Evangelism: Eternal Life, Forgiveness, and Operating Systems


A little known story: When I was writing Selling the Dream—How to Promote Your Product, Company, or Idea—and Make a Difference Using Everyday Evangelism, I attended the Billy Graham School of Evangelism to learn from the best. It was a very interesting experience. Some of the finest speakers that I’ve seen (and tried to copy) were on a pulpit—not an operating system or music-player pulpit—but a church pulpit.

Fast forward a few years: I am on the board of directors of a para-church organization called Hawaiian Islands Ministries. Its mantra (if I can help it, no organization that I’m affiliated with has a mission statement) is to “train the trainers”— that is, pastors, ministers, deacons, elders, etc. Twice a year it runs a conference featuring some of the best Christian speakers. If you like to watch and hear the sessions from this Fall’s conference, click here. For example, streaming video is available of these sessions:

  • Bill Hybels: “Give God Glory in Our Leadership.”
    Founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek, Bill is well known for his relevant and insightful Bible-based teaching. He is the author of seventeen books, including Rediscovering Church and Fit to Be Tied (co-authored with his wife Lynne), Too Busy Not to Pray, Becoming a Contagious Christian (with Mark Mittelberg), and The God You’re Looking For. He is chairman of the Willow Creek Association’s board of directors. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College.

  • Juan Carlos Ortiz: “Supernatural Experiences Are For Today.” Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Carlos was ordained in the Christian Assemblies of Argentina and is presently a minister in the Reformed Church in America. His vast experience in discipleship and small groups has taken him to conventions, congresses, universities, seminaries and churches on five continents. He has founded six churches, was professor at Instituto Biblico Rio de la Plata in Argentina, and at present is professor at the Robert Schuller School of Preaching in Los Angeles, CA. Pastor Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, Juan Carlos’s world renown books include Discipleship, Call to Discipleship, and God Is Closer Than You Think.

  • Francis Chan: “Give God Glory in Our Calling.” Francis is pastor of Cornerstone Church and president of Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley. He is a highly sought after and gifted speaker, engaging adults and youth throughout the U.S. and challenging them to deeper commitment. He can be heard on his radio program “Truth Be Known”. Francis has a great sense of humor, a genuine love for Christ and a commitment to teach straight from the Word of God. Francis and his wife Lisa have been married for twelve years and have four children. He is a graduate of The Master’s College and Seminary.

  • Brenda Salter McNeil: “Give God Glory in Our Relationships.”
    Brenda is a gifted communicator who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the area of racial and ethnic reconciliation. She is founder of Overflow Ministries, a nonprofit, faith based organization devoted to the ministry of racial reconciliation. She continues this work through Salter McNeil & Associates, LLC, a racial and ethnic reconciliation training, consulting and leadership development company based in Chicago. She earned an M. Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary and a D. Min. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

  • Dan Chun. Dan is president of Hawaiian Islands Ministries (HIM), which he founded with his wife Pam in 1983. He has been senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu since 1994. Prior to that he was associate pastor with singles at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church from 1985 to 1992. Born and raised in Hawaii, Dan left an early career in television broadcast journalism with the Honolulu, Hawaii CBS affiliate KGMB-TV to commit to full-time Christian ministry. Dan has been a speaker at national Promise Keepers stadium events and is passionate about bringing revival to the Bay Area and Hawaii by uniting the Church of Jesus Christ through equipping church leaders.

Even if you’re not a Christian, you should watch these sessions out as examples of great speaking and evangelism although this isn’t a fair comparison because eternal life and forgiveness are far better products than most operating systems. 🙂

By |2015-03-18T08:09:08+00:00December 18th, 2006|Categories: Books, Cool Stuff, Events|Tags: |42 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. Peter Holloway December 19, 2006 at 1:58 am - Reply

    Hi Guy,
    I’ve been ‘lurking’ for some time, but just had to say thanks for this item. I’ve long been of the opinion that Christian preachers are some of the best communicators (I know some real bores too, though). Although I can’t ignore the power of the content of what preachers say, there is also the passion caused by their belief.
    Original evangelism is literally ‘out of this world’, but it’s great to see someone acknowledging the gifts and talent out there in the Christian community:)

  2. sonshi December 19, 2006 at 3:36 am - Reply

    These guys may be able to talk but what about the actions that back it?

