Saturday, February 05, 2005

Why did JFJ Witnessing Campaigns have to be so hard?

Why did JFJ's Witnessing Campaigns have to be so hard?

Why couldn't we have just done a noon sortie and a rush hour sortie and enjoyed New York City a bit?

We would have still had a full day. We could spend the mornings enjoying New York or we could have done some writing or studying. Maybe we could have sung songs or had a bible study.

After the noon sortie, we could have had the time to perhaps go to lunch or explore New York. Maybe we'd fit in a nap?

We could done a rush hour sortie so that we'd have the evenings free to take advantage of the New York nightlife or sing together or just watch a movie. Or maybe we could have used the time for evangelism and actually enjoyed sharing the gospel with those who were willing to hear.

If we had not had to be out so late and had to wake up so early, maybe we would not have been so, so exhausted. Maybe we wouldn't have dreaded going out on the streets?

Maybe people would have returned year after year to go on Campaign?


Anonymous said...

The problem with taking Campaigners to the exhaustion point was that any joy related to evangelism disappeared.

Before going on Campaign, I think I may have actually loved sharing the gospel. JFJ turned it into torture.

What would have been wrong with one sortie a day even? Volunteers would have returned home so happy and excited about what they'd done that summer.

Instead, we left Campaign never wanting to volunteer again. I remember a Senior Missionary once saying that the best way to lose a good JFJ volunteer was for him to go on Campaign.

Anonymous said...

They might have had to turn eager volunteers away! Instead, they turned people into zombies through overwork.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, campaigning was exhausting. OTOH, we took pride in the fact that we were working so very hard, and that no one else was going to do it. We also developed a new sense of what we were capable of. As to whether our work was effective or not, that is another question.

In my view, its greatest effect of broadsiding was in generating statistics. With the passage of years, broadsiiding has become a decreasingly valid communications strategy, and in fact, it is counterproductive. How many people really want to consider becoming one of those people standing on the corner sweaty, exhausted, in jeans and T-shirts, handing out thousands of pieces of paper to those who walk by? Despite the urban legend of people respecting those with the conviction to stand there in that manner, is it not obviouse that the vast majority of Jewish people find JFJ people on street-corners to be most unattractive as role models for themselves or their children? Is it not certain that sophisticated people do not look to find their most personal spiritual orientation through eight and half by eleven pieces of paper passed out by the thousands. And frankly, is it not certain that the only people who by and large are positively impressed by broadsiding are a certain narrow band of conservative Christians? The foregoing being the case, who is the REAL target of broadidiing and what is the real practical goal? I know this sounds cynical: it is that. But consider the facts.

Anonymous said...

Now I live such a completely different life than in the JFJ cult, when people try and thrust paper into my hands on the street and then give me a hardsell on something, it comes as an unwelcome intrusion however great the product might be.
I recall having to stay up all night in the emergency room with a colleague who had been assaulted... then I was not given the day off the next day but told I had to put in a full day... I was so exhausted I nearly fell over trying to communicate "the joy of the Lord".
I think JFJ found a "modus operandi" that may have worked in a certain way, at a certain time, for a certain group of people, these days people are tired of it.

Anonymous said...

I think this posting is off the mark. Remember that JFJ uses a quasi-military vocabulary. Broadsiding expeditions are called "sorties," the term "cadre" is bandied about, and these evangelistic blitzes are called "campaigns," another term used in the military. The esprit de corps nurtured in these endeavors was that JFJ was like the Marines, going in to do the job others realized needed to be done, but only the Marines would do. Such endeavors by their very nature must involve everyone working at full capacity, extending themselves well beyond their normal limits. Pining for one sortie a day and nights at the theater is like assuming that all soldiers in Iraq should get up to five hours a day for TV watching and playing with their Gameboys. Whether campaigns were effective or counterproductive is another issue. But iin the nature of the case, campaigns, like war, had to be grueling.

Anonymous said...

I think MR, with his fascination for the military model, realised when you have people pulling together in adverse situations, you bond together and feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Young people who have made a decision for Christ and are jacked up on this experience may well decide that JFJ is right for them. And for some, it may well be true.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that JFJ is/was right for anybody.

JFJ did use Campaign to see who could really perform. Yes, Campaign was a test to pick out potential JFJ staff (or potential suckers.)

Anonymous said...

When I was on Campaign, a bunch of young Jewish people started harrassing me. I was not doing well; there were just too many of them. I was out-numbered, and I knew it was a lost cause.

Then a bunch of kids from Campus Crusade heard me being harrassed and began sharing Jesus with the young Jewish people (in JFJ lingo: the GBs were sharing Y'shua with the UJs who were hostile with the JB Campaigner).

Anyway...the Campus Crusade kids were on their own summer missionary experience in NYC and were really excited about Jesus and I watched incredible one on one encounters as these excited kids shared Jesus with the young Jewish people.

They kids from Campus Crusade were not exhausted like I was and the young Jewish people really enjoyed talking about why they believed and the Campus Crusade people did a lot more than all the JFJ Campaigners did that day.

So...why did JFJ campaigners have to do useless passing out of thousands of broadsides and be beyond exhaustion too? My feeling: just so JFJ could say they did over and above all other missionary organizations, create an annoying presence in NYC every summer, and give donors a reason to give more and more money.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it: exhaustion was required so the senior staff member who lead the campaign could report "record" numbers back to HQ.

I remember one particular senior staff member who didn't do anything herself (stayed back in the airconditioned NY building or met with "important" people--so she could feel important) but demanded "record numbers" each day.

Campaign wasn't about people making genuine decisions for Christ but about her and how she looked to her "peers."