This is a series of articles about real world problems that churches often find difficult to handle. They are presented in the form of emails for ease of conversation but can come in many different ways.
Disclaimer: All the names are made up and in no way identify actual people nor does the author assume responsibility for the opinion expressed in the response.
This is a very common request that happens to churches everywhere. You receive a bill or an email or a letter about something that you may not actually have done in the past nor would want to do into the future. The give-away in the example is of course the request for credit card information which is a sure sign that this is a scam. However that is not always the case. Every church would love to have travelers and newcomers in their congregation so there is a certain amount of temptation to say yes, however experience shows that this is not an effective tool for evangelism. Since a very high percentage of all visitors come from your web page or other social media and that almost every traveler has an electronically connected device of one kind or other these are still not a good use of church funds.
In a word this is the kind of thing to say “PASS”. Spending for this is much like ads in the high school yearbook or athletic programs. If you do it at all it is an accommodation to being “local” community member but certainly has nothing to do with bring in visitors or new members. Yellow pages ads are vestigial in terms of effectiveness or cost benefit ratio for churches. Do not be pressured into spending church funds on these kinds of items. They are not good stewardship for almost every church. An easy way to handle this kind of request is to refer the salesperson to an Evangelism Committee or group at the church. Common sense on committees will overcome most any sales persuasion. It is why we have committees, and usually sales people will not pursue further contact because they know that.
The exception may be when members (or youth) are the sales people but again that’s when committee’s common sense will win the day.