Motivation

How do you inspire people to go out and spread the good news of the Gospel? If you’re these FBMI missionaries then the answer is “threaten them with this:”

slime

Their prayer letter reads in part:

“We began our annual harvest campaign during October. It has been one of the most exciting programs we have ever had. Our people have really gotten involved and are bringing more visitors than ever. Our church is divided into three groups (the Ranchers, the Share Croppers and the Gleaners) and the completion has been neck and neck. Our theme is “Fruit that Remains”. We not only give points for bringing visitors but we also increase the points each time the visitor comes back during the program. Our goal is that folks will not only visit but come enough times to feel like part of the church. We have found that negative motivation works very well, and folks will put extra effort in to avoid the “punishment” that the group with least points receives. The punishment is something unpleasant being poured on them from the balcony, such as flour, ice water and gulaman (sticky, watery gelatin desert).

The full prayer letter is available to read here(PDF).

104 thoughts on “Motivation”

    1. “Look at Jerry. He saved 22 people from eternal damnation. Now… How many did you save? Fifteen, was it? *sigh*… That’s seven fewer than Jerry. Seven souls are going to hell and burning for eternity because of your incompetence. You know what this means, don’t you? It means you’ll have to take your shirt off and put your dunce hat on becaaauuuuse it’s gulaman time!! WOOOO!”

        1. Competition among believers is clearly a biblical value that leads to unity, being of one mind and peace. And the same can be said for shame and humiliation.

  1. I guess we should revise Matthew 28:18-20

    And Jesus came and spake unto them, All power is given to me to dump yucky green stuff on you if you don’t obey. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all gimmicks the MoG has commanded you: and, lo, I am threatening you alway, even to the end of the world. Amen.

      1. Some time with my wife’s parents. Her dad is getting up in years and is in very poor health.

        I must say, marrying her gave me an extended family of a quality so much better than my own parents and sister. At one point I had made a fool of myself, apologized, and one cousin replied that it was alright. We were family, he said, and family is forever.

        Better words to an aching heart were never spoken. We go back every chance we get.

        1. Hear, hear! Spending time with those who value us is really living. My wife and I spent Thanksgiving with my 96 year old grandma in Indiana. We drive 4 hours to get there and every time she says “I sure wish you could come visit more often.” I guess I’m going to have to plan a couple extra road trips this coming year.
          Mark

  2. Sure, the philosophy back of this is a bit disturbing;however, I am more concerned with how they have infantilized the faith and turned conversionism into child’s play. How do they expect anyone to take the faith seriously? Although to be fair, I’m not sure what they are converting people to has much in common with historic Christianity.

    1. That is the issue, of course.

      Fundamentalism has markedly changed its gospel message over the years. It has emphasized non-gospel issues, such as bible versions and belief in a literal, six-day creation (and young earth). It has moved from a gospel of grace to a gospel of works to a gospel of politics and the Republican Party.

      I heard a fundamentalist say openly they believed no one could be saved if they belonged to the Democratic Party (the abortion issue and all that).

      The church is no longer a place to grow in grace, but indoctrination and regimentation. There has to be unity of thought and reliance on the word of the MoG. The emphasis of “God so loved the world” has been replaced by a “God hates you sinners and has prepared hell for you!” emphasis. Christians are actively praying for Christ to come so the world can be thrown into the Tribulation. They *want* people to suffer, die, and go to Hell!

      Really interesting ways to call hatred “love.”

      No, I do not see the historical gospel that Christ died for our sins, rose again, and is seated on high. They still profess that they believe these things, but they have cluttered it, added to it, minimized it. They say that Christ will change your life, but they don’t give the Holy Spirit any room to act on the heart. It is imitation of men, abuse of authority and creation of mindless puppets who can’t actually talk of salvation on their own, or anything about the Bible coherently.

