Good evangelism or Scam?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Hi all,

    I am have attended IFB churches my whole life. I have seen some dusies, but this one was an interesting one.

    We have recently moved to a new area and have been trying out different churches. This IFB church we are attending is a good church overall.

    But they did something on fathers day that I thought was a disgrace to the name of Christ, all in effort to get numbers.

    They put a on their church sign for Father's day that all fathers who come will receive a free gift.

    You know what the gift was? It was a photocopied piece of paper with a poem about fathers you got on the way out the door. To me, this is as bad as Christians who leave a track at a resterant with a bad tip(for instance the tip should be $5.00 and you leave a $1.00 with a track).

    I think many IFB churches start out with good intentions, to win people to Christ, but don't realize they are coming up with scams to just to get people in the door and they somehow justify in their minds.

    The other thing I noticed about this numbers centered church was what they did at the end of their VBS. On the last day they handed our awards to the kids. In almost every VBS I have ever seen they give awards for attendance(did you come faithfully to all 5 days), awards for scripture memorization, and awards for those kids who bring the most visitors.

    This church only gave awards to the top people who brought visitors. What does this teach the kids? It teaches them that scripture memorization means nothing, and neither does faithfulness to services. Only bringing people in no matter how you do it.

    I am curious what you guys think.

    IFBReformer
     
  2. Johnv

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    I don't have a problem with a "free gift for visitors", but if you're going to do that, don't be misleading. My cousin's church has a reception for new visitors following every Sunday service, there they get free coffee or juice, a religious based jewelry item (women) or keychain (men), and a small book about their denomination and beliefs. Church elders are there to answer any questions. Some visitors are out-of-towners on visit, and some are first timers who have never set foot in a church before.
     
  3. amixedupmom

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    My children went to a IFB VBS recently. They fgot awards for attendance, memorization and so on.

    This Fathers day thing your speaking of. Sounds like they were trying to get people in the door, and then Dazzle them with a sermon. IF you don't agree. Don't go back. It's the best advice I can offer you [​IMG]

    Good luck in finding your Church
     
  4. Pastor_Bob

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    I'll tell you something else that is a disgrace to the name of Christ - a child of God judging the motives of a church and pastor.

    I've got a poem hanging on the wall of my office entitled My Little Boys Dad.

    I've given away many Father's Day gifts over the years. I've received many as well. None of them can compare to the impact that this one peom has made on the way I have raised my four children.

    It is not the cost of the gift that matters, it is the value of the gift.
     
  5. amixedupmom

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    I don't think he was judging I think he was giving his honest opinion. :-S
     
  6. Pastor_Bob

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    What is the difference?
     
  7. HappyG

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    IfbReformer,

    Have you ever been a part of a church where you couldn't wait to get there because the worship was so awesome and the pastor's sermon would feed you and prepare you for the week ahead in such a way that you just didn't want to miss it. And if you missed it, you were bummed out about it. And in fact,you wanted to invite your friends not because you were getting a prize at the door or because you were getting an award for performing some spiritual task, but because you loved what God was doing in your heart and in the hearts of the people around you and you wanted God to do the same in their heart. I have been a part of that.

    I also have been a part of a church where they chose to motivate people by "recognition" and awards.

    Needless to say one church is growing and flourishing and impacting an entire secular metropolitan area. The other one isn't really making much of a difference in the community. I'll let you determine which one is doing what.

    I don't think it is wrong to motivate people with a door prize. But if you motivate people and get people in your church via "bribery" you just might have to keep em there via "bribery."

    If you motivate and get people there because of what God is doing and it is exciting to be a part of that. Well...it isn't a problem to keep em there for the same reasons.

    Just a few thoughts on the matter...
     
  8. Molly

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    I don't think a church should be *bribing* people to come...a gift is fine,though...if a church has people come because of the gifts,programs,etc then you will have to *keep* them there with similar forms of pragmatism. Our church does give a book from time to time on special occassions to the members of the church. Its purpose is to help that person spiritually...to equip them through biblical means on how to parent biblically,etc. Its purpose is not to get them to come to church.

    Actually,we want people to come to church because they love God,not to get something.

    This is not good evangelism(saying if you come,you will receive a gift)...good evangelism is going out to share Christ with a lost world and directing them to a biblical church where they can be fed and equipped to go out and share Christ with others.


    Molly
     
  9. Johnv

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    OTOH, some will argue that, if a person isn't allowed to come to church until he/she loves the Lord, then he/she may never get to a point where that happens. I'm not disagreeing with you, just pointing out a possibel flaw in that concept.

    I don't have a problem with a "thank you" gift to newbies or visitors. When I have first time visitors in my home whom I've never met, I often give them a hospitality gift.
     
  10. massdak

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    a church is not a place to trick people into hearing the gospel, the church is for believers so they can learn and go out to give the gospel
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Why are those the only two options, massdak?
     
  12. massdak

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    do you mean to hear at church or by believers going outside the church to preach the gospel?
     
  13. massdak

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    edify and worship also is that what you mean?
     
  14. IfbReformer

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    I'll tell you something else that is a disgrace to the name of Christ - a child of God judging the motives of a church and pastor.

    I've got a poem hanging on the wall of my office entitled My Little Boys Dad.

    I've given away many Father's Day gifts over the years. I've received many as well. None of them can compare to the impact that this one peom has made on the way I have raised my four children.

    It is not the cost of the gift that matters, it is the value of the gift.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Pastor Bob,

    It does not matter if it is valuable to you, it is matters if it is valuable to the unsaved who come in.

    When unsaved person is brought by their friend or neighbor, and our told that they as a father will receive a gift afterwards, what do you think they think when they get a photocopied piece of paper with a poem on it?

