Evangelism Classes (or How to become an Asshole in One Easy Lesson)

I signed up for all the evangelism classes available in the hardline Churches of Christ. I dutifully took notes. I knocked on doors. I turned conversations with friends and acquaintances into opportunities to talk about the gospel.  I toted around the Jule Miller filmstrips.

Only one problem: Nobody wanted to hear about it. Nobody wanted to be drawn into that kind of discussion, and nobody wanted the manipulations and guilt that these discussions brought about. We were taught to ask pointed questions, not listen to the answers, guide the discussion toward baptism, and push, push, push. We were condescending, superior know-it-alls. We were ready to give an answer, just like we were taught. Our greatest competition were the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the ICOC.

We were not taught to: listen, think about what the other person was saying, have a give-and-take conversation, enjoy hearing about other people’s faith, or model a respectful relationship. So why would anyone want that kind of gospel? “Yeah, I’d like to have a relationship with a Lord who makes me act like an Asshole!” Not!

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About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
This entry was posted in Evangelism, Manipulation, Psychology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Evangelism Classes (or How to become an Asshole in One Easy Lesson)

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi — I just found your website and blog. I hope that it can be used by God to heal those struggling with the hardline aspect of conservative, fundamental Church of Christ voices. I was blessed to have not grown up around those voices, although I have several generations of C of C in my family lineage. However, I did grow up in a family that was severely affected by mental illness and understand what it’s like to hear false messages about who I was and what I meant to God. Thankfully, in my case, the messsage did not come from church. The message I heard there were the voices that allowed me to heal and move through the pain my family caused.

    I hope that your site and blog will not only be a place for people to vent but will be also be a place for people to find God’s grace and the truth about their identity in Christ. The reality of God’s love is life-changing. You have a wonderful opportunity to more accurately represent the God of reconciliation and grace to those who are hurting. Healing comes in waves — or maybe layers — with new levels off and on throughout life. Helping others move forward rather than staying in the hurt, angry, victimized place will be a challenging ministry.

    God loves you. I hope you really do know that, all the way down to the core of your being.

  2. Robert Biden says:

    That’s so true! I’m glad to here from other atheists. I now sit at home on Sundays and make fun of all the preaching!

  3. Marie says:

    Robert Biden, if you are serious then this is exactly the type of attitude this blog will enable- Instead of responding to the need of Christ and the call to unity, when we REACT and resort to sarcasm and “anti” coc rhetoric then we become exactly what they are… hardcore extremists.
    This blog does nothing to promote healing. It furthers the divide, promotes anger and hostility, and deepens the core of our problems.
    The author of this blog will mature and will promote love, unity, and peace rather than promote war.
    Mother Teresa was definitely anti-war. But she refused to go to anti-war rallies. She said that if you want peace then you need to go to pro-peace rallies.

    The author of this blog needs stop taking revenge and start promoting peace. His daddy issues shouldn’t be an excuse or ammunition.

    • Hi Marie,
      I’m not as interested in healing a divide between hardline and not so hardline churches, as supporting people who feel crazy and depressed because all their trusted support systems are calling them unfaithful, prideful, unsaved, reprobate, apostate, etc. These people need an injection of truth immediately before they give up.
      Secondly, Mother Teresa is a great person to emulate. However, Jesus used sarcasm on the people who set themselves up as the barometer of righteousness. He did not try to heal a divide between himself and the Pharisees or the Sadducees. Are you suggesting we not imitate Jesus in this regard? For you to refer to my “daddy issues” is sarcastic in itself, inappropriate for a discussion like this, and does not heal the divide between me and you. Would you like me to psychoanalyze you as to what your issues are, that cause you to feel the need to defend and remain at peace with the coc? All ex-members of hardline churches have so-called “daddy issues”. That’s part of the package of growing up fundamentalist. I accept that, and I believe we need to help everyone move out of fundamentalist churches, and not feel lost and crazy while doing so.

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