Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Negative Evangelism

Let's say you're a star high school football player. 2 college coaches have come to your house to recruit you for their teams. The 1st coach promises you a full scholarship. He highlights their phenomenal fitness center and guarantees you'll be amazed by the roar of their crowds. He even whispers to you, when your parents step out of the room, that the party life on campus is awesome. As he walks out, you wonder how anyone could make a more appealing offer than what you've just heard!

The 2nd coach, on the other hand, focused on how big of a commitment it will be to join his team. You'll have to pay a price. Classes won't be watered down just b/c you're a star athlete. You won't have as much time for your family and friends. As he walks out the door, you wonder if he was trying to talk you into enrolling or out of it!

Which coach's recruiting method is more like Christ's? Which is more like the church's?


Aaron Perry said...

Matthew, I really like this analogy. It is actually right where I am in my own spiritual walk and in my own leadership of the church I pastor. I am currently leaning toward #2; I think our own culture has many competing voices like #1 and being counter cultural calls many of us to be #2. That being said, I think there are cultures where #1 would be counter cultural, too!

Katie said...

Because #1 is the world's method it often becomes the churches as well, since we as Christians sometimes forget that we don't need to 'compete' against the world.

It's hard to judge #2 when you don't have tone... those words could be said in a condescending manner, or they could be spoken quietly with truth (Ironically both seem to happen at times when Christians are sharing the gospel).

As Christ's method, though, I would add onto the end of #2 the fact that the hard work and perseverance is worth it for the end result that dedication brings about.

TMNK said...

In other words, the 2nd team is the one that's actually going to win the championship, while the other programs are going down the toilet

Katie said...

Yes, but you could carry the analogy even further with the idea that both teams may be championship material and do well, but after the college years (aka our lives on earth) are over, what becomes of the players? The ones who worked hard and were focused generally go on to have fulfilling lives, while the ones who partied through college end up back on their parent's couch playing video games. (Ignore the fact that the second scenario may sound "fun" to some people and recognize it as a sad existence!!)

Dena said...

I see your point and think you make a wonderful analogy! But, why can't #2 have some of the attributes of #1? Can you have tough classes, lots of studying and still go to the occasional party? Or perhaps you can still go to the same number of parties, but because you're not hung over in the morning (I know I'm stretching this) you still have time and energy to study and practice hard.

I see your point, and really appreciate you provoking this thought. But I think since Christ came to give us abundant life the reality of the situation ought to be somewhat of a mix. Am I just striking too much of a 'please everyone' position on this? I'm really not trying to.

TMNK said...


I don't think you're comment is just a people pleaser comment at all. My post was an attempt to balance a popular type of evangelism. Your comment attempts to balance my own swing of the pendulum :)