“The Offer” – Update

I thought I should give you an update regarding “The Offer” which was referenced in a previous post. With all the speculation surrounding the offer I received and the proposed theories of a possible “agendas” I thought I should fill you in on the latest.

Actually, there’s not much to say in the way of details. The proposed invite isn’t just a one-on-one dinner, and of course I didn’t make that clear in the original post. The family has a low-key get together each week with neighbors and friends just to hang out and watch “Survivor” (a show I no longer watch). So I received an email to the next get-together and I haven’t been able to go yet to either one because of schedule conflicts, but plan on making one soon (along with my oldest who loves the show)… after all they were nice enough to invite me, it can’t hurt to get to know my neighbors, and there is gonna be free food.

So I disagree with all of you that are claiming some sort of “subversive agenda”. Of course, I do believe there was an agenda, but from my vantage point and intuition it was only positive. I truly sensed that there was genuine care and concern and they were just being friendly to invite me along to one of the weekly things they do at their house. Nothing more, nothing less.

The actual point of my previous post was not about what might or might not happen as a result of this invitation. It was more about the invitation itself. And I do feel that such simple invitations are revolutionary.

These type of actions are revolutionary, especially coming from paid pastors and “professional Christians”, because it allows those that they are trying to develop relationships with to know that they have genuine interest in them as people, not just as a butt in the pew (or folding chair) on Sundays. Traditionally, church people still tend to think of “outreach” as a way to get people to the church facilities or functions. Even the most progressive churches (read “emergent”) view it this way. But I think it’s revolutionary to stop asking people to come to church, to stop doing “church-wide” programs or advertising to promote attendance or “church growth”. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

11 thoughts on ““The Offer” – Update”

  1. Steve- You are right. It is revolutionary to think of inviting people just to be friends without the agenda of getting them to church (although if church attendance one day follows I don’t see a problem with that). My wife and I believe in this process of inviting people to be at our house or hang out with no mention of our church. At times it is because we were embarrassed to bring people to our church and at times it is because it seems so fake. At other times it is because some of our neighbors and friends are actively involved in their own churches, mosques, and mormon (stakes?). Either way, I have used this episode in your life to more baltantly seek relationships with neighbors because I really want to be friends with them and if something more comes of it, that is fine.

  2. It certainly doesn’t seem like there is a hidden agenda from what I can see. Steve didn’t say, “He invited me… and told me to bring my Bible” or “He invited me… but [insert guilt triggering mechanism here].”He said < HREF="http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com/2006/09/offer-i-couldnt-refuse.html" REL="nofollow">[from this post]<><>They invited me (and my kids) to their home to hang out and watch TV with their family.And guess what? I said I would… and then we shook hands and hugged goodbye.<>I do think it is <>revolutionary<>. At the very least, shouldn’t we strive to give this individual (and his family) the benefit of the doubt?

  3. Is is really revolutionary? Definitely not the norm, but if anything I think it’s just what it <>should<> be… a pastor <>should<> be someone who simply ‘pastors’ – which is just a fancy way of saying someone who is naturally gifted to care for others. It’s more an extension of the way a person is wired and naturally gifted to do than a paid job. Obviously, this isn’t the norm – and the role of ‘pastor’ has gotten far away from that in the modern church. But that’s where I think this isn’t as much revolutionary as it is just… normal. And refreshing. And sad that it has to be both of those things because the norm is so far from what it should be… people in genuine relationship with one another, with no agendas…

  4. You are absolutely correct. Enjoy the company and the gesture of friendship for what it is. Cynicism is a life-sucker. Good for you.

  5. When I use the word “revolutionary” I do so in the context of this definition:<>“a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it”<>So to me, the way “church people” tend to approach reaching out to others is the “get them in the doors” model. As Chris reiterates above, that’s the norm for most churches and pastors. How many times have I heard “invite your friends to church” pleas from the pulpit? (Actually, not as often as I have heard pleas for help in the children’s ministry – but it’s a close second).I think it’s “revolutionary” to suggest to pastors that they stop telling their parishioners to invite their friends to church and just invite them out to dinner. I think it’s revolutionary for pastors to no longer consider events to get “unchurched” people into the church building and challenge their people to invite neighbors over to their house for a bar-b-que or to watch a football game on TV. This is as revolutionary in my opinion as suggesting that pastors stop taking passing the plate for offerings in their church…. and just allow people to give freely without coercion… You know… I sound like I am being defensive about this “revolutionary” idea, but from the churches I have attended these concepts I have mentioned would meet great resistance (I know because I have suggested them)… they would result in a “dramatic” change in the way the organization works and views itself.

  6. “I think what makes this revolutionary is the fact that it requires some level of risk. I can invite someone to church, and I’m stuck with them for only an hour or two. But if I invite them into my life, it costs me so much more.”Jeff, I think there are volumes to be made on that point. To really reach out to someone requires people being willing to let others in to their real world, that is rare.

  7. People offering friendship & hospitality simply because they’re christians and not because it’s a church initiative … that’s authentic christianity in my book. It’s not universal by any means but I don’t think it’s quite as uncommon as many seem to think.

  8. I deleted a recent exchange between me and some others – so if you find your comments missing… that’s my decision. I had used this site to personally express something to another commenter outside the topic of discussion. Diaz – I liked what you said so please repost…. just minus your parting shot. I am not pissed at you for it, I am just not wanting to feed that particular fire.Everybody that I deleted… you are welcome to comment here. Let’s just stay on topic and discuss what the post is about. If you need to say anything to me personally, just email me at steve@stupidchurchpeople.comThanks for understanding.

  9. I think it’s a great idea to go and hang out, unless you dislike ‘survivor’ so much it hurts to watch it. I said there might be an agenda (not neccesarily a bad thing) but what do I really care, I attend church and deal with the agenda face 2 face anyways. I guess I don’t have any fear of their beliefs and criticisms, nor should any of us (which we don’t as far as I can tell). It was flip comment from me more or less, nothing meant by it…but I do like the challenge if it is.

  10. Ah, steve, you couldn’t’ve pared it down a little? Trying to remember it takes all the oomph out, and I don’t know how to track down the original……but I more or less was mentioning that I, personally, stepped back because I was getting caught up in the whole SCP revolution, in the idea that we didn’t need the church, that the old ways held nothing of interest. As long as we had each other (and, heh, all thought along the same lines), we could function without them. It was literally turning into a knee-jerk reaction, and I didn’t think that was the right way to approach differences in opinion, or that it left much room for change from the current state of things. As it stands, I’m curious to see what happens, though paranoia makes me think they might hit you up with the ole’ bait and switch. I could be wrong. Probably am. But I guess we’ll see. …apologies for the parting shot, I guess I…well, doesn’t matter. Thoughts on the topic at hand? Am I alone in my impetuous youth or can anyone relate?

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