Wanting to build a ship?

I like this maxim: 

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

It crops up in several variations and is often wrongly attributed to the great French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry1.

I tried to adapt this particular version to the presentation of the Christian Gospel2, and I’m afraid I’m about to tread on a few spiritual toes. I came up with the following: 

If you want to persuade people to follow Jesus:

  • don’t explain to them the ‘Four Spiritual Laws’
  • don’t tell them to ‘Read your Bible, pray every day’
  • don’t tell them to go to church.3

Instead, excite them with the prospect of being a member of Jesus’s family, here and now.

On further thought, it occurred to me: Isn’t that exactly what Jesus does when he keeps saying things like “Follow me” and “The Kingdom of God is like a…”?

What do you think? How would you formulate the slogan for evangelism?

1 The original text in Saint-Exupéry’s 1948 book “Citadelle” (“The Wisdom of the Sands”) is less poignant and tends to promote teamwork rather than vision.

2 Many attempts to explain the Christian Gospel are long and theological. Here’s one rather simple version.

3 I’m not suggesting these are wrong, just that they are not the way to win people for Jesus. They might be appropriate later on in their spiritual lives.

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