Eugene Cho

the momma of all easter egg hunt church extravaganza

Someone sent me this story today and I honestly thought it was a satire…a la something you might read on the Onion. I was looking and looking to see if I can find something to give it away that it was not real but alas…it’s the real deal.

A church in Texas is having the momma of all Easter egg hunts that includes more than $1 Million in prizes. In fact, it actually includes stuff totaling over $4 million dollars in prizes.

Bay Area Fellowship, the largest church in Corpus Christi, is giving away flat-screen televisions, skateboards, Fender guitars, furniture and 15 cars — yes, cars — at its Easter services next week.

Wow.

I hate to criticize other churches and honestly, I get it…I understand the motivation summed up the pastor of this church:

He hopes the prizes will help Bay Area lure some people who don’t normally go to church or those who have lapsed in their faith.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Wow.
  2. Huh?
  3. Everything truly is bigger in Texas.
  4. I want that Audi A4 Turbocharged for myself.
  5. Wow.
  6. Joel Osteen and $57K worth of donated Left Behind Video games to its children’s ministry?
  7. The amazing thing: most if not all goods were donated by their church members & community. That is pretty impressive.

Okay, your turn: What do you think?

Here are some portions of the article:

You’ve never seen an Easter egg hunt like this before.

Bay Area Fellowship, the largest church in Corpus Christi, is giving away flat-screen televisions, skateboards, Fender guitars, furniture and 15 cars — yes, cars — at its Easter services next week.

And even those who don’t win big will walk away with something. The church has gathered donations for 15,000 gift bags, each with about $300 worth of free goods and services.

“We’re going to give some stuff away and say, ‘Imagine how great heaven is going to be if you feel that excited about a car,’ ” lead Pastor Bil Cornelius said. “It’s completely free — all you have to do is receive him.”

He hopes the prizes will help Bay Area lure some people who don’t normally go to church or those who have lapsed in their faith.

“A lot of people won’t come to Easter services because they think, ‘Well, I haven’t been good,’ ” Cornelius said. “Well, that’s not free. That’s not what it’s about. You don’t have to be ‘good’ to come to church.”

The prizes are meant as a metaphor for Cornelius’ Easter message of what he calls the ultimate giveaway. Just as the prizes are free for the winners, so is heaven. But someone first had to pay for all the cars and furniture and TVs, as Jesus paid for peoples’ sins.

“The ultimate giveaway is that Jesus gave his life for us,” Cornelius said. “When we think about the spirit of giving, we always think about Christmas. But really the ultimate spirit of giving is Easter.”…

Cornelius also isn’t aware of a church giveaway before on such a large scale. A search of news reports shows that the giant Lakewood Church in Houston, led by Joel Osteen, gave away $57,000 worth of donated Left Behind video games to its children’s ministry last Easter. Another small church in Ohio plans to give away $500 to a member and to a guest this Easter.

Last week, Bay Area volunteers were busy detailing the cars and putting together bicycles. They had to cut a large space in the back of the chapel’s stage for the cars to fit through during Easter services.

Bay Area raised all these donations in two weeks.

The idea started in a staff meeting at The Crossing church in Elk River, Minn. Lead Pastor Eric Dykstra was planning a series he called “Joy Ride,” about the ultimate joy Jesus can bring. He wanted to use a car on stage to illustrate his point.

“As part of the series, we thought we should give away a car,” Dykstra said. “We were just sitting in a meeting and thought, “Why not?’ ”

The Crossing was able to secure one new car mostly donated by a dealership (with a little cash raised from members) and is working on another to give away.

Dykstra is part of a group of young pastors mentored by Cornelius. Dykstra mentioned the car to Cornelius during a meeting a few weeks ago.

“Then he calls me two days later and said, ‘Hey, I think we’re going to get several cars,’ ” Dykstra said. He’s been inspired to try to gather more prizes for his members, but he doesn’t expect to outdo Cornelius and Bay Area.

“He took our idea and he blew it up,” Dykstra said, laughing. “It’s not really a competition. It’s more like he’s going to win.”

Cornelius asked church members to donate during services two weeks ago. The response since has been overwhelming. The plan was promoted as a $1 million giveaway, but the actual value is going to be much higher. The 15,000 gift bags alone are worth $4.5 million if all the goods and services are cashed in. The coupons have no cash value.

“Our people have been incredibly generous,” Cornelius said. “We have people writing checks for cars for people they don’t even know.”

Among the 15 cars — all used but with low mileage — are an Audi A4, Jeep, Chevy Aveo, Mazda RX8, Volkswagen Jetta, two BMWs, Chevy Avalanche, Jaguar and two Mitsubishi Eclipses.

Cesar Torres, owner of LOFI Motors on Ayers Street, is a member of Bay Area and volunteers in the children’s ministry. He’s the Audi contributor.

