Though bait and switch most often refers to the retail realm, it can also apply in many other areas as this definition from Wikipedia clarifies: "Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud, most commonly used in retail sales but also applicable to other contexts."
The Wikipedia article goes on to describe how bait and switch is used in many areas of contemporary life including the obvious teaser rates for the airline and travel industry, hotel and resort pictures that show non-existent levels of excellence, dating sites that post fake profiles, and methods of authoring legislation that hide the complete intent of a proposed bill.
This use of bait and switch, of a headline or link promising one thing, but not delivering what was expected, has become so pervasive in the media that many readers are no longer shocked or outraged, but meekly and quietly assume that you can't trust much of what you read or hear and if you get taken in by false of misleading claims, you, the reader, simply were not careful enough.
Caveat emptor, "Let the buyer beware," may be the rule for anything we read from the secular market place, but it should not need to be our response to communications from writers and organizations that claim Jesus as Lord. Sadly, this isn't always the case.
Remember who you represent
Christian communicators serve the Savior who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
We are Christ's ambassadors, as 2 Cor. 5:20 says, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God"
Let that sink in. As a Christian communicator, you speak for God. A core description of your communications should be that they are true.
To make that practical to you in your church communication work, following, I'll discuss:
- How the reality that we are Christ's ambassadors applies in Christian communication
- Some overall guidance on how we should communicate as ambassadors
- Two examples of bait and switch in Christian communications
- Application and advice on how not to be guilty of bait and switch in your communications