In a previous post, I challenged the use of mass mailings because of the negative impressions they leave with many people. I also noted that we could easily be confused with Jehovah's Witnesses. Little did I know that I would find such strong proof that this is the case.
The evangelistic series I was a part of used the slogan, "What's Next?" which played on the fact that this was the 100 year anniversary of the SF earthquake. We sent out copies of The Great Controversy to virtually everyone in SF as well as pamphlets advertising the series.
I came across this blog which features a group of people blogging about everyday life in San Francisco. Interestingly, someone actually posted about receiving our pamphlet in the mail and was obviously not impressed. The comments were also less than gracious. Just a sampling of what was written:
"Glad you told me what it was, I assumed it was the new Watchtower."
"wow, maybe it's a citywide sweep! should get an '06 award for "best regional exploitation of history and fear by a fundie group", then..."
"I got one in the mail, and thought "Great! This will tell me how to prepare for the earthquake/tsumami/swarm of locusts that try to kill me in the near future. I put it on my counter (this was, of course, after watching the Discovery Channel special "America's Tsumami - Are we next?") When I came home later, it was gone. My boyfriend said "I threw out that cult thing, guess you won't get saved." Silly me."
"Just a note, this booklet actually comes from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. After going to whats-next.org (from the back page) you can find a link to bibleinfo.com and eventually another link to the maker of the booklet, the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I wonder why they hide themselves so well? if it is really the truth they have, they would not have to hide themselves. comments?"
I'm not suggesting that this would be the majority position. I think most people threw it in the trash without even thinking twice. However, I think that we need to consider not only how many people we baptize through a series, but how many people we completely turn off through our methodology. In our case, we probably turned off a lot more people than we reached.