  3. Shefaly Yogendra December 19, 2006 at 3:55 am - Reply

    I wonder what Richard Dawkins and Dick Taverne make of this post…

  4. Kimber December 19, 2006 at 4:48 am - Reply

    I think that most religions do a bang up job of both sales and marketing. Look at how the Hare Krishnas effectively use the reciprocity norm. Mind blowing. Businesses can learn a thing or two from them.

  5. Richard December 19, 2006 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Thanks for these. Any chance they can be made available for offline use on an MP3 player? I’m much more likely to watch/listen to them that way than at my computer.
    Try this site:

  6. Tom Mayo December 19, 2006 at 6:17 am - Reply

    I think we could all guess what Dawkins would say, he’s kind of a ‘one-note samba’ in the greater God debate. Not to detract from the brilliance of Dawkins’ writings, but he couldn’t countenance agreement with Stephen Jay Gould, and they had WAY more in common than Guy and Richard do…
    But I think your point is: It is interesting to see a person as visible as Guy have the courage to voice (and support) his beliefs publicly. Too many people are not that strong when it comes to religion, whatever that may be, in this Valley.
    Kudos Guy! As a fan for many years, I find new reasons to reaffirm my opinions in this blog daily.

  7. Mark Dalrymple December 19, 2006 at 6:26 am - Reply

    although eternal life and forgiveness are better than most operating systems.
    Uh oh. I think I know what Microsoft will be promising for Vista TNG.

  8. Steven G. Harms December 19, 2006 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Everyone deserves to see Cisco CEO John Chambers speak in person once in their life.
    This is a man who has truly mastered the evangelical pitch.
    As much as Jobs is able to make you want to wear mock-turtle neck and pay attention to details, Chambers uniquely captures your imagination and makes you think that a stream of bits running through boxes he’ll sell you can truly change the world.
    I once talked to an exec at Cisco who had worked at Apple 83-88 and she said: “I’ve been lucky, I’ve gotten to work at two companies that changed the world.”
    Yay Kawasaki-blog readers!

  9. Doug Karr December 19, 2006 at 8:05 am - Reply

    On the reverse side, we surely see the consequences of not accurately training the trainers when it comes to religion!

  10. briang December 19, 2006 at 8:48 am - Reply

    I think it is an abuse of power to evangelize delusions. How do we reign in the power of great speakers? How do we know they speak the truth? Does religion need to be sold like an Apple computer? If God exists, He would be easy to believe in. I turn my head when I am being preached at. I have to avert my eyes to be able to think clearly and seek the truth. Marketing has become a war to out gun Marketing. The noise floor is rising higher and higher obscuring the signal. More and more dollars are invested in getting the attention of consumers instead of providing quality products. I talk to people who are “brand aware”, “Born again” and I wonder why they gave up thinking. Perhaps they got too tired looking for truth in the landfill of advertisements.

  11. Matt Singley December 19, 2006 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Like Mr. Holloway above, I’ve been a lurker too. I definately enjoy your posts, I learn a lot from them.
    It’s fascinating that you attended the Billy Graham school, I think that’s a brilliant move. Thanks for the links on this post, I wasn’t familiar with “HIM” until you wrote about this. I’ll go watch the videos now…

  12. tony sheng December 19, 2006 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Long time lurker here too – but always loving your posts.
    Another blogger turned me on to Francis Chan a few months ago. Amazing speaker – he flicked dollar bills at people in the audience and said, “See, you don’t care because it’s only a dollar,” illustrating affluence and an unrealistic worldview.
    Cool stuff.

  13. Phillip Chen December 19, 2006 at 9:58 am - Reply

    To add to your list of great speakers from the pulpit: Andy Stanley (pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta) and Louie Giglio.
    I also had the chance of listening to two other great speakers at North Point, Judy Reamer (a Jewish Christian…yes, it may sound like an oxymoron, but listen to her story below) and Ashfin Ziafat (a fomer Muslim turned Christian).
    Andy (first few minutes is a skit)
    Judy’s Story http://www.northpointministries.org/stream.jsp?mediaItemID=1658
    Ashfin’s Story

  14. john erickson December 19, 2006 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Guy asked about downloadable audio of evangelists; many great preachers, from classic to current and from different background, can be heard via stream or MP3 at: http://www.sermonaudio.com/main.asp
    I’ve enjoyed and learned from Guy’s writings since the 1980’s! Thanks!!