“(Cornelius) didn’t say whether it had to be new or old,” Torres said. “I’m sure he thought it would be something I couldn’t sell off my lot.”

The A4 is an ’04. It’s turbocharged.

“It’s pretty wild they’re going to give $2 million worth of goodies away,” Torres said. “Can you imagine? Everything always works out for a reason. When God is behind something, all you have to do is believe.” [read full article]

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Well, if you’re in the Seattle area, you are welcome to join us at Quest this weekend. I might give you a free drink card at Q Cafe. Seriously, we don’t have any prizes, gifts, or all the answers to your questions, but we would nevertheless, love to have you join us to consider the wonders of God’s love – in the death and resurrection of Christ.

  • Thursday // Passover Seder Service & Meal 6pm (for Questers only)
  • Friday // Good Friday Service at 6pm & 8pm. Full Children’s Ministry at the 6pm service.
  • Saturday // Easter Egg Hunt for Families at 10am. Your child is guaranteed 3 eggs!
  • Saturday // Easter Dinner & Service for our Homeless Friends & Community 5-7pm. Open to anyone.
  • Sunday // One joint Easter Service & Potluck Lunch 11am at Whittier Elementary School

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73 Responses

  1. He has risen, and He’s brought us lots of cool swag!

  2. Lia says:

    I would come to church this Sunday, but I’m headed to Texas. You think my congregation would mind?

  3. DanW says:

    I suppose the obvious critique would be just how much better spent that money would be if it were donated to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, offer shelter to those without homes, set free the slaves. . .those sorts of things.

    • there’s a verse about all that somewhere. Isaiah, I think. And wasn’t there some other Jewish guy that quoted the same passage a bit later?

    • elderj says:

      Yeah, I remember Judas saying something very similar.

      • Andy M says:

        It was Jesus that drove the sellers and moneychangers out of the Temple. I guarantee that the Jaguar, BMW, Audi, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet, Jeep, and VW dealers are pretty thrilled that they have in a way, “infiltrated” this church. Because they will benefit from the church giving away these vehicles, it’s cheap advertising. This church has in a way, undone what Jesus did that day.

        Judas said what he did, because he wanted to steal the money. The woman he was criticizing was doing what she did in worship. Giving away fancy cars and prizes to lure people into church isn’t worship, it’s manipulation.

        • elderj says:

          Is it a sin to be a Audi dealer? Is it better to be a dealer in fair trade coffee?

          The money changers were cast out for preventing people from worship through exorbitant money change fees. these people are trying to lower the barriers of participation by giving things away. Very different. They aren’t making money off of this. The money changers were. The people who give are giving (granting to them the same charitable benefit of the doubt I would want) are presumable giving in worship. As i said, what business is it of mine to judge another man’s servant. It is before his own master that he stands or falls.

          • Andy M says:

            I have nothing against Audi dealerships, but they have no place in a church, and this event puts them there. They will make money off of that, because it is advertising. They wouldn’t donate cars if it didn’t make them money in some way. If they didn’t donate the cars, then someone bought it from them, and so they made money off of it. Car dealerships do not just give cars away out of the goodness of their hearts, especially very nice cars, and especially considering the current economic climate.

            They are trying to lower the barriers of participation? Well, if there are barriers, then what are they, why are they there, what or who put them there? If we can answer those questions, I guarantee we can lower the barriers with tactics that are much better thought out and more effective than a car giveaway.

          • Andy M says:

            Also, I am not judging their hearts and intentions. As I have said before, I acknowledge their giving and their intentions as good, but the way in which they are doing it is foolish. Would you agree that people can do stupid things with good intentions? I’m not questioning their intent, I’m questioning their choice of actions.

  4. Jasen says:

    I wouldn’t complain if the Gospel message being preached that Easter Sunday actually made people eager to donate those items. Let’s see if their bite is as strong as their bark.

    :mung mung:

  5. Jonathan says:

    I think I remember someone saying something along the lines of

    ““What you attract people to Christ with is also what you need to get people to stay.”

  6. Adrienne says:

    I was ready to scorn this idea, given your build up. And I wouldn’t want this to be copied.

    But I gotta honor the hearts of this community. The message isn’t “come to church and get a car.” It actually seems to be “the gift of God is eternal life, and we honor God by giving ourselves away.”

    And I’m in favor of that.

    • Andy M says:

      Their hearts may be in the right place, but this will not translate the Gospel to the non-church people they are trying to reach. People will have tunnel-vision and see nothing but “FREE PRIZES!”, and it doesn’t matter what else you do say or scream at them, all they will be thinking is “FREE PRIZES!” And then when the “FREE PRIZES!” are gone, so will they be.

