Well it appears the latest bait and switch program in the mega church world is attendance matters, and it matters so much, we will even attach a $1.00 to your presence.
That is exactly what one mega-church in Ohio did. CedarCreek, a non-denominational church, has selected certain Sundays where they will give $1.00 for each person that comes to church. In turn that money will be given to a charity and helping the community.
Senior pastor Lee Powell told The Christian Post, ""We gave away about $21,000 already this week. We had 18,400 in attendance physically and then we had another two thousand online on our Internet campus."
CedarCreek isn't the only one jumping on this "show up and we give" mentality. There are several others that have been on this giving spree for a while now.
Is it just us, or are we missing something here? What next, a free t-shirt to show that you actually came to church to prove your attendance and stance for the Lord? Is this a good idea and a great partnering to get people into church because your presence will help give a $1.00 to a great charity? Or is this just another attempt at the social gospel? To help make people's lives better, but not sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What good is it if we are just enriching the lives here on earth of people but all the while their souls are hell bound?
The idea seems attractive to the seeker friendly church model and the droves of people that flock there. It will ultimately make anyone who criticizes this idea look as though they don't care about helping people and that they are heartless. However, it's the contrary…. the first point being:
· Is this church presenting a true Gospel weekly to their members? Thus shepherding them to know that church attendance isn't something you have to do, but rather its something you should want to do because you desire to be with other believers. We obviously know the trend of the seeker church-make it relevant, make it fresh, water down the Gospel, make it comfortable for the unsaved.
· The second point would be:
Is this money given apart from the offerings of the givers and is the church completely debt free? It very well may be. We do not know the state of the church's financial records, but it would be a very valid question to ask. It would be hard to believe they are giving away money for each person present, "thus resulting in giving away over half a million dollars by 2013", Powell said, if they are not a debt free church.
· The final point and the one that is most important, there is nothing wrong with giving, who are you giving to and what is the motive? Are you giving them the most important thing…The Gospel. Or are you just giving so you will feel better about yourself because you met a monetary need for someone today?
So it begs the question, are these people showing up on the announced charity give-a-way Sunday because they want some child to have a new coat, or are they doing it for the edification of their souls? Why do some churches, particularly in the seeker driven/seeker sensitive model feel that they have to continually do a bait and switch tactic to get people in the doors and then do something grandiose with the masses that show up? Again, there is nothing wrong with giving to charities and helping people in need, we as Christians should be helping the lost. But as we state in our book, Falsified: The Danger of False Conversion, what good does it do if you never tell them about their sin, never tell them about what their eternity looks like, what life without Christ will mean for their souls but you put a meal in their belly and a check in their hands? We have got to have a balance for the lost, we can't just be about the business of bringing in the droves of people slapping a number on them, attaching a dollar sign to their seat, and then counting their attendance as a reward to give to further the social gospel. We have to be about our Father's business. These churches need to start preaching and teaching biblical truths so that they then get out there on their own accord, love the lost, share the Gospel, and then help them to attain what they are lacking monetarily.
It will mean nothing if that high-schooler gets an A in geometry if you simply gave their mentoring charity a check and let that student go to hell but they have a great looking report card.
No, we are missing the point friends. We must get this twisted mentality turned back around. Go to a biblical church, be involved because you want to be there and want to hear God's word taught, give to your church, then you go out and witness to the world. Don't you see what is going on here? They are selling "church" to goats so they can come hear a "sermonette for a Christianette" as Dr John MacArthur calls it, and they are missing it. They are banking their good works on the fact that God will do something. God's Word is what does something. Jesus's blood on the cross is what did something and it is your obedience to share that message as the Lord commands us to do in Mark 16:15.
Let's make sure we have our priorities right before we go out and save the world via social means. Moderation, balance, perspective, priority…. all of these things need to be in place if you are going to do a seeker hook tactic like this Ohio church is doing. Preach the Gospel. You won't have to bait the public to come into your doors, they will run to get into them if they are being told the word of God, because those people that keep coming back for that…they are the sheep. They are both the hearers of the word and not just the doers. When they are continually hearing the need for a Savior and they themselves get saved, you won't have to bait them, they will come willingly and they will be doing the work of the Great Commission in both word and deed because they have a regenerated heart.
By: Vince and Lori Williams