The Con

In watching an episode of This American Life, I was introduced to a group of con artists, Improv Everywhere. Here is a short clip of what they do:

Maybe these group of con artists are more like the church than we think? In a similar fashion Christ has sent us out on a mission, “to bring color to places that are black and white.” To be “agents” of His “mission” in bringing His world the joy & reality of The Gospel.

But have we packaged our evangelistic efforts in a way that was never intended by Christ?

Before answering that question, first view a summary of Charlie’s favorite mission, Mission #37:

Now, read the words of Steve, a 34-year-old New Yorker who just moved in from Phoenix. He describes his initial excitement when meeting a peer in an unfamiliar city:

A young guy approached me in a subway station once, friendly, full of questions, interested in talking. he seemed really nice, and I couldn’t believe a New Yorker was being so, well, nice! We exchanged numbers and said we’d hang out sometime. Next time I heard from him, he invited me to a Bible study, and that was all he wanted to talk about. When I said, ‘No thanks,’ I never heard from him again. (UnChristian)

Rather than being genuinely interested in people for their friendship, do we sometimes seem like spiritual headhunters…like agents on a mission to build a fake relationship and “feeling of connection,” and to just leave them if there is no, immediate spiritual breakthrough?  Further questions continue…

Do we train our people to say all the right words (like learning lyrics to a song)? Do we help them detect ways to bring in The Gospel with the people they converse with instead of simply having natural, two-way dialogue? Do we encourage people to create immediate relational connections so that they can share the greatest news in one sitting?

The Gospel is ultimately the meaning of life, and maybe our intentions are sound. Sure, at some level The Gospel is offense…but should our methods also be offensive…and are they? (Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-13 and Matthew 5:13-16 for further insight).

No easy answers here, just posing an inner wrestling.

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~ by Dave Smith on February 4, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Con”

  1. If the Gospel is ever presented outside the framework of genuine love and concern for the other — that is if our love and concern for the other ends when they express indifference to or reject the message we proclaim — then it is a fundamental betrayal of the Gospel itself.

    The only authentic presentation of the Gospel is a purely altruistic one that says, “I love you and am concerned for you regardless of how you feel about the Gospel right now. And I will continue to love you and be concerned for you regardless of whether or not your opinion of the Gospel changes.”

  2. My favorite post to date, Rev. Dr. DKS. Extremely heart and mind provoking. You have a gift.

    I am still amazed that we Christians frequently think we can compartmentalize the Gospel, i.e. now I am going to present the Gospel….as opposed to a moment ago I wasn’t?! Being married to my lovely for almost 20 years is at least teaching me that while I may think things are not connected, Mrs. Weisel tends to sees all things as congruent…she is like God in that way, I suppose.

    May we all not yield to the temptation to “prank” those we think are unChristian with the Gospel.

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