  15. nate December 19, 2006 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Now, that’s edgy!
    A business blog talking about Christian stuff. I know you’ll get a lot of “kudos” comments (as is already evident), so I’m not going to join the crowd.
    But, extending the point you’re making, you’ve been one of the only people I’ve seen who manages to promote excellence inside the “Christian world”. It’s hard to do. Not just because finding excellence inside of the “Christian world” is difficult, but because you’re a business guy. And successful business guys typically separate church and business as much as possible.
    You’re the first I’ve seen willing to take up the challenge (and most likely win). And for that, “kudos”!

  16. Jon Holmes December 19, 2006 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I think we see in Guy the manifestation of a person that takes life as a whole as a living vocation. We also see in him the ability to harness the ancient and sacred and present it as global and tangible, ultimately revealing evangelism as an artform of the heart.

  17. Roy December 19, 2006 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I guess more than a few lurkers are revealing themselves from this post. Thanks for giving light to these really great pastor/speakers. Another great teacher is the director of “Alpha US” Todd Hunter: he’s given some of the most practical and inspiring talks on leadership that I’ve heard.

  18. Ryan Mapes December 19, 2006 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Excellent post Guy! I was just having a conversation the other day with several entrepreneurs that pointed out the lack of mention of personal faith by other prominent entrepreneurs in the US. It seems that too many of them would choose to shy away from this controversial topic. It’s refreshing to see somebody like yourself that’s willing to “put your neck on the line” for something you passionately believe in.

  19. Jerry December 19, 2006 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Great post about what it means to be a great communicator.

  20. Kevin Schiess December 19, 2006 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks Guy,
    One of the toughest things to do is to mix religion and business. However, I find this somewhat strange because what makes Guy Guy and Kevin Kevin is due to our beliefs. Our core values and beliefs are paramount to our success and unfortunately we often don’t go there all in the name of being politically correct. The leadership role is very lonely. Thanks for having the courage to cross the boundaries.
    Another great speaker that you need to listne to is President Gorden B. Hinckley. You can see his archives on www.lds.org

  21. Joy December 19, 2006 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Press on!

  22. Question Everything December 19, 2006 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki On Mission Statements In Ministry

    Guy Kawasaki:
    Its mantra (if I can help it, no organization that I’m affiliated with has a mission statement) is to “train the trainers”— that is, pastors, ministers, deacons, elders, etc. Twice a year it runs a conference featuring some of the…

  23. Pam Chun December 19, 2006 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    One of our great privileges is having had Guy on the HIM board for several rounds since the early 90s. Guy talks the talk, and he walks it, too – no shitake. Love the remarks about outstanding Christian speakers. We’ve had Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Tony Campolo, Beth Moore, Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, Tony Evans, Paul Sheppard, and Guy himself. Far away some of the best communicators in any field. Next March: Patrick Lencioni. As for the streaming, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

  24. Tutusaurus December 19, 2006 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Guy!
    I’m a big fan of yours and really appreciate cross-pollination. Keep it up! And the HIM site is excellent.

  25. Duncan Freeman December 19, 2006 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Hi Guy:
    It goes without saying [but I’m going to say it anyway] – you are an extraordinary human, and this world is indeed a better place with you in it! I too would like to say thanks for this refreshing post. I’m a sucker when it comes to conversations about the ineffable 🙂
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas, Duncan

  26. Kurt Witt December 19, 2006 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve head the pleasure to watch & listen to Rick Warren (Saddleback Church/Purpose Driven Life author) speak the same message over 6 services (I’m a musician on stage). Never once have I ever seen him ‘mail it in’. Being able to give the same message again and again yet sound fresh and unique is an amazing gift that sets speakers like Rick apart.

  27. DanielD December 19, 2006 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Hey Guy. Great post. Two things…
    1. Are you familiar with New Hope Church in Honolulu? Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. I saw him speak at a Willow Creek event… amazing.
    2. Wondering if you have always felt called by ministry to some degree or if this is something you are feeling moved more towards lately?
    I love that there seems to be a cultural shift happening that is bringing spirit back to work and helping people better realize their whole self… rather that an attempt at a “Politically Correct” segmented self that tries to seperate work from spirit.

  28. Tom Masiero December 20, 2006 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Hi Guy,
    Very excited to see a person in your position that sees the big picture. I think that you give the VC and Entrepreneur community a good name. Because it is hard to live by a set of principles in life when many don’t to there advantage. Way to overcome!
    God Bless,

  29. Trevor Sumner December 20, 2006 at 11:36 am - Reply

    What I found interesting is the ways in which faith based organizations are using video over the web to extend their reach. My company, Narrowstep, helps people launch such video stations over the web including The Vatican, God TV, Faithglobe and others. it’s a tremendous opportunity to extend yourself out to your community.
    Any chance Hawaiian islands ministries is looking to do the same?

