Since the Gospel Isn’t Enough…Boost Attendance with iTunes Giveaways

Church by the Glades (Castle Springs, FL) provides the latest example of today’s church leaders betraying their complete lack of confidence in the Gospel. This church seeking to lure new visitors to attend church by offering them $15 iTunes gift cards and a chance to win an iPhone.

Here’s how to score the schwag. Be a first-time visitor to any of their sermons during a three week series entitled “I: Living in a Self-Absorbed World,” and you’ll get a $15 iTunes gift card. If you fill out the “connection card” you’ll be entered into a drawing to win an iPhone.

What is so ironic about this is the description of the sermon series on their website:

“Is life all about you? Our society will tell you yes. But what does God say about how you should live? The Bible teaches that if you want to be considered GREAT, you must learn to SERVE (Matthew 20:26-28)! Starting August 18th, Pastor David Hughes will spend 3 weeks talking about how to avoid the self-absorbed mentality.”

What do they not get about how they are contradicting their message by their method?

Lest we think twice about their method, a SBC spokesman is quick to defend:

“The method is fair game as long as it’s not illegal, immoral or against scripture,” Oldham said. “The message must never be compromised.”

Um, but it is. Aren’t they attempting to increase attendance by blatantly tapping into people’s self-absorption so that they can preach against being self-absorbed?

Furthermore, isn’t this illustrative in highlighting how little many of today’s church leaders ever consider their methods to be potentially undermining to their message?

Yeah, it’s clever. Yeah, it’s creative. And to way too many of these guys, that’s the zenith of achievement. Too bad that good content (the content of Scripture) takes a backseat to the all-important goal of creativity like this.

(HT: Jeff Symkil)

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6 Responses to Since the Gospel Isn’t Enough…Boost Attendance with iTunes Giveaways

  1. fred says:

    We obviously don’t agree, but thanks for your input Scott. You are completely entitled to your opinion. The only thing I think you missed was that we are attempting to grow God’s Kingdom, not our church. I assume that is what you are trying to do, right? That would make us on the same team…We may not agree on the methods, but I think we both are attempting to achieve the same goal. Our methods are used to highlight the unchanging, all-important message of Jesus Christ…Good luck and God Bless in your efforts!

  2. Scott W. Kay says:

    Fred,

    I don’t doubt your desire to grow God’s kingdom. I’m thankful for it, but I think this kind of attempt is misguided and blind to unintended effects. Methods matter. Not all methods are conducive to effective evangelism. Methods can and do change the message more often than Christians want to admit. I think that this is the kind of pragmatism that ignores the message that the method itself is sending, to the extent of overshadowing the very message you are preaching. I think that this is an example of how a method can in fact be undermining to our message. I applaud you heartily for preaching against self-absorption, I just think you’re going about it in a way that promotes it.

  3. Kim says:

    David didn’t think methods were important when he went to transport the ark back on the Philistine cart. But God did. And I’ll bet Uzzah thought so too when all was said and done!

  4. broadwaygirl says:

    Scott,

    I actually attend Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, FL, and can tell you first hand, that the pastors in no way, shape, or form muddy the message of Christ through their methods or creativity. It is always very clear…(and yes) it is always very creative…and it is always relavent to living a life for Christ. I would encourage you to check it out either in person or via a free download at itunes. I believe that you will then have a clear picture to the ministries of Church by the Glades and the clear message that is presented every week. I hope you (and others) have a chance to tune in…I think this series is going to be great!

  5. fred says:

    Kim: I would say that “methods” and clear, God-given rules are two very different things. Uzzah was “struck down” because he, King David and the other priest did not follow God’s specific instructions on transporting the ark. Comparing what we do to that story is a bit of a stretch…What is interesting, since you bring it up, is when David got that ark back to Jerusalem. He had some pretty interesting “methods” or ways of expressing his worship–dancing, clapping, singing, playing instrument, etc…

    Scott: As I said, I respect your opinion. I only hope you can respect ours too. Again, I think we are attempting to accomplish the same thing just different ways…

    Broadwaygirl: You need to introduce yourself to me this weekend…

  6. metalman777 says:

    Hey! Found your blog as I was researching some Jesus Junk stuff for my own blog.

    I gotta agree with you about the “contradictoriness” of what this church is doing. Heck I’d go to get a free iTunes card (can never have enough music) and never come back again.

    Keep writing!

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