On Easter Weekend 2010, Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi is giving away TVs, laptops and cars – nearly $1 million in prizes.
I’ve been trying to avoid the issue but on Facebook someone finally asked me point blank about it. So here is my take:
On Easter Weekend 2010, Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi is advertising:
“YOU are the next winner of The Ultimate Giveaway! That’s right…With nearly $1 MILLION in prizes and giveaways, this Easter, everyone will win something at Bay Area Fellowship! And, wait…that’s not all. Each service we’re giving away FREE FLATSCREENS, LAPTOPS…and CARS!!! Show up and let Bay Area Fellowship bless YOU this Easter!” (From BAF Promotional material)
Hello Pastor Rick:
I’m curious about your take on BAF’s Easter Giveaway.
Will you please share it with me?
While we don’t regularly hang out I do know the heart of the leadership at BAF well enough to know that they have a passion for, as the old missionary saying goes, “Winning the lost at any cost.” In general, the church of Jesus Christ is always accused of wanting to take, take, take – “it’s all about money”. My guess is, one of their motives, is to try to demonstrate that the true heart of the church is to give. That is our heart but often, what we want to give is not what the world wants to receive. So, they are giving them “stuff” they want to receive so they will come and hopefully also receive what we want to give – the message of hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.
It isn’t much different than what a rescue mission does when they give food to folks who will sit through a sermon. Only this is geared to reach a different economic strata. “But”, some might say, “people need food. They don’t need a flatscreen TV.” You are correct but thousands in Corpus Christi are not going to come hear the message of the gospel if you promise to give them a sandwich and milk. But, they might come hear the message if they have a chance to win a car. To catch fish you have to use bait that they are interested in – different fish, different bait.
As far as how much it costs, “too expensive” is all so relative. A million dollar give away would be out of our league at the Summit Church but we have given away flowers to moms on mother’s day, books and other gifts at times. Those all cost us a few hundred dollars which would be too extravagant for some churches – especially in the third world (or the two thirds world as it is coming to be called). Yes, those gifts could have been sold and the money given to the poor (remember who said that? It was Judas) but the not-so-poor also need to be attracted to hear the message and a bowl of soup with crackers just won’t do it.
So, it isn’t up to me to judge the right or wrong of it. Knowing the leadership at BAF, the little bit that I do, I am fairly certain that they are doing this because they felt a go ahead from God on it. If that is the case, then who am I to second guess God, or for that matter, to second guess what a brother hears from God – as long as it is not in direct contradiction to His Word – which this is not. The Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not give stuff away.” In fact, it seems to say the opposite, “Thou shalt give stuff away.” (Give and it shall be given to you….)
I am glad to see them using their resources to stir up some dust in Corpus Christi. They have the whole town talking about – some positive and lots of negative. Jesus said, “Beware when all men speak well of you.” That is certainly not something the brothers at BAF have to worry about. : ) My take: God bless ‘em and may many have an eternity-changing encounter with Jesus Christ this Easter at Bay Area Fellowship, The Summit Church and every place His Word is properly preached in all of Corpus Christi and to the ends of the earth.
Thanks for asking.
PS – I’ll see you at the Saturday service. I’m hoping to win a laptop. LOL. Just kidding.