If you visit the website for Life Promotions, the ministry of Bob Lenz, you’ll see how Lenz, very explicitly, wants to bring people to Christ.
That’s not a problem on its own. The problem is that Lenz has given talks at the New Ulm Public Schools in Minnesota, and like many other Christian ministries, the way he threads this needle is that he gives an ostensibly secular motivational presentation to kids during the school day… but invites kids to come back (with their parents and friends) to an evening presentation where he tries to convert everyone.
That’s why the Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging the district to stop partnering with the ministry.
A parent reports that during one of these in-school assemblies, flyers were handed out inviting students to an evening session featuring an illusionist and offering free pizza. The evening performance began with Lenz saying “Here’s what we couldn’t tell you at school…” and proceeded with an overtly religious message. The kids had to chant and pray. Bibles were handed out.
Additionally, this complainant reports, children’s personal information was collected by the group, and they have not received a satisfactory explanation on how this information will be used. The parent believed this would be a continuation of the school event, but it wasn’t. Though the children could have left anytime, as young teenagers in a full gym of their peers, they didn’t feel comfortable leaving; they felt stuck. The complainant’s oldest child came home in tears.
It should go without saying that this practice is illegal. And, separate from that, making students cry is not an effective way to gain converts — not genuine ones, anyway.
A video on Lenz’s website also says the goal of his school-related work is to “reach them before it’s too late.” You have to wonder how that video and his entire website somehow eluded everyone working in this district before they invited him to preach to kids.