Monday, February 7, 2011

Frozen-Turkey Evangelism: Living Lutheran Blog

Very well-meaning Christians of a congregation in San Francisco, whose yearly hunger ministry budget is over 4 million dollars, go on television and radio every Thanksgiving and Christmas to encourage people to help the homeless have a festive holiday.

They ask themselves, “If I were homeless what would be something that I would want?” The answer is, of course, a turkey. They collect funds and give out thousands and thousands of frozen turkeys to the homeless.

The rub is that the homeless do not have ovens. This is the folly of thinking that we can imagine what other people need or want.

Well-meaning congregations across the country discover that their really great ideas to help others or to get people in the door is “frozen-turkey evangelism.”

Sometimes these attempts serve only to remind the neighborhood that the congregation is out of touch with the very people and communities the congregation is trying to do outreach among.

I wish that I could say that when it comes to evangelism ELCA congregations are better at listening and being truly useful to the communities around them. But, Lutherans often get both stewardship and evangelism backward.

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