Monday, June 26, 2006

Churches Giving Money To Get People To Come?

"First-time visitors to a Pentecostal church in
Harvey this Sunday will receive a heartfelt welcome, hear contemporary worship hymns and an impassioned sermon and witness the testimony of people who have felt the power of God change their lives.

They will also walk away with $25 in their pockets.

United Pentecostal Church of Harvey plans to provide the cash to the first 75 people who visit the church for the first time at each of two services, one at 10 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. The only requirements are that the newcomers be 16 or older and that they stay for the entire 90-minute service ."
From an article by AnneMarie Mannion, Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2006

Have churches sunk so low as to thinking the only way to get people to come to church is to offer them cash? Lord help us. I don't remember anyone doing that in the book of Acts. It was the power and presence of God that drew people to the church meetings. It was the way the Christians lived their lives, the out pouring of love to one another, that caused people to come. In fact it says that their numbers were added to daily. Hmmmmmm... Maybe the church in America needs to rethink its methods.
So you get them there, they get their cash...but... do they experience the life changing power and presence of God? Do they hear that all men are sinners and in need of a Savior? Do they hear how they can receive salvation? Does someone tell them that Jesus died for them? And oh, you know, that word that no one will mention today...Hell.. Does anyone tell them that is the alternative to going to heaven?
Churches today are using marketing strategies just like big businesses. Would there be a need for this if we just did what Jesus told us to do, if each of us lived our lives the way we should? What if we all lived like a Biblical Christian Monday through Saturday, instead of for 1 or 2 hours on Sunday? What if we really loved our neighbors as ourselves? What if we put God first? The Bible says they will know us by our love.
If we worshipped God in Spirit and in truth, instead of giving Him lip service, His presence would so fill our Churches that the people would come. No one would have to beg them or offer them cash. His presence would cause people to cry out in repentance. Unfortunately, many churches may as well have "Ichabod" (the glory has departed) over their doors.
What the world needs is to see the church operating the way it did in the book of Acts. They need to see true Christianity in action. They need to experience the power and presence of the Almighty God. They need to know us by our love and not our hypocrisy. The power and presence of God can and will change lives and hearts.

"praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." -Acts 2:47

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. " - John 13:34-35

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Higher said...

Thanks for posting that...
I think the Church has forgotten that we are to "Be in and not of" the world. I really believe that if we go back to the way the Church was in the book of Acts, we wouldn't have room to contain all of the people who would be drawn to the Glory of God and the demonstration of His power in the Lives of His people...

thinker said...

Hey, it's how timeshare sales work! It doesn't matter what gets them in, it's up to the pastor and the people to keep them there!! Neat idea, I hope it works out for them.

Love said...

Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.