Scam or Ministry?

There’s a story in the news about a Senator investigating the lavish lives of Televangelists. (Link to Story) It made me think of the questions used to determine if a marketing organization is a legitimate business or a scam. Here’s some of them:

  • Is there a legitimate product? (Are they selling something useful)
  • Does the organization benefit it’s end users or just its leadership?
  • Is a significant part or the organization made up of attracting new “recruits” due to constant attrition of distributors? (Do they constantly have to attract new people because there is a “revolving door” of disgruntled people leaving the organization.)
  • Is guilt and pressure used to encourage distributors to recruit their family and friends?
  • Is the primary business of the organization to sell literature and information about the “business”, but no one seems to actually be in the “business”? (Common in Real Estate scams.)

The list goes on and on but one thing is very clear to me… If we aren’t offering grace and mercy, if lives aren’t truly being radically changed to be more like Jesus, if people aren’t spontaneously telling their friends about how their lives are made better by applying our “product”, if there is even a hint that the only people who benefit from the church is the leadership…people can smell a scam…from a mile away! If we want to stop being investigated by “outsiders” the answer is to start asking some hard questions of ourselves…

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