If I had a dollar for the number of times an Amwaysalesman approached me at the end of a church service and shared that they had a wonderful money making opportunity that would transform our church, I’d, well, you know.
“No offense,” I always reply, “but the last thing that transforms churches is money. That’s usually the very thing that spoils them.”
“Well, um, yeah, I get that, I think, but I work for a multi-national Christian company where Jesus Christ is at the center of all we do, and we empower Christians to have the financial resources to (a) have more time to serve in the church and (b) give money to important Christian causes.”
“Let me guess: Amway?”
“Don’t you want that for your church members Rev. Jones?”
“Please call me Brian. And we’re talking about Amway, right?”
“I mean, just imagine! If your people had the…” [quickly placing my hand on his shoulder and cutting him off mid-sentence…]
“Uh, yes. How did you know?”
“Because I can see you guys coming a mile away.”
It’s at that point that I share that in 25 years of being a pastor I have learned one indisputable truth:
Amway salesmen, multi-level marketers, or anyone else that comes into a church with an agenda kill healthy churches.
Now, before you threaten to withhold a wonderful moneymaking opportunity where I can start working from home and make $50,000 a month only working 5 hours a week, please hear me out.
The problem I have with Amway salesmen is not with them per se, but what they represent.
Multi-level marketers represent people that bring a pressing agenda into our church community.
Anyone who has spent any time trying to build authentic community among believers knows that there are two things that kill community faster than just about anything: (1) people who think Nicholas Cage is a good actor and (2) people with an agenda.
Amway salesmen (and saleswomen) represent people who come to your church with a financial agenda – they look to make money off of people in the church.
But the reality is everyone has an agenda.
You, me, people who visit.
It’s a part of being a broken human being. None of us loves perfectly, clearly, and unconditionally. So while multi-level marketers, for instance, are quickly and easily noticed, your agenda and my agenda are no less damaging.
We ALL struggle with trying to “get something” from the people in the church, rather than “give” something to them; whether its affirmation, favors, attention, what have you.
Unless we encourage one another to crucify our agendas at the church’s doorsteps, we’ll either soil the relationships in the church, or we’ll get fidgety and eventually leave (because we didn’t get what we wanted). Neither one of these options are a win for the kingdom.
There is one church body.
We are all members of that body, each with our own unique gifts and abilities.
But this image of the body of Christ does not include agendas.
Agendas are evil.
They come in sheep’s clothing, but end up devouring the flock.
They must be crucified.
Only by crucifying our agendas will we ever be able to truly love one another.
Love is the only thing in the world that has no agenda.
What other kinds of agendas have you seen people bring into the church?
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