      A better use of this money would be to purchase hundreds of cars that cost roughly $2000 or so to give to people who could use them to get to work. In Texas most things are located far enough apart that you need a car just to do about anything. That would help lots of people who have trouble keeping jobs just because of the travel required. That is the Gospel, helping the poor.

  7. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by eugenecho: Come to church this weekend & you can win 1 of 15 cars, flat screen TVs, furniture, guitars…and eggs: http://bit.ly/ajMvTO

  8. Michael Drager says:

    While I think this idea is cohersion and the $ could be spent in more life changing ways — I understand. Don’t agree but do understand this ludicrous method of the “church”. Wouldn’t the idea be even bigger if all the stuff gathered was given away on Easter for all those that DIDN’T make it to church? That would be awesome!!

  9. [...] Bryant on March 30, 2010 “The momma of all easter egg hunt extravaganza services” as  Eugene Cho details the [...]

  10. Karen says:

    There is nothing in America that we can’t commodify, be it the eggs of young (preferably pretty blond) women, or the bloodied Christ Risen. Yay for Democracy. We give away cars while children lay dying from hunger.

    • alliehope says:

      Karen–

      I get that. I get that here in America we can “commodify” anything, and I share your frustration. Wonder what Jesus would think, honoring HIS Resurrection by chasing after our fleshly desires…. just something I’m chewing on.

  11. Jason says:

    I would tend to agree with the commenter who mentioned feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, etc. When John the Baptizer sent men to Jesus to ask if he was the one or should they wait for another, what was Jesus response?

    I really hate how churches in America think materialism=Kingdom principles, and that it will truly build the Kingdom.

  12. Matt says:

    I never understood easter presents. one of my friends when i was a kid got presents on easter… I never understood that.

    This seems almost as an extension of cool gifts/prizes for easter….

    kinda reminds me of this failbook:

    http://cheezfailbooking.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/funny-facebook-jesus-communitcation.jpg?w=571&h=244

  13. swainlife says:

    Indulge yourself, take up your car, and follow us!

  14. Smells like bribery to me, personally. I once belonged to a church that did this though not on as grand a scale. I wish they would hock the stuff and use the money to feed and clothe people. JMO.

  15. Kacie says:

    My thought…. it might possibly be meant well. It might possibly make a point.

    But… it ultimately distracts from Jesus, and from loving Him and Him loving us in the stripped down and raw scene of the cross and the empty tomb.

  16. Jordan says:

    Terrible. This isn’t how we attract people to the Gospel, and it won’t work.

  17. I am speechless. I commented on this type of gimmick/event driven outreach in the first section of my latest blog post, ‘move.’ at The WayWard Follower (http://mjkimpan.wordpress.com).

    I’m nearly in tears.

  18. FreshLove says:

    Why do we need “things” to win people over to Christ? What we’re saying is: “Jesus you’re powerful and all, but I don’t think your Word and your power, and what you did on the cross for us is enough to get people in the Church. So, we’re gonna lure them in with cars, tvs, and guitars.” Right, that’s exactly what Paul and the apostles did in the book of Acts to lead people to Christ. The Church has depended on material things and entertainment to lead people to Christ and I believe it grieves the Holy Spirit. Where is our fear of the Lord?

  19. Sheila says:

    all I think of is how that service is going to play out, uh huh, focus on Christ? Right…

    Methinks it is going to look a lot like crafts I do with the OVCs in Africa. Sure we give them a cross to colour that says “Jesus Loves you!” but basically its a grab for the glitter. And let’s face it this shiny stuff is the greatest/only thing they receive. I can’t imagine how people will respond to cars, a way better prize than glitter.

  20. Darren says:

    Jesus gave away a lot of bread and fish, but it wasn’t a gimmick and he did it AFTER the people came to hear him preach.

    IMHO, this exemplifies one of the biggest problems with “modern” evangelistic methods. We are still trying to get people to come to church to hear the message. People who don’t normally come to church shouldn’t have to come to church to hear the message. Someone should be bringing it to them where they already live.

    The two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. If the unchurched people they are trying to reach only had a neighbor (literally) who loved them unconditionally where they are, I wonder what type of conversion ratio and longevity they would see. Unfortunately, we often take the easy way out by inviting people to church and if they don’t want to come, then classify them as not being “hungry.”

    What we need is a personal love revolution. One where we learn to love our neighbors unconditionally, genuinely, and for longer than a week or two or until they refuse to go to church with us. What would happen if we committed ourselves to building real relationships with our neighbors – yes, our real neighbors who live on our street or in our our complex?

  21. brian says:

    My instincts would agree with most, if not all of you, but I also stop and wonder – maybe.

    Who knows what the outcome would be? Maybe out of the million $$$ spent (or donated), one or two or even more really come to know Christ. Or after all the shine and glitter wears off, what’s left is only the tax write-off on their 2010 tax return by the donors and a yearning for more stuff by the receiver. Who knows? But to put a box around God’s mysterious ways would be very arrogant of me.

