One of the surprising elements of the pastorate (now that I have been in one for three months) is sleazy Christian telemarketing. It is, from my limited experience, more dishonest than is secular equivalent.
Every Friday evening when I arrive at my church office, there is at least one telemarketing message on my answering machine. It'll generally run something like this:
This is a call for Pastor. You may not remember, but we spoke on the phone a couple of months ago. Did you know that 450% of Christians have never read the entire Bible? In fact, a recent survey showed that not a single Christian could name the Book of Genesis as being in the Bible. From our last conversation, I know that you too are very concerned about this lack of basic Biblical literacy in America today. That's why I want you to know about this new book that I've been using my church called....
And so on. What is so irritating about Christian telemarketers that I have encountered is:
1. Pretending to know me. They're assuming that I'm so busy that I can't keep track of who I speak to. Addressing me as "Pastor" instead of my name at any point is a dead give-away that this is a cold call. When they act as though we've met, they're lying. Lying has no place in any Christian business. Period.
2. Guilt-tripping me when I don't buy their product. When I actually get one on the phone, Christian telemarketers have laid heavy guilt trips on me when I'm not interested in bankrupting my church to by their product or hire their speaker. They've questioned my fidelity to Christ and fitness for ministry. As I previously wrote, I'm not buying it.
As any person with a phone, I've had my share of secular telemarketing calls. But their Christian equivalent are in a league of their own for sheer sleaziness.