Derek Webb’s album Ringing Bell has been ringing in my ears today.
I got an email through our ministry locator from a minister promoting an upcoming event. It’s not a Campus Crusade affiliated event, as evidenced by the fact that I got alerted about it via our ministry locator. The locator is a tool specifically designed to connect students, parents, and ministry partners with the ministry at specific schools. It’s not a way to get in touch with staff to promote events.
So here’s how it goes: excited minister wants to get the word out to as many people as possible about the upcoming event. Knowing that Campus Crusade for Christ has thousands of campuses nationwide, and that we love Jesus, he decides to directly contact some staff through the ministry locator and let them know about the event. Sounds reasonable, right?
But let’s change the scenario a bit. Imagine instead of a ministry, it’s a taco business. Excited business owner wants to get the word out to as many people as possible about the upcoming event. Knowing that Taco Bell has a way to directly contact franchises around the world, he sets about telling them about the event.
Sounds a little different if you paint it with a different brush. See, whether you spiritualize it or not, using our ministry locator tool to promote events is spam. Unsolicited email. Illegal.
Now, I’m not going to report the guy and have him fined or penalized, because I’m relatively certain he didn’t mean to spam us, and unlike the taco example, we are not competing businesses. We’re on the same team, looking to reach people with the gospel. We’re about God’s kingdom advancing.
The question is whether or not you can advance the kingdom using non-kingdom resources. Since spam is illegal, it therefore is not a tool God is likely going to favor in the building of his kingdom.
How you get the people to your event is just as important as how many people you get to your event. Shortcuts, fudging numbers, and emotional manipulation might produce a throng of people who look very Christian at your event. But it won’t honor God. As Christians, we must go the extra mile to not just avoid guilt in these types of things, but because others have abused people, we have to avoid even the appearance of that abuse.
Since some online lines are still legally blurry, let’s make a commitment to stay well on the legal side of the blur.
That’s what’s got Derek’s song ringing in my ears. His song “A Love That’s Stronger Than Our Fear” has a line in it that speaks to “building the kingdom using the devil’s tools.” We have to watch out for the American lie that ends justify means. Biblically speaking, questionable means condemn their ends, regardless of how “good” they appear.
What do you think? Did I overreact? What are some other ways we can strive to be full of integrity? Comment Below.