    Maybe God does have a plan even in this extravagant, material-gluttonous event. Maybe we won’t see it. Maybe all we’ll see is the fancy cars and TVs as well, and not God’s work.

    Or not.

    Who knows…

    • Andy M says:

      I know of a large local church nearby that several years back decided to have a bike rally to attract bikers to church, or even just conversion. They hyped it up, made a big thing of it, gave away a free motorcycle, and all that and at the end of the day there was one or two converts. But as good as having even a couple converts is, they had also changed the atmosphere of their church and the youth who had been focused on ministry and outreach and even missions, could then only ever talk about motorcycles.

      I’m glad for the two converts, but they destroyed the atmosphere of their church, especially for their youth. They previously had their youth caring greatly for the poor, willing to spend their time and energy helping people, and afterwards cared for nothing but motorcycles.

      This kind of “outreach” is damaging to the message of Jesus. It creates an atmosphere of materialism and consumerism rather than love and servanthood.

      Can God do something out of this travesty? Absolutely, but it is very difficult to get the attention of people dazzled by free stuff.

      • brian says:

        If God only worked in ways I can understand and agree-on, He wouldn’t be God. Maybe He’ll speak to the people who have made materials their god, in the midst of their brokenness (some way, some how). Maybe not. But, I cannot say.

        Also, I wonder how different I am, as a follower, from people who come hoping to win a free car or a tv. If I’m really honest with myself (and God), my prayers generally (95%) revolve around myself. If all my prayers were to be answered, it’ll be more beneficial to me than my neighbor, city, country and the world. Is that much different from the freebies? Hard to say. Yet, He meets and challenges me in my brokenness, in ways I cannot logically explain. I pray He does the same to the people present; maybe not to the lucky guy/gal who wins the Audi ;) (half jokingly), but to the family who really needs a helping hand.

  22. Matt says:

    Epic case of missing the point. Another good idea is for this church to have an adult movie and sex toy give-away on Easter. Since this church is not concerned with carnal and craven materialism, why would it be concerned with carnal and craven materialism. While I was out on my bike today I was wondering what my next blog entry would be about. This is a great topic to follow my post on common sense and hardened hearts.

  23. Peter says:

    2 Tim 3 – But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

    …having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

    Paul was speaking about the Church. So when someone’s outward actions testify that a big screen TV is more attractive and powerful than the gospel. And when they give the appearance of godliness but by their fruit deny its power, Paul was clear. Avoid such people.

    …their folly will be plain to all

  24. elderj says:

    Of course we could celebrate the generosity of people who are giving out of the sincerity of their hearts, and some probably at great cost or sacrifice to themselves because they hope that perhaps some will see in that generosity a reflection (albeit pale) of the generosity of Christ.

    How different is it really than showing up in a village and building a well, or donating tents because we want to demonstrate the gospel with deeds and not just words? How arrogantly presumptuous to judge aforetime the consequences? How self righteous to evaluate the hearts of those who are giving? What a complaint, “they aren’t doing it the right way,” meaning the way that we would prefer, but who are we to judge another man’s servant? And if the gospel is preached, from good intents or ill, praise God it is proclaimed. How are we to know that some single parent may not show up and get some “swag” and be convicted of her own greed and guilt before a holy God and recognize the broadness of divine generosity that sees that greed and gives himself to her anyway? And how funny the comment, “this could be sold and the proceeds given to the poor;” much like the complaint of Judas against the woman who out of the simplicity of her gratitude gave far more extravagantly than was “appropriate.”

    • Andy M says:

      That woman who extravagantly worshipped Jesus, didn’t do it to attract new converts. She did it in pure worship, and like Jesus spoke of afterwards, she was preparing, most likely unknowningly, him for his death and burial.

      That is a world different than using wealth, gifts, and prizes to attract people to accept Christ as Lord. That isn’t worship, that’s bribery and manipulation. And ultimately it won’t work, it will do more damage than good in the long run.

      If an artist were to spend a large amount of money creating a masterpeice that glorifies God, I can support that. Especially if it isn’t meant to make money, but to be done purely in worship. But trying to lure people in like this church is doing is not the same thing.

      I don’t question the intent behind the money. I’m sure that these people mean well, but that doesn’t change the fact that the way they are using the money is foolish and is not the Gospel. There will probably be some good that comes out of this event, but overall, I don’t think it will justify the expense either in the short-term and especially in the long-term.

      • elderj says:

        And you know the motives of those who gave these gifts? You are the judge of their hearts? You assert that they are using “prizes” to draw people to Jesus, but would likely have no issue with someone “demonstrating the gospel in action” as long as that action is something of which you approve? It is bribery as you see it, which is the same charge non-Christians make against Christians doing anything charitable, which is an insult both to the giver and the receiver, as if the ones receiving the gift are somehow so stupid as to be unable to reason for themselves.

