Well, you read in the last post (at least the one person who looks at this!) that we were praying about a church plant in downtown (Uptown) Charlotte. We spent several weeks praying through it all and spent some more time down there and feel like God is not calling us there at this point. But we definitely have a real heart and see a real need to impact that area, so anything we’re a part of in the future will always be with an eye to how we can impact Uptown Charlotte, and in the future who knows. It would have been exciting and dangerous for sure, but we’re confident it’s not the place for us to go now.
Something else happened in the last few weeks that got me thinking though. My family and I were going to Target and parked next to a car that looked just like ours and the family was getting out of it at the same time and made a comment about “nice car.” We got to talking with them, about our age with a son about our age and it was cool. We told them what we did and our plans for a church and our connection with an existing church in town. At the end of the conversation the man asked for my phone number in case he “had questions about the church.” Cool! I thought, I gave him my mobile number and we went on our way. My wife and I were excited about the whole thing cause we got to talk to someone new about church and perhaps it was the start of a relationship.
The next day he gives me a call, I didn’t get it, but soon called him back and he proceeded to tell me how we thought I seemed like a sharp guy and wanted to talk to me about a “consulting” opportunity. MAN!!! It was multi level marketing if I ever saw it!!!! What a crock! I thought we were building cool relationships in the community and they were just using us to get us into their scheme! I set up a meeting with him out of courtesy, but then was a total chump and blew it off. I felt pretty bad, cause I’m not that way, but figured I’d probably never hear from them again anyway. Then he calls a couple days later wondering what happened, in my guilt I agree to meet again and all my fears were confirmed, it was a scheme and he couldn’t give me the details unless I went to another meeting…yada, yada, yada….
But here’s what really got me thinking. I felt used and ticked. I thought they wanted to be friends, but in the end I felt used and taken advantage, BUT how much different are we oftentimes as Christians trying to get someone to go to our church? To be honest, that’s what my wife and I were thinking about after talking to them and during talking to them. We wanted to get them into our little “scheme.” Now granted, our “scheme” has vastly more important and eternal ramifications, BUT is it fair to just talk to people with the intent to get them to church or should our focus first be authentic relationship? That’s a scary thought, but I think a very real thought we need to wrestle with. Are we building real relationships with people first? Do we really care about the individual or are we trying to get our “Invited Someone to Church” merit badge? People see schemes, just like I saw his scheme long before I met with him. It’s too important to turn people away from the church and the possible relationship with Jesus, cause we’re working our scheme.