This is a series by Athena Dean Holtz on Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) in the Church. Click here to read part one in the series.
Who do you know?
It became easy for me to use and abuse my relationships in the church to get where I wanted to go. My standard line went something like this: “John, I know how busy you are with your ministry, but who do you know who might be interested in earning an extra $500 to $1,000 a month part time?” Of course, my intention was to recruit John. By using this backdoor approach I learned from another top producer, I found people more open to listening to my pitch. My goal was to find or create relationships with those in the church who had influence with large numbers of people. I would do so by asking for their help. I would find people with followings and then asked if they could help me out by referring me to others who might need what I had. Pastors, their wives, and anyone involved in the ministry were ideal targets. So many people would want to help them; I felt it would be simple for them to build a business.
“Jane, we’ve got so many other people in the ministry involved,” I’d say convincingly. “It has proven to be a great way to fund new projects and help with additional ministry expenses. And it’ll be easy for you to build your business fast as there will be so many people who will want to help you.”
I justified my practices with the thoughts of the good I knew I could do with the money. Why, I could fund the printing and distribution of Revilee, Point Man’s free newspaper for vets. After all, printing and mailing 25,000 to 50,000 copies required money! I could help underwrite the new building project at church, as well as take on a few more foreign missionaries. Denial ruled and greed kicked in. I was blind to the lie I bought that the end justifies the means. Ideas of moving up to a nicer house with a view, trading in my car for a newer, more expensive model, taking the family on a cruise, buying a new wardrobe, and having extra spending money began to crowd out the godly things I planned for the money.
I was so busy working, I never really listened for God’s voice. I just did whatever I thought sounded good and then asked God to bless it! Eager to build my business fast, I spent freely on advertising in newspapers, on the radio, and upgrading offices, all the while operating without a budget. I was addicted to work and liked being in control. I wanted to build a big business for the recognition I would receive more than I wanted to glorify God. I’m ashamed to say that I was more excited about making money then I was about Jesus!
The more I look back and analyze my behavior (not my words), all I can hear is 1 John:15-16… I was trying my best to make loving the world and the things of the world a godly thing, and God just won’t bless that.
Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.