        Why do churches have coffee shops and artist nights, and “sacred art” and forums for discussion, and so on ad infinitum if not to provide some place of connection for the gospel to be proclaimed? But it is bad to do it with a car? A poetry night is much better because, well, we are the kind of people who like poetry nights?
        Please! We don’t (and cannot) know the hearts of these people, but we can certainly know our own. What I see and surmise though is a strong trait of self righteous exhibited by many (not all) of the comments on this blog that seems to suggest that unless things are done in a way we think reflects Jesus, then they are wrong and the effort is wrong, and they are captive to culture or whatever. A little humility might be in order; a little removing of the beams from our own eyes ere we endeavor to remove the speck from the eyes of those whose motives we know only from the limited words on a page of a newspaper article.

        • DK says:

          Wow.

          So, you’re saying that we should all keep our mouths shut because we have no right to judge anything or anyone?

          Yeah! That’s what I want to hear. I’d like to go to your church!

          • elderj says:

            C’mon down! I’d be glad to have you.

            • DK says:

              Only if you can promise me a new car, a wife, a new 60 LCD TV, and a job that pays me 100K. Then, I’ll be wherever you are in a heartbeat.

              • elderj says:

                Hahahahaha… that’s a good one. I wish I had it to give, but I do not. Every good and perfect gift comes down from above from the father of lights. I do not know if those things would be good for you, and certainly hope that should you obtain them you would steward them well and be generous towards God and man.

                I would also hope that though I could not offer you those things, I would offer you the grace of God, and a reticence to evaluate your motives, even if I question your methods. And I would hope that I would be willing to learn from you rather than to always be the teacher.

        • Andy M says:

          “I don’t question the intent behind the money. I’m sure that these people mean well,”

          Please, go back to my previous comment. Did you skip that part of my comment? I am not judging these people’s motivations. I am critiquing the actions they are taking, which is quite a different thing. I assume that at least most of the people there are giving for very good reasons. But people can have good motivations and intentions and still do stupid things.

          Those artist nights and sacred art and so on, are most usually created by someone at that church, not some corporation somewhere else that has nothing to do with the church. If there was an engineer who attends church and he designed and created a beautiful car, then that could possibly be worship because he is using the skills God gave him to make a thing of beauty and precision engineering. But that is very different than a church giving away a car that was built in a factory with thousands of other cars just like it, and has no official or unofficial connection with anybody at the church.

          Most of what you are saying is directed against people who are judging the character and intentions of the people at this church in question. But most of the comments I see do nothing of the sort. Most of the comments are people questioning the wisdom of having this sort of event, not questioning the intent behind it.

      • grace says:

        the dichotomy often drawn between “worship” and “ministry/ evangelism/ good works” is artificial. and dangerous.

        there is no “pure worship” that does not include reconciliation with others.

        “if you love me, feed my sheep.”

    • Andy M says:

      Another thought or two. A well provides water for generations, a tent is shelter from the often harsh elements. Those are things that help people just survive, or even survive without being quite so hopeless as when they didn’t have clean water or a place to be protected from the weather.

      Giving someone a Jaguar, Audi, or BMW doesn’t do that, it gives someone the thrill of having a fancy car for a few years, and most people probably couldn’t afford the insurance costs of such a vehicle anyways. And at the end of those years, they would likely be used to a fancy car and then they would either go into extreme debt to get a new one to replace the feelings they lost when the old Jag was gone, or they might forever covet one, stuck in the past of when they had a Jag. Either way it is most likely a curse rather than a blessing.

      Some things that we can give people will be a blessing to them for a lifetime or more, but others can be a curse. Being well intentioned doesn’t change that.

      • elderj says:

        Really? And transportation isn’t a need? And there is some biblical basis for asserting that a BMW is bad for someone to have? And those who receive it might be foolish and spend their money unwisely, so we should decide that they don’t “deserve” it? Just who is being ungenerous here?

        • Andy M says:

          Having a car can be a need, having a BMW is a luxury. I could say that I “need” a Ferrari to drive myself to work, but you (I would hope) would rightfully call me ridiculous. A BMW is not a Ferrari, but it is a whole lot more of a car than what someone who just needs some kind of transportation would require.

          If this church is really concerned with fulfilling “needs”, then they should (like I said earlier) purchase a hundred or more $2000 vehicles to give to people who really “need” it. Not give an overly expensive luxury vehicle to someone who wins a raffle.

          If I had a million dollars, I could walk down the street and give it all to the first homeless person that I find. I could tell them that they should use that money to get cleaned up, get some new clothes, find a reasonable place to live, and save the rest while they find some work. It could change their whole life forever for the better right?

