Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Evangelism By The Book: Avoid Deadly Shortcuts


During a great war, there was a man who invented a parachute that was one hundred percent trustworthy. It made no difference whether the user was large or small; it opened every time and got him safely to the ground. The key was in the way it was folded. Every part of the parachute had to be carefully and painstakingly placed in certain positions, following the instructions given by the manufacturer. True, it was somewhat arduous, but it was well worth the effort. It had the effect of ensuring that the life of every precious human being who trusted the parachute would be preserved. Many years after the war began, a group of young men known as "fast-folders" entered the packing room. These men so influenced the workers with their new fast and easy method of folding that soon they all completely ignored the instruction book given by the manufacturer. Production increased greatly and everyone
rejoiced in the obvious and quantifiable results.

However, as time passed it slowly became evident that something was radically wrong. In fact, a small group of investigators who went to where the parachutes were being used found to their horror that of every ten who jumped using the new method, nine tragically fell to their deaths! The horrible sight of so many mangled and rotting bodies strewn all over the ground sickened them. These weren't just faceless customers. These were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters -- cherished human beings who plunged to a needless and terrifying death.

A report was quickly relayed to the fast-folders. Many were heartbroken, and immediately went back to the instruction book and corrected their mistake. With great sobriety and care, they began painstakingly folding each parachute exactly as the book instructed. Their knowledge of the tragedies motivated them to make sure that they did their job with uncompromising conviction.

Yet, there was resistance from a few. Even though they knew that so many lives were being lost, they still refused to follow the instruction book. Unbelievably, they ignored the mass of mangled and rotting bodies, for which they were directly responsible. Instead, they pointed to those who had survived their fast-folding method as justification for their technique.

The leaders of today's fastest growing megachurches are often
willing to take unprecedented shortcuts in order to produce 'numbers'
(numbers of decisions, baptisms, filled-seats, etc).

With the aim of drawing large crowds, these shortcuts are not limited to methods only, but often encompass the evangelistic message itself.

HT: Parachute story based on a Way of The Master excerpt by Ray Comfort

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