August has been evangelism season for Stephen Bennett Ministries:

After taking a break in 2005, it’s time to rev the Bennett evangelism engine back up in 2006 to go to WorldPride in Jerusalem.

My first impression, on reading this, was Huh? A Christ-centric Jews-for-Jesus outreach… to Israel??? I had to re-skim it and grab hold of the concept of a WorldPride event, and that the Bennett ministry has portrayed itself as an International Ministry, without yet speaking of Stephen travelling beyond Canada, until now.

The ministry created a logo for its evangelism campaign (at right).

But, wait a minute, the ministry’s logo bears an eerie resemblance to the image from this page, apart from replacing a rainbow puzzle-piece globe with a rainbow flag. And, swapping a photo of a rainbow flag and a crowd for an photo which includes rainbow-colored balloons.

Turns out, the balloons are found just a little lower on the same page.

Where does a good Christian evangelist go after stealing adapting an adversary’s logo to promote his own campaign? Directly to fundraising, of course.

The ministry says it needs $35,000 and that $2,500 will pay one evangelist’s hotel, airfare and food. The 2004 fundraising appeal gave clues about the anticipated cost of leaflets, t-shirts and gift bags, unlike this one. If materials and overhead costs are $5K or so, they’re looking at evangelizing 300,000 people with a crew of 12.

Sure, Jesus’ disciples ultimately reached hundreds of millions.

Not in 6 days, though.

The Bennett ministry had apparently reached out to its core funders prior to announcing the evangelism campaign, because its first online publicity included a small scrolling box to thank donors. The scroll rate is slow enough for donors to catch their name, donation amount, and a thank-you message, yet fast enough to give the impression that a small avalanche of eager donors is pouring money into the ministry.

The truth? The list scrolls 17 donors and donations and/or pledges totalling $10.5K. Seven are under $50, six are at $100, one each are at $300, $1K, $2.5K, and $6K. No mention yet of AFA or CWA financial support as claimed in 2003.

I salute Stephen and his ministry for steering clear of the temptation to think that, if getting a few busloads of evangelists from New England to P-Town looked like a $50K (and later a $25K) project, that carrying a group to Israel would naturally be a $250K project.

But, if he and his funders want to be honest with themselves about where they’re at, what they wish to accomplish, in the context of what they have a reasonable chance of achieving via WorldPride (apart from shallow self-promotion), it’s time for them to examine the personal, moral, and spiritual depth that is likely to characterize folks attending WorldPride Jerusalem participants.

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