"It doesn't matter how we get them in the door as long as we get them here."
--The Rev. Anthony Cox, co-pastor of United Pentecostal Church of Harvey, Illinois, where first-time visitors recently received $25 to attend the Sunday morning service. The church gave money to the first 75 adults aged 16 or older at each of their two services this past Sunday, with the only stipulation that the cash recipients stay the duration of the 90-minute service. Another church in Iowa has drawn visitors by giving away tickets to a Jerry Seinfeld performance, movie passes, and $10 gas cards.
Church bets wallet can be way into soul
This past Sunday, my church held a benefit concert to support an orphanage in Sudan. Tickets cost $20. I found it ironic our church was filled to capacity--people had paid to come to church!
Do we perceive something as more valuable if there's a dollar figure attached to it? In the case of the Illinois church above, visitors were getting something for going to church. At my church, attendees were also getting something: entertainment plus the good feeling of supporting a worthy cause.
If that's true, our dollar-dazed minds may be one reason some folks can't quite process the free gift of salvation. We wonder, "What's the catch? What will we owe?" and perhaps think, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Likewise, it's free to go to church (and many churches are quite entertaining for the whole family), yet many people just won't go.
Would love your thoughts on the perceived value of church. Why do you think people don't go to church?