A few years ago, my wife and I allowed a man to come present us with an "opportunity." I discovered that if I really cared about my family's health it would include my purchasing a vacuum cleaner that cost more than $2,000. Then he had to call to "report in" with his manager. After some obviously planned remarks that were more for my benefit than the manager's the salesman attempted to lower the cost for me to only $1,200.
When I refused, for what was probably the 10th time, things became obviously strained. He still had to spend 20 minutes cleaning up his cleaning machine. The whole time in this awkward silence with occaisional, equally awkward banter.
I learned a very important lesson that night. I don't want to be sold on something and pressured to buy it. I also learned I will never allow another salesman in my house. But, most importantly, I learned that people must feel the same way when we present the gospel to them.
I have read multiple resumes and ministry websites that say they did something with goal that it would reach the lost. When we carry that mentality over into our personal relationships it can have detrimental effects. If we befriend someone with the goal of presenting "salvation" to them, then we also have to deal with awkwardness of where to go in the relationship when they turn that offer down.
What if "getting them saved" was not the goal?
I know we desire that. As a true friend, you would want to share the deepest, most personal things about yourself with the other. But what if the goal was not to "get them saved," what if the goal was simply to love them the way God loves them and be a witness of how a normal human being lives in relationship with God. That changes how the goal is percieved.
If my goal is not to get them saved, I can be myself. I am also released from the pressure of being a salesman. If my goal is be a demonstration of God's love to them, they are probably more willing to listen to my understanding of Jesus and His impact on my life. When their salvation is the goal, we are nothing more than a salesperson. When being a demonstration of God's love is the goal, we can have authentic relationships.