus in every situation that pops up. Many of our friends actually make fun of Christians because of the so many cliché things we say to people in discussion. Rick here urges us to look for ways to let Jesus come up more naturally in conversation so that He surprises them. Often times this is presenting a Jesus that looks a lot different to them than they realized or expected.

The good news about God’s Kingdom versus the good news about afterlife

So much of our evangelism focuses on being forgiven for sins so you can go to Heaven when you die. Absolutely that is part of it, but that is not what Jesus came to talk about. He came to talk about and show us the kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God comes to set things right and to help people act and live as things should be. What if we communicated a gospel that was more focused on how God could put things together now versus only talking about where you would go when you die.

Journey versus Event

Many models of conversion lead us to talk about who is in and who is out. But what if we were to focus more on people moving closer to Jesus or further away. What if we weren’t so concerned with closing the deal and getting people saved, but helping people continually move closer to Jesus? Where crossing the line of faith is one of those steps but not the only one.  How would our friends and family feel then?

This book is one of my absolute favorites and Rick is a personal friend and mentor to me. I cannot recommend this book enough and I give it to all my student leaders on campus. It is just such a great book in re-orienting us to proper evangelism and connecting us to the partnership of the Holy Sprit.

I am going to give away a free copy here because this book is just so good!

Comment below and tell us which one of these points speaks to you most and why.

I will pick a winner in the next few days!

About Beau Crosetto

Beau is the author of "Beyond Awkward: when talking about Jesus is outside your comfort zone". He is called by God is to raise up and release people that want to start new ministries (apostolic) as well as people that want to share their faith (evangelists). He currently is the Greater Los Angeles Director for Greek InterVarsity and in charge of specifically seeing new Greek (fraternity & sorority) InterVarsity chapters start on college campuses. Beau is married to Kristina and they have three kids: Noah (7), Sophia (5) and Wesley (3).


  1. I relate to the first point: collaboration. I experienced something much like this when I was a missionary in Wales. A neighbor who’d been a recluse for 12 years due to depression invited my wife and I to her home. When we entered the house, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit strongly. I wasn’t charismatic, but it was unmistakeable. I remember having a personal theological crisis at that moment, thinking to myself, ‘Hey, I’m the missionary. I BRING this. This shouldn’t be here until after she gets saved.’ Nonetheless God taught me that He’d been working on this woman for many years and that she’d been seeking him through an Al-Anon prayer book for years. In the end, I learned a lesson a lot like the one that Peter learned when Cornelius began to speak in tongues before he’d even been baptized…God just wanted me to be included in what he was already doing. Thanks for the article Beau. The book looks great.

  2. I think the community vs individual part is essential if we want to see people truly changed by the gospel. Personal evangelism is great but if we don’t get people connected to community as part of the strategy then the impact will be limited. Great tips!

  3. I enjoyed the Kingdom of God vs. the afterlife point the most. Growing up, all we talked about was going to heaven. But when I started studying the Bible with Intervarsity in college, I began to understand that the Kingdom of God, the thing that Jesus talked about all the time, was not heaven, but something completely different. It makes my faith so much less a rewards based faith, and more of a missionary, sending-out-the-72 type of faith.

  4. I’d love to focus more on The outside the box Jesus versus the cliché Jesus. I love to see people’s eyes open when they discover a Jesus who’d actually sit and chat with people and didn’t have a booklet in hand to guide him in doing so! Everything Jesus did was outside the box- and that’s where I want to live as well.

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