Churches are magnets for telemarketers. Seriously. I thank God for my secretary. She is normally able to run interference for me and just take a message. But there are some pushy ones. Some tricksy ones. They get through.
There’s one particular organization that continually calls, whose calls occasionally get through, whose calling staff is as agressive as they come. Seriously, they should be working in the collection department for CitiBank. Reference the following segment of one such phone call:
Caller: Pastor, is now a good time to talk?
OSC: Not really. I’ve got an appointment in about five minutes. (a true statement)
Caller: Well, I just wanted to tell you about…
OSC: Ok, but like I said, I don’t have time right now.
Caller: Oh, right. Well, can I pray with you?
OSC: That’d be great, but since I’m in a rush how about you pray for me?
Caller: Great. Let’s pray. God I just ask…
Yeah. Probably bad form to hang up on someone while they’re praying for you.
See, a part of the problem is that they don’t properly identify themselves to the secretary when she answers. They give their name, but not their organization, and ask for me. And I’ve given specific instructions to the secretary on how to sort them, but they’re apparently a bit crafty. Then they interrupt my work.
Today I was a bit more forceful with the poor kid. It’s about this great youth program. I told him that we weren’t interested, hadn’t budgeted for it, and it simply wasn’t happening. So he asks what we do instead, and I told him. Enter into the conversation, gentle reader:
Caller:Yeah, but are your youth getting saved? Are they giving their hearts to Jesus? Do you guys do like altar calls and stuff?
OSC: (getting testy) Well, our youth confess faith in Jesus Christ, so they’re not in need of getting saved. They’re Christians. It’s already happened to them. In fact, for many of them it happened long before they had any cognitive idea of God, because they were baptized as infants. We don’t teach our youth that they have to accept Jesus, but that Jesus has chosen them.
Caller: Oh. Um, do you guys do any outreach? Because a lot of churches use this as an outreach thing.
OSC: (about to let sarcasm get the best of him) Yes, our youth regularly bring their unchurched friends to activities here at the church.
Caller: Oh. Hmm… Well, I want to encourage you in your particular doctrine and all.
Apparently they missed the word “Lutheran” in the church’s name. Or, for an even sadder possibility, they didn’t.