      There may be some churches that are different. But even my own IFB church (which my wife and daughter attend) has many elements of this corruption. And the Pastor is, to my knowledge, relatively meek, not bossy nor power hungry.

      The gospel preached from the pulpit may, in its more lucid presentations from the pulpit, still look like the historical gospel. The problem is the fine print that occurs throughout the rest of the church experience. (And) not recognizing that salvation is not a one-point-in-time singular event, but a process of God working in us.

        1. Isn’t it in reality both? Jesus called salvation being “born again” — all birth certificates I’ve seen have a date and a time of birth. Jesus also talked about those that believed in Him have been passed from death unto life; a one-time past event.

          At the same time, though, we are growing in that salvation all our lives.

        2. Of course, people were not issued birth certificates back then.

          Yes, the Scripture has several analogies to salvation. “Born again” is one of them. But Scripture has several tenses for salvation. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved,” John writes in Revelation.

          I know the spiel. We have been saved from the penalty of sin, we are daily being saved from the power of sin, and we shall be saved from sin’s presence.

          But I am not so sure any more that it is as simple as that. That assumes the writers of Scripture think the same way we in 2014 do with the same ideas of tenses. Yet their language in that area was more complex than ours, and I think we may be missing some of the nuances.

          Even with birth and birth certificates, what about conception? There is Hebrews 6, which seems to indicate that people may sincerely come to Christ and partake of His power yet fall away without any recourse to repentance. This gets into any number of sticky wickets, I know. But I am reminded of the Scripture that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.”

          Can we really define when faith begins? Is Salvation the result of the person “accepting” Jesus Christ? Or is the person’s acceptance of Jesus Christ a result of the saving work of the Holy Spirit, a demonstration of salvation instead of an act required by God necessary to save the individual? Is a “work” (the act of asking to be saved) necessary for salvation which is supposed to be the gift of God, not of works?

          My children all “got saved” at a very early age. Did they really know what they were doing? Did they “do it right?” Were they “saved” on praying the prayer? Or had God been in the process of saving them, and the prayer was a part of a continuing process?

          Some people come to faith in Christ without every praying the IFB prayer. They simply believe and accept Him without every being aware of a date of salvation.

          Sorry for the length of this musing. But all things, all things are worth examining — even the fundamentalist simplification of the idea of salvation.

          And perhaps some of the IFB leaders simply are not saved at all, having never allowed themselves to be drawn to Christ. Those who have to take the lead in everything are rarely meek enough to learn as a little child. They attempt to reach out and take for themselves what must be given to them, received as a gift.

          Am I very much off track here? It is a big, big idea.

        3. God works in the lives of different people in different ways. In spite of what the fundies might say, directly or indirectly, there is no one-size-fits-all-five-step way of Salvation that you have to follow to escape the Fires of Hell. God can be at work in your life, preparing the way, long before you get “Saved” He did with me.

      1. And this is why so many are leaving the church. There is no room for critical thinking or dissent. You must follow the party line, even at the expense of yourself or others.

        1. The Bible talks about Unity Among Believers. Unfortunately, Unity means Uniformity, and not just among Fundamentalists.

  3. These “missionaries” must think they are back at jr. high camp.

    Having spent most of my life working in cross-cultural/bilingual settings, I find their lack of cultural sensitivity appalling. Most Asian cultures are “face saving”, and public shaming is not silly; it’s a disgrace. Of course, people will compete for points os that they don’t get called out publicly. And, as pointed out in other posts, putting the gospel on the level of a Nickelodeon game show really demeans the Gospel and the One who died to save us.

      1. Actually, I think that many Fundies believe that the whole point of missions is to rescue people from their (presumed to be) inferior cultures and make them more like us (“us” being white, Protestant, ultraconservative Americans).

        1. I question your fundy card, sir. Everyone knows that the IFB isn’t a Protestant bunch. They trace their lineage right back to the Apostles (sounds like another Christian group I know of).

        2. If they aren’t Protestant, why are they always protesting about one thing or another? They never lack for something to complain about?

