Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Church Gun Giveaway!

You have got to be kidding me. Here is a story about a church that was going to give away a gun at their weekend youth conference. I don’t care if you are a pacifist or a card carrying member of the NRA, this is just plain utterly ridiculous. You probably want to read the article so go ahead. If you feel like coming back I wrote some thing below about church, marketing, and youth.

Welcome back and thanks for returning. The problems with giving a semi-automatic weapon to a teenager is obvious. However, I realize this “raffle-prize” technique is all too common in the church. This is another extreme example but I actually heard one pastor say, “One of these days I am seriously going to give away money for people who come to church.”

Most churches don’t have giveaways or prizes for their church attendees. They rightly assume that adults don’t need a carrot dangled in front of them. (However, a lot of people will argue that the music, sermon, church building, worship format are all marketed).

But where this does happen is with the youth. I’ve had a couple of youth pastor jobs and worked last summer at a church camp. The goal in many scenarios was to come up with “activities” to bring the youth into the church/camp. For instance, we might go play paintball or have a movie night. And than when we have the kids all gathered together, when they least expect it, BAM!, we nail them with the Gospel!

This is the same logic that the youth pastor from the Oklahoma church used, “it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event.” The problem is that we don’t believe the Gospel is strong enough on it’s own. Look I’m all for activities. I love movies, paintball, scavenger hunts, game nights, eating pizza, and playing video games. Those things are part of life. They aren’t tactics we should use to lure kids into church.

Ross, claimed, “the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.” Well if that’s true than why didn’t they make a video advertising that giveaway?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think kids should not be allowed to enjoy church or God or anything. You should put them in a dungeon like basement and make them hate it. That would be the Christ like thing to do

Claymation said...

First of all, $800 for a gun to give away!? There has to be a better way to "entice" youth to attend with that money than this...
Second, I just thought I'd mention how awesome it must be to have a youth pastor named Bob Ross (i.e. the same as the late PBS painter we all knew and loved)

Mike Moore said...

Not only is Bob Ross a painter but he is also an ex-NFL football coach! What a cool name!

Mike Moore said...

In response to the first comment....

I think kids should "be allowed" to enjoy church, God, and everything.

I also don't see how putting them in a dungeon like basement and making them hate it is going to reflect the goodness of God.

I'll reiterate my thoughts... Activities are good, events are fun, loud music and video games and concerts are great opportunities for ministry. But we need to also focus on spiritual formation, not just putting together a production.

Guess who?? said...

Couldn't one take your insights to an exreme and suggest then that we should never advertise, never market, never seek to attract, etc? If the "Gospel" is strong enough in itself, then it needs nothing added, including our efforts. Taken to the nth degree it could lead to utltra Calvinism...if God wants people saved, he'll do it himself!! From "guess who????"

Adam said...

I think most anything taken to an extreme is likely a bad thing. The balancing act is "the thrill of orthodoxy."

Mike's clearly not against advertising. His knock-out line at the end makes his point: They're advertising the wrong thing.

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