The Hurdle of Message Overload

The experiment done outside a London subway station shows one huge hurdle we face in sharing the gospel. That hurdle is message overload.

Session One of the Christianity Explored DVD describes a study done by a London newspaper. They had a man stand outside the busy Oxford Circus subway station in downtown London handing people a leaflet with the free offer £5 (a little more than 8 US dollars). All they had to do to get the money was to bring to the leaflet back to the man and he would hand them £5 on the spot, no questions asked.

In the three hours the man stood handing out the leaflets, hundreds of people passed by. In those three hours, only eleven people returned to redeem the offer of £5. An offer of free money, and only 11 people accepted. Why?

1174716_13901424One explanation is message overload. We all face it everyday. In a given day, how many TV advertisements, email messages, telemarketing calls, direct mail offers, Facebook ads, billboards, and other appeals seek to gain your attention? Is it hundreds, maybe thousands? By necessity, we have all learned to filter out most of the messages we receive. Is it any wonder that people filter out the gospel message, too?

That’s why the slow and patient work of building relationships is so important to sharing the gospel. We are much more open to receiving messages from a friend. This is also why personal invitations are the best approach for inviting someone to a Christianity Explored course.

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