    Certainly that poem could mean alot to some people, but to the average unbeliever coming in this makes this church look like a bunch of scammers and con-artists.

    It reminds me of when you go to Meijers and they are announcing over the loud speakers that they are giving away free merchandice in some part of the store, everyone runs there and you find out its some little piece of garbage.

    You may think I am judging, but I believe I am calling it as I see it sir.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. IfbReformer

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    I just wanted to clearify some other things for you Pastor Bob:

    Whether or not the Pastor or the church had good motives is besides the point, but question this -is the action itself right?

    Shall we do evil that good may result?

    I am not saying giving a poem out cannot be a good thing. I have been in a church where they handed out poems on fancy paper in frames that could be put up on someone's wall. That I would not have a problem with.

    But just running over to your copier and zeroxing some copies to hand out does not show much thought.

    And really Pastor Bob, the value of a gift depends on who is giving it and to whom it is given and the circumstances under which it is given.

    If my child wrote a poem on scratch paper and gave it to me as a birthday present or father's day present I would treasure it forever.

    But when a complete huge church that looks that takes in anywhere from 17 to 20 thousand per week(and its right in their bulletin) puts up on their sign that they are giving away free gifts to all fathers who come on father's day and the gift is a photocopied poem most strangers coming in there are going to be turned off and think the church is trying to scam them.

    One more example for you - this happens a lot actually. A company will say around the holidays that they have something for all their employees at Christmas.

    Some companies really have something in the form of a Christmas bonus, and others scam their employees by giving them an empty Christmas Card or one time I got a $2.00 lotto ticket in a Christmas card.

    If you are not going to do it right, then don't do it at all.

    In the retail world there is a phrase for this kind of technique, its called "bate and switch".

    IFBReformer
     
  16. Pastor KevinR

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    I don't have a problem w/ "incentives" per se. The word, "bribe" can accurately describe some of the church promotions. The church I grew up in, during the "bus era" of the late 60's, and early 70's had about 40 bus routes, and every Bus Captain had some type of promotion to get the kids to ride. Many times the kids would pick and choose which bus, either from this particular church, or another that offered the best "incentive"; "bribe" (???)and I'm certain it did some harm, regarding motivation to go to church. The good news is that some kids responded to the Gospel of Christ by receiving Him. John 1:12.
     
  17. Molly

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    OTOH, some will argue that, if a person isn't allowed to come to church until he/she loves the Lord, then he/she may never get to a point where that happens. I'm not disagreeing with you, just pointing out a possibel flaw in that concept.

    I don't have a problem with a "thank you" gift to newbies or visitors. When I have first time visitors in my home whom I've never met, I often give them a hospitality gift.
    </font>[/QUOTE]John,

    I didn't say they couldn't come to church...I think we should show love and hospitality to all,believers and unbelievers. We have a reception for visitors after our Sunday morning service to provide a light lunch and answer questions and such....this is not to *get them to come* but to be considerate and helpful.


    Look at the motive....that is key.

    I agree with the switch bait concept...it is unethical in the business world,it should be in the church as well.

    Molly
     
  18. Pastor_Bob

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    No, actually that is the point. I do not have a problem with you thinking the church was at fault here. What I do have a problem with is your statement:
    My friend, you cannot judge the motives of another and be certain unless the pastor told you he was doing it for numbers. A church that brings in $17K a week probably has a good sized congregation already.

    There is no way to know if the action is right without knowing the motivation behind the action. Of course, I'm speaking solely of this event. I would not make that statement carte blanche.

    Perhaps the pastor was deeply moved by the poem he distributed? Perhaps it was a poem he penned himself? The truth is, you'll not not why until you ask him yourself.

    To denounce the actions of this pastor without knowing for sure why he did what he did is, IMO, a direct violation of Jesus' command in Matthew 7:1.
     
  19. Pastor_Bob

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    What did Jesus mean when He said, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23

    Were not these people invited to a great supper as an incentive to come?
     
  20. IfbReformer

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    No, actually that is the point. I do not have a problem with you thinking the church was at fault here. What I do have a problem with is your statement:
    My friend, you cannot judge the motives of another and be certain unless the pastor told you he was doing it for numbers. A church that brings in $17K a week probably has a good sized congregation already.

    There is no way to know if the action is right without knowing the motivation behind the action. Of course, I'm speaking solely of this event. I would not make that statement carte blanche.

    Perhaps the pastor was deeply moved by the poem he distributed? Perhaps it was a poem he penned himself? The truth is, you'll not not why until you ask him yourself.

    To denounce the actions of this pastor without knowing for sure why he did what he did is, IMO, a direct violation of Jesus' command in Matthew 7:1.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Pastor Bob,

    Lets look the command you quote of Christ's:

    Matthew 7:1-2(NIV)
    "1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    Verse 2 tells me that in the same way I judge something someone does as right or wrong I will be judged. This is speaking of hypocritcal and wrong judging. But judging based on the Word of God is not forbiden.

    In fact Paul clearifies what the New Testament means when it tells us not judge:

    Romans 2:1(NIV)
    "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

    Romans 3:7-8
    "7Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" 8Why not say--as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved."


    Again I ask, shall we "do evil that good may result"?

    Colossians 3:23(NIV)
    "23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,"

    I think it is a misrepresentation to call a photocopied piece of paper a gift. You can spin it any way you like, but thats how I and my wife saw it. My wife and I have two totally different personalities, and many times she sees things differently than me.

    But on this occasion after church, when we got out to the van after church and looked at the sign we both thought the same thing and said as much to one another.

    I wonder how many other people thought the same thing?

    IFBReformer
     

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