How far should pastors go to make their church services attractive to visitors?
While I’m all for making church welcoming and inviting to curious seekers, a church in South Texas did something that leaves me speechless, and not in a good way.
One mega-church in South Texas gave away new cars during their Easter Sunday service. Yes, you read that right. In honor of "the ultimate giveaway of the Easter message", they gave away new cars (including a jaguar), as well as a bunch of flat screen TVs, and a host of other items. Everyone in attendance that morning walked away with a gift bag containing $300 worth of gifts.
You can view a short clip about the church service giveaway here.
This church, while (hopefully) an extreme example, points out the challenges pastors face in making devoted disciples of Jesus in the midst of a consumer culture. It also points to the temptation we face in equating ministry success with attendance numbers.
How do we produce devoted followers of Jesus, willing to give up everything in order to follow him, when the church down the street is offering them a new BMW if they show up on Sunday? Will curious seeker see through the shallowness of game show church down the street or are they already blinded by our consumer culture? How do we move forward?