Against Ministry Gimmicks
I hate it when Christians try to lure non-Christian into the faith with food, folks, and fun. I once heard a minister say to a struggling fellowship that what was really needed to get the group energized was a logo and a rock band. More typically it involves offering free food. Other times it's Christians agonizing over what clever activity they can concoct that would make non-Christians want to attend.
All of these are wrong ways to draw people to Christ.
First, it doesn’t work. The Cross is an offense, and when Christ calls a man, He calls him to die. Nobody’s going take insult and injury for a pony ride.
Second, only the Spirit can draw people. We know this. So what’s the point of drawing people in with gimmicks? If they’re only drawn by the gimmick, then they won’t respond to the Spirit. And if they’re drawn by the Spirit, the gimmick is superfluous.
Third, these efforts distract from the real challenge of getting out and preaching Christ. Instead of taking on the work of testifying to Christ, we plan pizza parties. Our efforts mollify our consciences that tell us we should be shouting the Gospel from the roof tops.
Fourth, it’s vaguely deceptive. “Hey non-believer, why don’t you come to this low-pressure quasi-Christian social event. We’ll watch movies, eat chips, drink cola from 2-liter bottles (cuz we’re cheap)….and then WHAM we’ll sneak up our stealth evangelist ninja on you and KA-BLAMO! You’ll get SAVED!” If we ultimately want people to come to faith in Christ, it doesn’t seem totally honest to pretend otherwise on the front-end. Drawing people by anything other than God is pretending otherwise.
Fifth, when Christ fed people, He did so out of compassion for them. But He explicitly rejected using food to draw followers. Large crowds came to him for another meal after the feeding of a multitude, and instead he preached a bizarre message in which he criticized their coming to him for a meal. This drove away the masses. See John 5 & 6.
What are they teaching our seminarians? A bunch of cheesy marketing is my guess.
It might be argued that these are techniques for being 'all things to all people that we might save some,' but I think instead that these amount to using worldly sales techniques instead of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and truly embodying godliness oursleves. Further, I bet you can hardly learn me a soul who was saved by a gimmick. But I bet you can learn me a whole bunch of events where you had a buncha Christians milling about, eating pizza and drinking pop, and wondering 'where are the non-Christians? How come they never come to our cheesy events.'