I was recently contacted via my contact form on this website to speak at a conference at Victory Church in London. Immediately, I felt there was something fishy about the email, but the reason for suspicion turned out to be a completely different reason than I thought. The invitation or initial contact sounded something like this:
The event organizing committee had a meeting few hours ago to deliberate on getting you available here in the United Kingdom after receiving your letter. We believe we serve the Lord of Possibilities. Arrangements are stated below.
We have attached a formal Letter of Invitation and contract agreement. Please reconfirm to us your Mailing Address and Cell phone number for our perusal and further action. Note you are meant to arrive a day before the commencement of the event.
Please return a signed copy of the contract agreement for proper documentation.
We have agreed to take care of your hotel accommodation expenses, feeding and ground transportation including airline ticket booking.
Of course, I went and checked out their website and the staff page indicated that the person who was contacting me was in fact on staff there as well as his appearance on other social media networks. This was certainly not a bot or a scam sequence, but inevitably two questions kept nagging me:
- What are their views of women in ministry?
- How would they have know me?
So, I continued to researched and turns out that neither of those questions mattered because, thankfully, others had experience the same thing:
But, it is clearly a scam. I don’t know where the scam lies, but I suspect money would be requested of me when I tried to get a work permit (the email address of the UK border staff looks decidedly suspicious). Or perhaps they would ask for my bank account information to give me the $7500 deposit and then would drain it instead.
It’s a hard time to be a minister with budgets being cut and full positions being combined to save money, so unfortunately most of us can imagine what it would be like to work for 5 days and make the kind of money it takes months and months to make.
I share hopefully to help some others out there who might also be contacted, but also to say, stay the course. The work is hard and exhausting and you, my fellow ministers, probably aren’t being paid enough, but you are changing lives and you are changing the world.