Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Unsolicited ministry email appeals
Below is an email that came to our church account this morning:
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,
My name is Pastor M. I am serving a small congregation started one year ago. We are ministering house to house ministry we have not gone far in spiritual and I my hands I am taking care of 15 orphans who’s how had problem of food, clothes, shelter, and school fees.
It is my humbly request to join us for this orphans with any merciful support God can touch your hearts I will be happy to hear your kind response on that. We are inviting you to come here in Kenya and share with us.
Yours Pastor M.
I get at least one or two emails like this nearly every week. Perhaps they glean the email from our church website or from sermonaudio.com. I read a news report this morning noting that 40% of the world’s population is now online. There are several possibilities with this email. First, it could legitimately be from a Pastor in Kenya who is seeking help in his ministry and for the care of orphans. On the other hand, it could be a complete farce.
I do not have the time to investigate such unsolicited requests for help, and it would be poor stewardship of my time to do so. I have absolutely no idea where this email is coming from. It could be coming from Kenya, the Ukraine, or from someone down the street.
Even if this really came from a person in Kenya, I have absolutely no way to know anything about this man. He could be a charlatan seeking to get funds from naïve, "wealthy" Americans by tugging on their heart strings about orphans. On the other hand, he could really be a Pastor in Kenya trying to take care of orphans. Even then, I know nothing of this man’s theology. He could be part of a cult with heterodox views. He could be raising these children to believe false doctrine. He could be mistreating them.
The point is that I know nothing about the person who sent this email or to verify and investigate its content. Even if legitimate, I cannot go to Kenya. I cannot observe this man’s life and ministry on a day to day basis. I know no one in Kenya who could give me a reliable report of his character and ministry. Even if I knew something of him both I and my church have already made decisions about the stewardship of funds for missions and mercy ministries, and we give to legitimate ministries that we can confidently support. Therefore, I cannot respond to this email and can offer no help.
I state all this (which is probably already obvious to most others who also receive these kinds of emails) to provide some warning and counsel to others (who may be less familiar with these kinds of appeals). Apparently some well meaning folk do respond to such emails, and this is what keeps them coming.