I was listening to a recent “The American Life” episode about bait and switch stories. I was surprised to hear them include a debate within Evangelicalism about effective and appropriate evangelism.
Direct link here.
Though I don’t have a strong affection for many of the methods Campus Crusade for Christ uses I found myself getting a bit defensive about their presentation of them as a “bait and switch” (as described by an ex-Evangelical). But I noticed my heart rate come down when they introduced an Evangelical who is seeking different methods to introduce people to our message. (It was an opportunity to feel empathetic to Mormons about ex-Mormon narratives)
I think there is a lot that can be said about Evangelicals not simply viewing people as “sales marks” and a lot more to be said about not introducing people to opportunities that feel like a trap has been set. But I thought the host, Ira Glass, posed an excellent objection to Jim Henderson‘s alternative which seems to be “all bait and no switch”. Evangelicals need to find ways to authentically, courageously and regularly engage friends and strangers about spiritual matters and at the same time abandon convert oriented mindsets.
You can hear the entire episode here.