          But they might completely ignore me and go blow all the money within a month on who knows what, and within 6 months be no different than how they were before, maybe even be worse than before.

          My position, the giver, I have responsibility to think about what is best and to do whatever I can to make lasting change. So that might mean that instead of just giving away the “prize”, I use that money to start a homeless ministry to help them with shelter and food, and build job skills, and get psychiatric help if they need.

          Which is the more responsible action? This church is giving away the “prize” and not considering the longer lasting effects.

  25. Tyler says:

    I guess the gospel isn’t powerful enough…

  26. Pastor Jim says:

    In the old days, they used to call this sale tactic, “Bait and Switch.” They have “baited” the un-churched by appealing to their greed and they will come for the freebies. But then the church plans to “switch” to the Gospel when the unsuspecting come in the door. Can anyone, in their wildest dreams (or nightmares) see Jesus doing this, or the apostles after him? Can anyone give me a SAcriptural basis for this? We grieve the heart of God by appealing to the flesh of the world and then deceptively do a “bait’n’switch.” A pathetic commentary on the state of some churches today…sad.

  27. ERMember says:

    I’m just curious if ANY of you know anyone who attends or is a member of either church in the article.

    Do you understand their motivations? Do you know their heart? Why be so negative and judgemental and think that you understand Jesus’ heart any more than the pastors of either of those churches? Why not just simply pray that people will come and hear about a Jesus that is for them and not against them?

    Tyler asked if the Gospel isn’t good enough anymore… and I say YES IT IS GOOD ENOUGH…And even more important to get as many people in to door as possible to HEAR IT.

    If you knew the history of one of the churches or knew it personally, you guys would know how focused they are on reaching the unreachable.. doing things no one else will do to reach those who no one wants to.

    Jordan said that this isn’t the way to attract people to the Gospel… well, statistics show that more churches are closing than opening. Most churches are declining in number rather than growing. Obviously, whatever we have been doing hasn’t been working. More and more people are skeptical about Jesus OR have been hurt and shunned by so called “christians” and have decided to leave the church altogether. If these two churches have to resort to “gimmicks” to get people in the door, well so be it… at least they’ll be hearing a message about how Jesus is FOR them and not against them.

    Before you all judge the leadership of these two places, consider this: Trust that the leadership has enough of a connection with God that they know what they’re doing. Otherwise, why not just pray for them instead. This kind of garbage does nothing but tear apart the Body of Christ. Instead of laying waste their character here on this forum, PRAY FOR THEM and for the people who will be stepping into those churches who otherwise may not have.

    • Sue says:

      Bogus.

      What you’re saying is “Don’t question the leadership” because they know exactly what they’re doing.

      No one is questioning their hearts or motivation. Just because their motivation is in the right place means that the action is a good thing. Just because the name of Jesus is involved doesn’t mean that it is honoring to Jesus.

      • ERMember says:

        Sue, let me ask you this… have you ever been to either of these churches? Do you KNOW the heart of their leadership?

        Why can’t we trust that God is in the middle of this and that HE WILL BE GLORIFIED through it, even though it may not be “popular” with the “church” people…

      • ERMember says:

        And how do you know it’s not honoring to Jesus?

        • Sue says:

          Listen to what you’re saying.

          “Don’t question others – especially those in leadership because their hearts are in the right place.”

          I’m not questioning their hearts.

    • Andy M says:

      Tyler’s statement was to point out that apparently our leadership in many churches believe that it is no longer enough to have the Gospel to bring people into the Church, but that we have to have prizes and such. His intent with that statement was to affirm the ability of the Gospel message to stand on it’s own, and doesn’t need anything else to help get people’s attention.

      The way in which you get someone through the door makes a difference in what impact the Gospel will have upon them. By your implication, I could say that we should force people in by gunpoint, because getting them in the door to hear the Gospel is what matters. (It has been done before.) But you would, I hope, say that that is ridiculous. The impact that the Gospel could have upon anybody who visited that church yesterday will be stained by the attention given to the giveaway and the prizes. The Gospel will not be given the chance to have it’s full effect.

      And judging leadership and tactics is very different than judging someone’s heart. Many very well intentioned leaders have destroyed the communities that follow them because of their actions. Most people here are not questioning their hearts, they are questioning their leadership and tactics.

  28. [...] My Grief” from Ken Murphy. “Addicted to Public Productivity” from Pete Wilson. “The momma of all easter egg hunt church extravaganza” from Eugene [...]

  29. Trenton says:

    Mark 14.3-6 “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

    • Daniel says:

      Umm, the woman brought that “alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard.”

      The religious leaders and disciples didn’t market it to entice people to come to hear…

      That is a HUGE difference. HUGE.

