Powerful desires make for powerful scams

(Joseph Bayly) #1

Since several of us in here are @Pastors, I wanted to share this wonderful example of how easy it is to appeal to our base desires—in this case, a pastor’s desire to be “important”—in order to scam people. Here’s the email I got:

Heart Church
104-114 Talbot Street
NG1 5GL.
Website: https://www.heart.church
E-mail: hello.heartchurch@gmail.com
Church Office Phone: +44 702 406 4672

Greetings to you Pastor JOSEPH BAYLY,

I am Pastor James Davis of Heart Church, United Kingdom. We are
writing to invite you to be our guest speaker at our upcoming annual
conference tagged “TRUTH CONFERENCE 2019” coming up from 1st through
3rd of march 2019. The purpose of this conference is to trigger the
pursuit of deep Christianity among youth, young adult, old and partial
Christians. Also, to resource all believers interested in being better
equipped to share and defend their Christian faith.

VENUE: Conference Hall (Inside Church Premises)
Eastwood Hall,
Mansfield Rd, Eastwood
NG16 3SS,United Kingdom.
Date : March 1st to march 3rd 2019
Scheduled Topic: Setting Aside Mundane Affairs and Passionately Pursuing Christ
Theme: Shinning like stars in the world through the Gospel

Your expertise and experience in this field of work will be an
excellent addition to our programme (TRUTH CONFERENCE), as many of our
visitors will look forward to hearing and learning from your work. It
is an honor to be able to invite you to be a guest speaker for a talk
on (Setting Aside Mundane Affairs and Passionately Pursuing Christ),
as we have read your profile on your online website
(https://www.christchurchcincy.com/), and aware of your great
contribution to this field of work.

We look forward to a positive response. If you can RSVP in 48 hours to
our contact details (hello.heartchurch@gmail.com) and we will provide
you with additional information you might require.

PS: Flight arrangement, hotel accommodation, ground transportation and
honorarium will be sorted by the event organizing committee.

Remain blessed,

Mission Co-ordinator

Man, this is crazy. Perhaps a UK version of the “short-term missionary” method of funding a work? The website looks like they really exist. But this is also clearly a staggered mass-mailing invitation, looking for any pastor that will accept.

I should add that this sort of thing is why I don’t accept friend requests on FB from pastors in developing areas like India or Africa any more. They’re always just looking for money from rich Americans.

(David Burchard) #2

So, what’s the play? What are they after?

(Caleb Starr) #3

I always love it when people shinn like stars.

(Tim Bayly) #4

Yup, I’ve gotten that one several times and I have no idea what the play is. Only that it IS a play. Others get harder to figure out, and I don’t want my principle simply to be that I only answer North Americans. Love,

(Kipp Soncek) #5

Interesting. I too have received this email (or one like it) a couple of times. The “tells” are there (vagueness, no contact name, how would they know about me?, my expertise?, etc.).

The comment about it stirring powerful desires is so true. We pastors are being covertly trained by our Big Eva culture to conflate audience size (and scope) with being used/blessed by God. The man who has faithfully shepherded the flock of fifty for decades is not worthy of the microphone. If his work was truly of God, his church would have grown ten-fold by now, rendering him worthy to be heard. The mass-production idol factory that exists within us constantly wants to deceive into confusing (what really is) pride with faithfulness to God.

The issue I am struggling with, and I hope this doesn’t come across like a “humble brag” (as I am quite prone to those), is accepting invitations to preach/speak outside of our body. In February, I am scheduled to teach on Sunday morning for a church plant in the area that is trying to get its legs under them. While I look forward to encouraging them from God’s Word, part of me is saying inside “I don’t truly know you folks”. It’s as though I have convinced myself that I cannot be used by God to deliver His message to anyone other than the flock He has graciously given to me, those I truly know deeply. Without the depth of that knowing, my application will/must hover at the level of generality. Perhaps this is something that the Lord will help me overcome as He continues to mature me.

Sorry if that strays from the OP, but it was actually helpful to express those thoughts in writing.