  30. Strategy Central December 20, 2006 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Check Out Guy Kawasaki’s Blog!

    I don’t know if you know about Guy Kawasaki or not, but you really should. He’s written some of my favorite books (The Art of the Start and Selling the Dream). He’s also got a great blog, no matter what

  31. Morgan Ramsay December 20, 2006 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    briang: Everyone has their beliefs, and everyone has their delusions, whether those beliefs are in what they’re selling or those delusions concern their chances of success.
    It’s not wrong to evangelize your beliefs, delusional or otherwise. You only cross the line when you violate the rights of others to do it.

  32. NJG from NYC December 21, 2006 at 10:50 am - Reply

    As a Jew, one of the things I find the most bewildering about Christianity is the need to evangelize. If your faith is so fantastic, it shouldn’t need to be branded and sold like a tube of toothpaste.

  33. Bob Brown December 23, 2006 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    I have yet to meet an outgoing person with firm beliefs who does not evangelize. Whether they are an evangelical Christian or a pure secularist.
    Dawkins sells that there is no God and many secularists sell that religion should have no place in discussions. Political activists are just evangelists on a different topic.
    Effective Christian preachers are great communicators. Yes, some can be slimebags in a suit, but power of any type attracts that kind of person.
    George Whitefield (18th century revivalist during the Great Awakening) was such a great communicator that it was said that he could bring tears to your eyes simply by saying “Mesopotamia.”

  34. The Open Source Ministry Blog December 23, 2006 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Guy Kawasaki looks at Evangelists

    Guy Kawasaki is an evangelist. I know this because he said it himself. While he worked for Apple in the late 90s his job was to was to maintain and rejuvenate the Macintosh cult (see the link above).
    Guy Kamasaki is also involved i…

  35. Daniel Thanos December 24, 2006 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Hey Guy,
    I just got Art of the Start as a Christmas gift. After reading this posting, I think I shall appreciate the book and thinking behind it even more. I certainly believe that the Gospels can never be out marketed 😉 But I do know if one can live by their ideals and apply them to their entrepreneurial passions, then you win no matter what.
    God richly bless you and your family.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  36. Justin December 26, 2006 at 12:46 am - Reply

    In perfect web 2.0 style and in the age of the personal “brand-building,” I think I just became a bigger fan of Guy because of this post. By sharing your world (who you have looked to in your training and some of your personal affiliations) you have made yourself more real, more approachable and much more accessible. The brand of Kawasaki has grown because of this post. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Brian Sooy December 26, 2006 at 5:38 am - Reply

    In Ohio, we only dream of sunny ministry opposrtunities (like in Hawaii or California), but any businessman who is also a Christian should definitely read these books by our local business leader John Beckett:
    Faith and business DO go together!

  38. + mzungu's weblog + December 29, 2006 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Notiz: Guy Kawasaki

    Guy Kawasaki schreibt in seinem Blog ber Evangelism: Eternal Life, Forgiveness, and Operating Systems. Dabei nimmt er Bezug auf eine Konferenz der Hawaiian Islands Ministries und empfiehlt die Vortrge (u.a. von Bill Hybels) sich anzuh&#2…

  39. Jonghee Jo January 2, 2007 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Really impressed by this post. Thanks Guy.

  40. Legacy Dad January 9, 2007 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Great Post from Guy Kawasaki’s Blog

    Evangelism: Eternal Life, Forgiveness, and Operating Systems A little known story: When I was writing Selling the Dream—How to Promote Your Product, Company, or Idea—and Make a Difference Using Everyday Evangelism, I attended the Billy Graham School of…

  41. The Dream Factory February 16, 2007 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    New Friends

    My young friend, one of the most competent, intelligent, and enthusiastic young ladies I know, told me that she could not sell. My first thought was, Fooey! You could sell pain in a surgical ward. My next thought was Good!

  42. Tom Sims February 16, 2007 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Guy, the notion that there is a wall of separation between the skills necessary for business and ministry creates an unnecessary hindrance to the process of both sphere learning from the other. You break down that wall skillfully and with integrity. Integrity is about integrating the dimensions of our lives and I appreciate what you do here with shame or reluctance. – Tom Sims

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