Thursday, August 17, 2006

Weird Conversations...

If one of you prank called me today, you did a dang good job. But please show yourself.

A few minutes ago, someone called our church asking if we had a singles ministry. Our secretary transferred the call to me. I told the guy that we minister to singles all the time, but we didn't have a specific singles ministry group. He didn't seem to care, and moved on to asking me if I was the only pastor. I told him that I did mostly youth ministry, and that we also had a senior pastor.

He didn't seem to care, and started asking what the church believes. I explained the basics of our mission, teaching, etc. Once again, he didn't seem to care what I said. He asked what I did, and what I liked about my job. I answered as best as I could, explaining my heart for people to live for the Kingdom of God, to know that they are loved by God and live for his purposes. I don't think he really cared.

Then, with his next question, I was able to see why he was really calling. He asked, "are you a money church or a people church?" I hadn't been asked that question before, and I hesitated and responded, "a people church." He made a huge deal over the fact that I hesitated for a bit. I tried to explain that I hesitated because it was an odd question and that quite honestly, as a church that exists within an American economy, we do still require money to function. I didn't want to sugarcoat and pretend that we don't also need money for ministry, relief work, mortgage payments, etc. Sad, but true.

Then he proceeded to explain to me exactly why we existed. The same reason every church exists. We're a business and we're after everyone's money. I said, "well it may seem that way, but we are only trying to meet a budget to support our ministries."

Then he said, "Is it true that all you need is God?"

I said, "In a way, yes, but that's an oversimplifi..."

He cut me off, "Well, then you don't need church. You don't need money. At church, you tell me all I need is God, but that I also need to give 10%."

I said that we do not teach that you need to give 10%. I told him that our theology is that everything belongs to God and that we give back to him portions of what is already his to begin with. I told him that this was something that we struggled with all the time. We feel like budgets help and hinder the work of the church simultaneously. Thoughts of house churches without mortgage payments to make swirled about in my head.

He said, "There's one God, right?"

I agreed.

"Then why are there so many churches?"

"Because of human sin. We don't always work out our differences in the best..."

He cut me off again, "It's because the church is a business."

He was waiting for me to agree.

"Well, don't you agree?" he said.

"I suppose we are a non-profit organization, but that's not the poin..."

"Your church is a business and all you care about is money."

I said, "That is absolutely not true."

"You just say that because you're on the inside," he retorted.

I asked the guy why he was calling in the first place. He said that he just wanted me to admit that the church is a business and only cares about money. I told him that I would not admit to something that was not true. I explained to him that this conversation was going nowhere, that I was not going to confess to a lie, and that apparently he was not going to listen to what I had to say.

He said, "Well then, have a nice day at your job. Have a good business day."

I said, "Great," in a semi-sarcastic tone.

"Thanks for your time," he said.


We hung up our phones.

I hesistate to reflect on this too much, as I am not 100% convinced that this wasn't a prank yet, but assuming this guy was legit, I really wonder what has caused this guy's bitterness. What church experience has he had, that he has decided to randomly call churches pretending to be interested in their ministries in order to make accusations? I agree that quite often we get way too bogged down in money, and churches are not always good stewards of that money, but "Dang!"

He never gave his name. I don't know if I'll ever talk to or see this guy again. I hope someone else can handle his onslaught better than I did. What a weird start to a day.


At 9:42 AM EDT , Blogger MrB said...

You get all the fun ones don't you? Like that guy who drove the truck into the church...

At 11:54 PM EST , Blogger Kat said...

Yes, that was strange, but sounds like you handled it very well! Certainly does make you wonder about his background.


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