Like many churches, we had an attendance boost yesterday. But Bay Area Fellowship of Corpus Christi, Texas, drew more than 3 times it’s average Sunday attendance yesterday with more than 23,000 in attendance on multiple campuses. The secret? They gave away new cars, new appliances, and many other door prizes:
The multimillion dollar giveaway attracted nationwide attention, not all of it positive. The church was criticized for promoting consumerism and bribing people to come to church for prizes. Besides the eye-popping large prizes, the church gave away 15,000 prize packs with coupons for free goods and services such as a chiropractic exam, Hooks baseball tickets, a week’s membership to Gold’s Gym and a night’s stay for dogs at the Pooch Pad.
Cornelius used humor to deal with the backlash.
‘People used to get on us for asking for money. Now, they’re getting onto us for giving money away,” Cornelius said to laughter from the crowd. “I don’t know what to do.'”
What’s your thoughts on this? Is this a legitimate way to increase the flock? Does this methodology, in your opinion, match up with the way Jesus Christ ministered to the masses during His three year public ministry during His incarnation? At what point does a “whatever it takes” mentatlity toward reaching souls cross the line into compromising the message via the method?
By the way, we gave away books at Harvest Jacksonville yesterday. Each household received a free copy of John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die. Additional copies were available for $0.50 per book.
Here is the prayer we started yesterday’s worship service with (we started the service with an emphasis on the crucifixion then transitioned to an emphasis on the resurrection):
John Flavel –
Lord, the condemnation was yours,
that the justification might be mine.
The agony was yours,
that the victory might be mine.
The pain was yours,
and the ease mine.
The stripes were yours,
and the healing balm issuing from them mine.
The vinegar and gall were yours,
that the honey and sweet might be mine.
The curse was yours,
that the blessing might be mine.
The crown of thorns was yours,
that the crown of glory might be mine.
The death was yours,
the life purchased by it mine.
You paid the price
that I might enjoy the inheritance.
John Flavel (1671), from his sermon, “The Solemn Consecration of the Mediator,” in The Fountain of Life Opened Up: or, A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory.