I love the interaction on this blog in the comment section. There are some very insightful people reading this blog and time and again, they help steer the direction of the blog posts as it stirs something in my mind. (Hint: if you want me to cover a topic in the blog, leave comments!)
A reader had this comment regarding the new DexKnows review that was posted and then buried by church members’ reviews:
Great comment! That particular comment reminded me that the BGBC website recently had a new makeover. It’s interesting that they revised their website amidst a civil lawsuit. It’s also intriguing that they are very quick to manipulate reviews forum regarding Beaverton Grace Bible Church. (By manipulation, I mean they edit their former review – even as slight as a simple word change – which causes their review to go to the top of the reviews in more prominent view.) The brand new DexReview posted yesterday was shoved down within hours of posting by church members editing their earlier reviews. Both of those actions on the church website and review sites have to do with creating an image or public perception. Make a note of that.
Check this out. Do a quick Google search using the following words in the search field: Beaverton Grace Bible Church reviews.
You should see a number of review sites come up: Google.com, DexKnows, Yelp.com, (wow, I just found a lot more), Kudzo.com, merchantcircle.com, local.yahoo.com, yellowpages.com, businessfinder.oregonlive.com, yellowbot.com, (ok, when I did this a while back, I saw maybe five review sites . . . there are definitely far more review sites than I was aware of), insiderpages.com, radarfrog.gatehousemedia.com, superpages.com, switchboard.com, judysbook.com, shopinusa.com, yellowpages.aol.com, http://www.b2byellowpages.com, http://west.favecentral.com, http://www.fyple.com – – –
UnREAL!!! I had no idea there were that many sites. Not surprising, in the review sites which had actual reviews, some familiar user names pop up – – user names from current church members recognizeable from the Google and DexKnows popular review sites. Church members seem to be canvassing the internet for review sites to create the 5-star image for their beloved church. Note the key word “image” again.
Let’s talk about something else besides those reviews, though.
While we were at Beaverton Grace Bible Church, it was of utmost importance to get those sermons out on KPDQ radio station and into the homes all over Portland and surrounding areas. Chuck O’Neal’s sermons were posted on Sermon Audio website and the pastor’s blog was active and interactive with comments from readers engaging Chuck on the blog. The church had begun videotaping sermons and uploading them on the internet to get the sermons out into all the world. I remember thinking how amazing it was that people from all corners of the world would be able to hear Chuck’s sermons (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”). If I remember correctly, we heard feedback from Chuck regarding the areas of the world which were accessing the videos/sermons. They were exciting times. What’s happening now?
In addition to the sermons and blog posts, videos were made of their evangelism efforts – at Jehovah’s Witness convention, Mormon’s temple, etc. Additionally, videotapes were made of church car washes held a number of times each summer. Chuck was very proud of his evangelism methods and techniques and wanted to help others – people from all over the world – how to evangelize and share the gospel. Using modern technology with video and internet enabled Chuck to bring his methods of evangelism and help others to learn his evangelistic tools. That was an amazing idea and a great use of modern technology in the advance of the gospel.
Chuck continually gave the congregants feedback on the popularity of his sermons, read the comments people made to the congregation and discussed the conversations he had with complete strangers he came in contact with via the internet who came across his blogs/sermons/videos.
Along with those evangelism efforts included the church’s summer car wash outreach. People who thought they were getting their car washed for free, “paid” by listening to a free evangelism message. This was another opportunity for church members to have a captive audience and evangelize – to get the message out into all the world – or at least their local neighborhood.
Where is this evangelism focus now? For a church whose emphasis is on the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible and a very strong emphasis on evangelism as they note on their website, we have not been seeing that emphasis in action in the past few months and where the rubber meets the road as it had been in the past: on the internet. Those of us who attended the church during the exciting internet and radio ministry times can certainly see something amiss and a changed focus despite what the newly revised website claims.
In the new and improved church website, we can read about a new girls’ program, “Bonnet Brigade” (including a photo showing young girls wearing bonnets working together on projects) and a new Bible study for young men. The website definitely seems more family-friendly, not the war-like appearance or theme we saw earlier. New makeover = image and appearance.
But why are no more sermons posted (it’s been nearly 8 months)? No more videos? No more blog posts?
Is image more important than the gospel message?
1 Samual 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Why the need to change the image of the website? Why the need to be the top 3-5 review posts on review sites? Is it all about the image? Could they be in damage control and could they have lost their primary stated focus?
Damage control definition from Merriam-Webster.com: measures taken to offset or minimize damage to reputation, credibility, or public image caused by a controversial act, remark, or revelation
I’m seeing inconsistencies – which perfectly underscores the theme I noticed when I was there: say one thing, do the other and maintain a good image. Under normal conditions, no one in their right mind would be picking apart a church’s website and reviews. It’s trivial and petty. However, these are not normal circumstances. It’s rare to have a church and pastor sue former congregants and the lawsuit only compels one to take a closer look and see what really is going on. This blog is serving to highlight what Chuck and the Church are already conveying publicly, and to show the inconsistencies in their message.
I’ve copied this verse from BGB website on their focus section. The word “focus” would imply that they are striving to make this the center of attention. Let’s read this important verse:
“and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn aside their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
2 Timothy 3:15-4:5
Does the focus mentioned here match the actions we see publicly? What is at the heart of the activity we can see publicly? What fruit do we see? The Bible uses the word “fruit” to illustrate the health of the Believer as noted in this verse:
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The only fruit I’m seeing publicly is this: damage control (measures taken to offset or minimize damage to reputation, credibility, or public image caused by a controversial act, remark, or revelation).
I have to throw this in here. Blogger has a tool that allows me to see what search phrases people use to find this site. Here is today’s chart of search phrases. Check out the last line. I love to laugh!
PS – Note to the “webmistress” (if it’s the same person I think it is) of the BGBC website: FYI – there’s a tech glich with the “blog” section on my Apple computer. When clicking the “blog” link and then a blog title, the right side of the blog posts are cut off and covered by the right-side bar. With the lawsuit, I don’t feel comfortable e-mailing, but I always appreciate it when someone tells me something is funky with my blog. 🙂