Loren Siebold writes in the latest e-mail newsletter from Vervent:
Back in seminary, a couple invited us over for Saturday night entertainment. “How nice,” we thought. “We’re making some new friends.” After some snacks and small talk, they sprung it on us: “We’ve gotten into a business opportunity that we would like to share with you.” It sounded altruistic, but it wasn’t. The goal wasn’t friendship, but making money off of us by getting us to sell stuff for them.
We politely said no. From then on, the evening languished. And they never invited us again, proving that we had never been potential friends, just potential customers.
In my first participation in an evangelistic campaign, I remember how the evangelist’s wife and record-keeper spoke of “interests”. “We had 40 interests here tonight.” They weren’t quite people; they were statistics on the hoof. It would have to be a pretty naive “interest” not to sense when there’s no genuine, disinterested interest in him or herself, don’t you think?
Do you see Jesus ever regarding people merely as “interests”? Is our product genuine peace, goodness, kindness and friendship – the attractions of Jesus – or accessions? And yes, they are quite different. Too many of our churches have little peace, goodness, kindness and friendship to offer. All they have is membership.
It’s not about us. It’s not even about our church. It is about loving people, like Jesus did.