Abductive Columns

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Creative Missional Engagement

I am beginning this new ministry to the missing by asking them to assess the Sunday morning church event. Here's the inital dialogue with my first encounter and the follow-up email.

"Welcome to Arbys. Would you like to try one of our Market Fresh Sandwiches?"

"No, I'd like one of your Martha Vineyard salads and a diet Pepsi."

"Ok, that will be $6.49. Please pull around to the first window."

After pulling around I greet the young lady. "Hello, how are you?"

"I'm fine. Wow, it's not that cold but the wind makes it feel much colder than it is."

"Is it too cold to ask you a question?"

"No, what is it?"

"I'm a field reporter with Off-The-Map out of Seattle, Washington and I'm looking for someone who doesn't attend church and would be willing to go and sit and observe and then give me some analysis of what they see. Do you attend church?"


It's really simple and no commitment is required. Just observe, fill out a questionnaire for me and I pay you $25. Would you be interested?"

"That's awesome. Yes, I'd be interested!"

"Great, How can we communicate? Do you want to give me your phone number or email address?"

"Let's do email."

"Ok, do you regularly check your email?"


"What's your name?"


"Hi, Beth, I'm Fred."

"Hello Fred"

Beth gives me her email address, my salad and I drive away.
That afternoon I email Beth....

Hello Beth,

Fred Peatross of Off-The-Map…the guy you met at Arby's drive-through window who mentioned a $25 gift for going to a church, observing and then doing an assessment of what you saw. You could do this on this Sunday (1-23-05) or the next Sunday (1-30-05). Either will work. Email me and tell me your preference.

You would arrive at the Norway Avenue Church of Christ at 10:15 am without telling anyone the real reason you're there. Just take a seat, sit and observe. Of course if you want you can mingle with the people, but don't reveal the secret!

After you email me with the Sunday you prefer, I will get you a questionnaire. I can drive it by Arbys if you tell me when you work. Then you can look over the questionnaire before you go, take it with you if you want, but fill it out after your church experience. When you fill it out I'd like some in depth analysis. This is always more helpful than one sentence comments. Then I will come to Arbys and pick up the questionnaire and pay you $25 (not bad for a couple hours of observing, hun?)

An example of a couple questions would be:

1. As you sat an observed did the people seem sincere? Forced? Fake?

2. Tell us what you think we are trying to do with our approach to "having church?"

I'll wait to hear from you. Thanks Beth.

Mr. Peatross

I would like to do this next Sunday, Jan. 30; so that I can ask to be off work. I will be at Arby's btween at least 11am and 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sorry it took me so long to return your email.



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