  30. Trenton says:

    Seems to me the thing they do is ultimately for Jesus and will be taken into account as such when His shepherds give an account for the flocks they have led. The slave answers to only one master. They have expressed a desire to reach people. How do we know there is not a greater unexpressed desire which is, “we do this for our King.”?

    I understand your statement and knew that I would probably get a response similar to yours Daniel. And that is fine. I’m not defending or questioning this church at this time because I don’t know all that is in their hearts. The disciples’ stated “motive” was to assist the poor. A noble and biblical desire. And yet, they seeme to dicount the motive of the woman’s heart. Jesus seemed to accept the extravagance on the basis of beauty and her worship.

    My prayer is that they Lord would take these gifts from the people and use it to produce great worship of Him.

    He Is Risen.

    • Andy M says:

      In Jesus’ story of the talents, the man who buried the money given to him was rebuked severely for having squandered his chance to do something with it.

      The man gave back the exact money that was given to him, so he didn’t lose any, he didn’t gamble it away, he just didn’t get any return on the money. For this he was rebuked harshly and called “wicked”.

      With this church it is more like if the man who was given 5 talents rather than 1 had gone and buried it.

      The man may have meant well, had good intentions, and it isn’t like he lost the money, but yet he is called “wicked”.

      Hear this, I am not trying to say that the leadership of that church is wicked, but we are given responsibility to use what we have wisely. It is my strong opinion that this church is not acting wisely. Having good intentions does not mean that everything is just as God would want it. We have to be responsible with how we act.

  31. Trenton says:

    “just as God would want it.” Is there ever a scenario where we could envision this event lived out and it be o.k. because God wanted it that way? Just a thought. I was actually thinking about that a bit on Easter (it is Monday now) as this post has me doing some thinking. I haven’t read all the other comments but have skimmed some of them. I am sure the “wisdom” argument has appeared previously in this thread so perhaps my comments will be redundant.

    Seems to me that the responsibility to be “acting wisely” can be fairly subjective. In my own church, I have wondered how we could maximize what DanW wrote about previously: “I suppose the obvious critique would be just how much better spent that money would be if it were donated to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, offer shelter to those without homes, set free the slaves. . .those sorts of things.” The problem is, it’s not just that money (money given for the easter egg extravaganza), it’s any money a church uses. Someone could make the argument that it would be wise to cease using air conditioning and take the money (which in our church’s case might be several thousands of dollars a month) and give it away to further these other types of endeavors. Someone could say, we don’t need all the chairs we currently use. Let’s sell them and give the proceeds to the homeless downtown. Someone else might say, “and while we’re at it, let’s shrink the size of our band and just use acoustic guitars. We don’t need that many people on stage and can free up some of the sound equipment and sell it so that we can provide money to have clean water for a village in Liberia.” Who gets to say what is wise and what isn’t?

    I realize that these are opinions only. I’m personally shocked a church could raise the kind of funds they did for an event like this. For them, perhaps the idea of showing God as being an extravagant God is captivating. I would love to give away that much money for a variety of different causes and reasons! In John 2, Jesus didn’t have to drown the wedding party with as much wine as He did. But he is an extravagant and gracious God who was revealing something of the Father’s character. And when I think about it, 4 million doesn’t even come close to adequately portraying the gracious, extravagant, character and nature of God when it comes to salvation. I don’t usually comment on posts on any blogs. I consider opinions to be like ice cream preferences most days – you prefer vanilla, I prefer chocolate. This, however, seemed a bit different. I don’t always know what to do with extravagance and at times get uncomfortable or feel guilty when I see other Christians who I feel are just “squandering the Lord’s money.” And like a previous commenter, Tyler, I don’t feel that the Gospel needs assistance. It stands in its own beauty and doesn’t need our adornment to make it more appealing. It is the power of God unto salvation and doesn’t need a boost from us. But here’s the deal for me. I don’t shepherd this flock. Bil Cornelius does. I won’t give an account to the Lord for his leadership and he won’t for mine. He sees the money and the cars as an object lesson of sorts for God’s grace and how these earthly possessions pale in comparison to what awaits. Is it how I would do it? No. But does this church using money in this way deplete God’s resources? I don’t think so. If it does, I may need to reconsider the greatness of my God. Does this church using money this way create a false view of God? If so, how? Are there things they could have done to communicate the character and nature of God better with this money? I’m sure. But who gets to make that call?