    1. This. Plus the fact that they are probably in the Philippines trying to “save the Catholics.” Because saving Muslims is way too scary. 😮

      Don’t get me started.

      1. I agree CGC.. Know that over 83% of those in the Islands there are Roman Catholic!! They are not spending their money wisely. Go somewhere where people have not heard the Gospel !

    2. Lol!

      We had one youth camp where they decided to humiliate the losing team by letting the winning team throw water balloons and flour at them while they stood against the wall. There were enough people that decided to just not participate in any competition that they scrapped that idea and went back to old school “the winning team wins!” celebration.

      It’s bad enough being insecure as a teenager, and humiliated by losing a competition. No need to make things worse!

      1. I am actually impressed that some IFB teens rejected the abuse during a camp (where they are more vulnerable). In the past I have seen too many teens be over submissive to abusive authority. If only more would speak out and say “no”.

        1. The teens are trained by church, church school, and home to always submit to authority without question. That is very wrong , but this unhealthy focus on submission is why I am surprised the teens stood up against it. Not blaming the kids that don’t. I just wanted to make that clear.

      1. I didn’t realize it was archaic. I thought that was the proper way to say/spell it. Maybe due in part to my Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, latest copyright 1983, that I still use. (Deluxe Second Edition)

        I have it because I couldn’t afford the OED.

    1. Amen!

      If you want to compete, at least be honest, and base the competition on our part, which is to be a witness to the truth. It is NOT our job to “save” them, or to convict them of sin. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, and the sinner must decide to come to Christ.

      Never compete on the number of people saved or baptized – there is too great a chance of them merely stating a prayer and trusting in that prayer without being converted… now, they think they are saved, but are lost. This is too dangerous a game to play with someone’s eternity.

      I’m just appalled at this practice.

  4. For it has been reported to me by SFL people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow The gleaners,” or “I follow The ranchers,” or “I follow the share croppers,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Were the gleaners crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of The ranchers? (AV)–Admiral’s Version

  5. Just exactly how are “ranchers”, “share croppers”, and “gleaners” culturally relevant to Filipinos?

    Oh, yeah. The passage about “go ye therefore and make little bastions of Anglo-Euro-American culture….” –whatever that may be.

    1. The belief in Christ’s resurrection is not what makes them act so badly.

      I would be careful, though, about wishing imprisonment upon all funnies for hate crimes. First of all, most fundies are not guilty of such things. Second, when beliefs can be construed as crimes, your wish for the innocent to suffer could be construed as a hate crime. You could go to jail — with them!

      You will be judged with the same measure you use to judge others. (AKA “karma’s a b***h!”)

  6. That is absolutely ridiculous. If people are not motivated to serve the Lord out of love for Christ and the hope of a heavenly reward, then they are doing it for the wrong reason.

    1. This is just another example of IFB pragmatism. Whatever gets them in the door. I have seen all kinds of examples of this:

      Giving away expensive electronic door prizes in a drawing

      Guests who are big name sports heroes or popular politicians (a rare non-IFB guest allowed to speak from the IFB pulpit)

      Martial arts evangelists throwing sharp objects at teens who were holding balloons in their mouths (no permission slips requested, of course)

      Special circus-style activities – with clowns too

      Just more of the same.

    2. I’m more concerned about how the newcomers may feel.

      It reminds of those movies where the girl who fell in love with a guy found out that she was just part of a competition between her new boyfriend and his buddies. A classic plot for about 80% of all romance movies!

    3. In my mind, all that is needed is the Love of Christ. Hope of heavenly reward? Well, as the Scriptures indicate, those heavenly rewards can be lost to your screw-ups. Let no man rob you of your reward and works being judged and burnt and all that.

      It seems to me that looking for heavenly rewards is the wrong motive. It is an off-put of the Me Me Me attitude that plagues fundamentalism. What about thinking seriously about the welfare of others? What about actually investing your time and life in the service of others? Really loving them, as in creating a relationship the “lost” cannot break?

