As Bob Dealey saw the number of spam messages in his e-mailbox increasing, he didn't get irritated — he got creative. Pastor of Our Lord Lutheran Church, Maryville, Ill., Dealey decided to consider each spam message as an evangelism opportunity.
"Thank you for your recent e-mail and the invitation to try your new product," he graciously begins each reply. After telling the sender he isn't interested in the product, he extends an invitation to come to worship. He concludes: "If you do have a church home, we pray for God's richest blessings upon you and your family."
What's the result? "My spam has increased almost tenfold--from five or six a day to 40 or 50," Dealey said. "The reply proves it's an active account." And though no recipient has visited the congregation, Dealey isn't deterred from his high-tech attempt to cast bread upon the waters. "Here's a way God has provided us with a vehicle to reach out to others," he said. "Obviously we'll probably never know the effect it has. But I take seriously what Paul says, 'Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel' (1 Corinthians 9:16)."
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