    Seems to me that the responsibility to be “acting wisely” can be fairly subjective. In my own church, I have wondered how we could maximize what DanW wrote about previously: “I suppose the obvious critique would be just how much better spent that money would be if it were donated to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, offer shelter to those without homes, set free the slaves. . .those sorts of things.” The problem is, it’s not just that money (money given for the easter egg extravaganza), it’s any money a church uses. Someone could make the argument that it would be wise to cease using air conditioning and take the money (which in our church’s case might be several thousands of dollars a month) and give it away to further these other types of endeavors. Someone could say, we don’t need all the chairs we currently use. Let’s sell them and give the proceeds to the homeless downtown. Someone else might say, “and while we’re at it, let’s shrink the size of our band and just use acoustic guitars. We don’t need that many people on stage and can free up some of the sound equipment and sell it so that we can provide money to have clean water for a village in Liberia.” Who gets to say what is wise and what isn’t?

    I realize that these are opinions only. I’m personally shocked a church could raise the kind of funds they did for an event like this. For them, perhaps the idea of showing God as being an extravagant God is captivating. Jesus didn’t have to drown the wedding party with as much wine as He did in Canaan. But he is an extravagant and gracious God who was revealing the Father’s character. And when I think about it, 4.5 million doesn’t even come close to adequately portraying the gracious, extravagant, character and nature of God when it comes to salvation.

    • Andy M says:

      A few comments here that are defending this church’s actions seem to imply that we have no place to ever critique or be critical of another person’s actions. On what biblical basis does that idea come from? Just look in the Bible and you will find all kinds of people who criticize the Temple authorities, the religious elite, the Church leaders, and others in their communities. Paul exposed Peter for the hypocrite he was, but according to you that was wrong for him to do.

      Being critical, or critiquing someone else’s actions does not imply condemnation. And I do not mean to condemn anyone in my criticisms of this event. It is my place to give my opinions, and it is your place to be critical of my opinions, and vice versa. From this we can learn from each other. If I have spoken out of place or wrongly condemned someone, then please point it out to me. If my opinions are based upon a bias or unfounded information, then please point it out. If it is just us disagreeing about something, then that is fine as well. But it is our place to be critical, to examine and critique, and to work to do things better.

      How does giving away cars and other prizes portray the graciious, extravagant, character, and nature of God? We can glorify God in countless ways, but giving away luxury vehicles to people who may or may not have been helped by receiving them doesn’t glorify God, it glorifies the church that gave it, the dealer that either donated or sold it, and the grateful person who received it. Not God.

      God is glorified when we help the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the prisoners, take care of the widows and orphans and other outcasts of society.

      • Trenton says:

        Thank you Andy. I’m always grateful to learn from people who have a different take and perspective from mine. I never felt you were condemning anyone. :) I’m glad for your irenic spirit. I’m not convinced by your reasoning but grateful for it. Christ’s bride is a beautiful mess. The good news is that He is building His church, and the gates of hell (nor any number of misguided churches, or even well-intentioned believers who don’t always get it right) will not prevail against her. One day, He will present her without blemish or spot to the Father. As Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2.19: “But God’s firm foundation stands bearing this seal: “the Lord knows those who are His,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

        Grace and Peace brother.

  32. Danny says:

    I wonder if people actually get tired of talking about the bride of Christ. How long can we possibly go on physically abusing HIS wife.

    Sure we could say that Jesus reserved His harshest words for the Pharisees, and yet, He died for them too.

    I don’t know why the church decided to give things away. I don’t know if it was beneficial to the Kingdom or if it was detrimental.

    What I do know is that this constant bashing of each other must stop. Especially with the pastors or God’s church.

    • Danny says:

      “…pastors of God’s church.”

      Sorry for the typo

    • Andy M says:

      Having a discussion and disagreeing doesn’t mean that we are bashing each other. This group of people here are some of the most courteous people that I have ever seen on any website, blog, or anything else, even the ones that I tend to have strong disagreements with.

      I don’t think that I have, but if I have “bashed” anyone here, please accept my sincerest apology and know that it was never my intent.

  33. [...] 6, 2010 in life | Tags: Easter, liturgical year, pacific nw While it was super tempting to go The Momma of all Easter Egg Hunts at Bay Area Fellowship in (good ol’) Corpus Christi, Texas.  Here’s what I actually [...]

  34. Rev Dave says:

    Wasn’t Love supposed to be what brought people into church?

  35. How does this type of gimmick make us (the body of Christ) “Salt and Light”.

    I absolutely trust and know that God will be honoured and glorified by these actions, however well meant or indeed misguided. But, with my simple faith – and sincere (I do mean it) respect for the church leaders – God and gimmicks just don’t mix.

  36. Megan says:

    I think wow does just about sum it up

  37. [...] years ago, a church in Texas hosted what I labeled “the momma of all Easter egg hunts” that included more than $1 Million in prizes. In fact, it actually includes stuff totaling [...]

  38. [...] people to church.Don’t believe me?Couple years ago, a church in Texas hosted what I labeled “the momma of all Easter egg hunts” that included more than $1 million in prizes. In fact, it actually included stuff totaling over [...]

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