Worlmagblog notes the latest nutty church plan to get butts in the seats:

Church growth techniques can get really expensive, what with all of the consultants, electronic equipment, felt need surveys, and professional quality entertainment to get people into the churches. A Tulsa-area church is cutting to the chase: just give away cash.

Rev. Dan Switzer, pastor of the New Life Tabernacle, a United Pentacostal Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, is giving people $10 each (registration required) if they come to his church on Easter. The sanctuary holds 500. He said that he had heard of a California church doing this, with great success. A black church in Louisiana has paid $5 to white people to get them to attend. The offer, good for visitors only, made the front page of the Tulsa World, so the church should be full.

The idea behind this approach is that you attract people to church with something they see as valuable (good music or entertaining video presentations or therepeutic programs or, in this instance, cash) and then you try to throw them something you think is valuable on top of that (hopefully the gospel.) As good as his intentions might be, the problem with Rev. Dan’s approach is that what most people accept as valuable is, in fact, not. From an eternal perspective, money (and most other church growth “incentives”) are petty at best, and idolotrous at worst. For the church to offer then up as prizes is to reinforce their supposed value. The church is basically saying, “Money is what is truly important in life, so we will give you some here. Oh and by the way, Jesus isn’t bad, either.”

Wrong approach, and very dangerous. God will not give his glory to another. For the church to be doing it is to be asking for judgement.

Don Johnson Evangelistic Ministries