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