      I know what has happened to me as a result of wanting to know Christ and His power better. Shouldn’t that be enough? Better than “stars in my crown”?

      The reason fundies have to resort to garbage of this sort is because their message is without power and they don’t know what it is to be saved from something.

    4. Even “hope of a heavenly reward” isn’t quite right. It’s saying, “God, If I bring in 20 new people you’ll guarantee me a spot on your right hand, okay?”

  7. And who wants to feel like the notch on someone’s belt?

    “I invited you to church just so I could avoid having crap dumped on my head by the sadistic missionary.”

    What kind of friend invites someone into such a sick situation?

    1. Behavioral psychology actually says that punishment as a form of conditioning should be avoided whenever possible.
      The reason is that punishment creates complicated emotional reactions in the subject– not an unambiguous desire to cooperate.
      Most good animal trainers use only rewards, not punishments, as training stimuli. Lack of cooperation or undesirable behavior is met by negative reinforcement (simply withholding rewards), not punishment (punishment being the deliberate causing of pain or discomfort).

      1. Ahhh, but who refers to behavioral psychology? Use the Bible, which prescribes stoning for disrespectful children, captivity for not observing the Lord’s sabbaths, slavery for debt, vipers for complaining, and death for being the wrong nationality.

        All negative reinforcements. Getting dunked with green goo is so tame, relatively!

        1. That was the Old Testament. The fundies like to live in the Old Testament, Or they would if UnGodly laws about Justice didn’t get in the way. I thought the rules changed when Jesus came, died and rose again. I guess I was wrong.

  8. Regarding Darrell’s hover text:

    hat is absolutely true! I know of a fundy preacher’s wife who had to claim “white” status at BJU before she could date, and subsequently marry, her pastey white all-anglo future fundy dictator since she was half Asian.

    True story among many more just like it.

    At that time if your were half black you couldn’t claim white status because you looked too non-white. Another true story.

    Crazy.

    B.R.O.

    1. I can confirm this. I knew one white/Asian male student at BJ who could date whomever he wished because he ‘looked’ white. A Korean/white friend of mine could not because she ‘looked’ Asian. She eventually left the school.

  9. It also should be pointed out that they are misusing the term “negative motivation”. Negative motivation is about removing not adding, which can come in the form of either a pleasant or unpleasant removal. So what they are doing is positive motivation….which just happens to be of the unpleasant variety. At least this is how Psychology defines negative motivation. But aside from that nit picky detail, what they are doing is horrifying and sad in the extreme and does nothing to further the true gospel or glorify the Father.

  10. Hi Courtney and Ester:
    It was good to read your latest prayer letter regarding all of the success you are having the field in the Philippines. Thank you for sending.
    The prayer letter arrived at a providential time as I was just feeling led to send you a substantial love gift. However, upon seeing the news that you saw over 1,000 people saved and brought into your church, it is obvious that you don’t need my gift. I’m sure you would agree that my gift is best spent at my home church where we have not seen 1,000 people saved all year — in fact, your church is now larger than ours! It is apparent to me that others who do not have your results, abilities, and superior motivational techniques would be better beneficiaries of a substantial gift.
    Speaking of the motivational techniques of dropping fluids from the balcony onto church members and visitors, this is very intriguing. I would like to introduce this technique into our church, but I don’t want to do it wrong. Perhaps the next time you visit our church the two of you would be willing to demonstrate this technique by being the receivers of the pouring.
    Looking forward to it!

  11. I have seen humiliating stunts like this in person. Instead of being motivated by the love of Christ, people are compelled to act to avoid embarrassment. Resentment is common if the victims are able to endure the mindless public spectacle. My test for the orthodoxy of such stunts is would Jesus do this with His disciples. It not, we have no business shaming the sheep with such falderal.

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