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Go to Church on Easter, Win Fabulous Prizes

Sandy Smith's picture

A Corpus Christi, Texas, megachurch is offering an unusual approach to bringing people to Christ this Easter. Let's call it Jesus meets Oprah.

The Bay Area Fellowship, the largest church in Corpus Christi, will give away more than $4 million in cash and prizes to everyone who attends Easter services at one of its seven locations.

The prizes range from gift bags with $300 worth of goods and services all the way up to cars -- 16 of them , to be exact, all of them used but low-mileage. And there's everything in between: 10 furniture sets, flat-screen TVs, tickets to sporting events, 300 bicycles and skateboards, photography sessions, and more.

"Someone could come to church [on Easter] and walk away an hour later with a car," lead pastor Bil Cornelius said on MSNBC today.

Cornelius said he got the idea from a fellow pastor in Minneapolis who got a local car dealer to donate a car to give away to a lucky churchgoer at Easter. The idea apparently inspired Cornelius' flock to follow suit -- all of the items being given away this Sunday are donated by church members, including an iPod donated by a 12-year-old church member. "To a 12-year-old, an iPod's a really big thing," Cornelius said. "This boy said, 'I'd rather have someone come to youth group on Sunday to learn about the love of Christ by donating my iPod to the drawing.

"It's a way to draw people in for a prize and then give them the ultimate giveaway, which is a relationship with Christ, which is free heaven, which is better than any material prize we have to offer," he continued.

Church officers anticipate the giveaway will prove a highly effective marketing tool -- they're expecting 15,000 to 20,000 people, more than twice their normal weekly attendance, to show up for Easter services. One car will be given away at each of the services at the church's main campus and its six satellite locations in the Corpus Christi area

Written by Sandy Smith


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
If people could choose Christ with their will, then perhaps this would be an acceptable way to spend money. However, since they cannot (Rom. 9:14-16) then this is a sad thing indeed. Telling people that they are rebellious sinners and that they have offended and angered a holy God and that they can escape His wrath by trusting in the goodness of His Son, now that is a message that simply is not compatible with giving away free cars, furniture sets, or TVs. You cannot change the method without undermining the message. In Christ, Scott

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
This is full on comedy fodder for either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. This church has got to be nuts to run a promotion like this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I hope so. It was posted on the 1st, but I sure wouldn't put it past some of these so-called Christians today. How sad is right. Shame on them if it is true.

Submitted by justbob223 (not verified) on
As a minister of forty years, I am appalled that this is what American churches have come to.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
this reminds me of the game show Let's Make A Deal. Is that next,people dressing up in outrageous costumes to win cash and prizes? Jesus knew what He was doing when He made a whip and chased these type people from the temple.

Submitted by leon (not verified) on
Oh!!!!, how did the church forget the basics of evangelism, Apostles did not use any of these human tactics to invite people all they had to do was to preach the Gospel, If anyone want people to come all they have to do is pray to God, HE will cause people to come, America is going blind and heading towards destruction

Submitted by Rev. Bill (not verified) on
This is just further proof that churches are businesses. As the late Bishop Hensley said: "Tax the churches". Bless you all.

Submitted by WWJD (not verified) on
The marketing/selling of the Gospel goes back over 30 years. There is nothing new under the sun, but if it takes a give-away to get people to come to your church, you have missed the whole point. People have to make their own choices about Jesus, and God gave us the Holy Spirit to faithfully deal with all, and draw us to Christ, by love....Not a give-away. If it were possible to buy people into Heaven, Jesus would not have had to die. Critical mistake Pastor, we are already a consumer oriented generation...This proves the Church has bought the lie!

Submitted by Rev. Bill (not verified) on
This is just further proof that churches are businesses. As the late Bishop Hensley said: "Tax the churches". Bless you all.

Submitted by Rev. Bill (not verified) on
This is just further proof that churches are businesses. As the late Bishop Hensley said: "Tax the churches". Bless you all.


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