Our Only Hook

image credit: Tim Chester
I overheard a couple of youth pastors talking about the big evangelistic events they were planning. Those events amounted to little more than "bait and switch."

They were planning to use out-of-the-ordinary entertainment as a hook to get more kids to come, and when the kids came to see it they would drop a "Gospel Bomb" on them (their words).


Of course the trouble with this method is that the old phrase rings true: "What you win them with is what you win them to" (not to mention the blatant ulterior motive which repels today's students).

So you get a few extra kids to show up to your "BMX Stunt Guy Sunday," but where will they be next Sunday when the Bible comes out and the 40-something adult volunteer is trying his/her best to teach a lesson about Jesus' victory over temptation/Satan in the wilderness?

I suggest that the use of "hooks" like the BMX Guy are short-sighted at best, and self-defeating at worst.

First of all, you can't maintain that type of entertainment value from Sunday to Sunday (if you can then your church needs to seriously take a second look at their distribution of resources).

Secondly, the majority of visitors for that kind of event at a church are kids from other churches. That means you spent a lot of money to host a few kids who blew off their primary environment (where another adult volunteer most likely prepared a lesson in their scare free time during the week) to be at your one-hit-wonder environment. If that kid enjoys himself then you've actually opened the door to family strife as he/she pesters their parents to bring them back to your church even though the family already belongs to another church. Even if the parents give in to the student's request, the student was won over with a hook that didn't give an accurate portrayal of who you are or what you do. So when they show up a few weeks later, they actually leave disappointed.

Paint the picture any way you like and it doesn't add up to a good strategy (not to mention use of time and resources).

The only hook the church has is this:
We are a group of people who worship God. We think the way that Jesus modeled is a better way to live. We didn't always worship God, though, so we accept you as you are, just as we were accepted by God and one another. You are more than welcome to join us as we discover what it means to live our lives in the image of God.

And in these times of loneliness, depression, paranoia, greed, desperation, and fear, we might just find that that's enough.

At least it's not bait and switch.

Related Posts:
Come See / Go Tell
Church: In the Middle of It All


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