Go to Church, Win a Hummer

January 14, 2005 by

Go to church, win a Hummer.A Tampa Bay church is giving away a 2003 H2 Hummer. People had a chance to register during 2004 at The River at Tampa Bay Church and those eligible included first-time visitors, members who brought first-time visitors, Bible students, and those who filled out a survey. Other prizes included a scooter and a Play Station, all to be awarded during the church’s Winter Campmeeting which runs this week.

Reactions have varied from supportive:

“It’s a great idea. Ingenious,” said Randy Brummit, pastor of Brandon Assembly of God with about 400 members. “If I could give away a car a week, we would.”

“It’s a bait on the hook to get people in to hear the message,” said Randy White, televangelist and senior pastor of the 18,000-member Without Walls International Church. “What would Jesus do?” asked White, pausing to recite a Bible text from John 14. “If you live right, you get a mansion. That’s a pretty good incentive. It’s better than a Hummer.”

To critical:

“I think Hummers are morally questionable,” said Marc S. Sack, rabbi for Congregation Rodeph Sholom. “At a time when Americans think about conserving energy resources, I don’t think we should be encouraging or celebrating a vehicle that is the ultimate gas guzzler.”

University of South Florida religious studies instructor Dell deChant pointed to a Bible verse that warns Christians “to be in the world not of it. Critics would say [giving away a Hummer] is a little too much of the world.”

What do you think?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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13 Responses to “Go to Church, Win a Hummer”

  • orangejack
    January 14, 2005

    I think the idea is great. I can see the viewpoint of the Rabbi, but that’s focusing on the “prize”, not the concept. Using a gift like that isn’t such a bad idea.

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  • Rhinoguy
    January 14, 2005

    What do I win if I answer your question?

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  • kevin
    January 17, 2005

    Rhinoguy, you can win the joy of seeing your name posted in the comments section!
    I’m not sure what to think about the whole Hummer as bait for Jesus thing. The whole thing smacks of a prosperity gospel, but aside from that it just seems like a bit much. Giving away prizes and trying to get people to come to church is a good idea, and this could certainly be a way to get attention and get people talking (though the church officials commented that they didn’t want any attention?!).
    But I would think you could do the same thing for half the price. Give away a Toyota Prius (the rabbi will feel better about that one), a handful of Play Stations, maybe even a few dozen dinners out–you’re spending half the money but still making quite an impact.
    A bigger issue here might be whether or not bribing people is an acceptable way to get them to church. On one hand it’s not exactly in line with the values we teach inside the door (it’s essentially appealing to greed and selfishness). But at the same time we can’t be a bunch of stuffy churchy types (one of the pastors in the article commented that the Bible should be enough to get people to church, which just made me want to laugh)–let’s be realistic, people aren’t exactly beating a path to the church. Which may be because there are deeper problems with church that need to be addressed with a lot of hard work, not an “easy” $50,000 giveaway.

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  • Rob
    June 16, 2005

    A REAL Christian would give EVERYTHING he or she owns to charity. Any Church that has enough money to buy a Hummer H2 to give to a member of the flock should be giving that money to charity. Any other use is an affront to Our Lord. Shame on all of you.

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  • Anon
    September 13, 2005

    Actually the hummer was given to the church to give away. Go look on http://www.revival.com for all they are doing for charity and for souls.

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  • shane
    October 12, 2005

    It’s a sad day when the church bribes people with material things to worship God. We ought to repent and not pat these ideas on the back…

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  • bo
    December 3, 2005

    My bible says that a day is coming when the entire world will be judged by fire.
    2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
    That’s one hummer of a piece of firewood!

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  • Danny
    December 22, 2005

    How much is a soul worth? 1 person wins a Hummer the other thousand hear the Gospel for the 1st time in their lives. Was it worth it? I say yes. We can’t just sit back… We need to put our sneakers to the Gospel, and start doing what we need to do to lead people to Christ. The sorry part is when we start looking at the person who won the Hummer as the winner… and not those that now follow Christ.

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  • jeff
    December 29, 2005

    I think that if we are to reach the lost then we must think like the lost. Our church did something similar, with outstanding results when we gave away free turkeys to every family the weekend before Thanksgiving. Thanks for being creative in reachcing people. Keep up the good work.

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  • carl
    February 14, 2006

    I know this is an old thread but last week I saw an interview with the girl who won the hummer.
    She is 17 and spends almost every free moment winning souls for Christ. The day of the interview she said she had personaly lead over 30 people to Christ and had done the same thing the day before.
    The interview was really her testifying about how she had won an theist that day. The interviewer brought up the hummer.

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  • a
    March 28, 2006

    the girl had won over 6000 people to Jesus the year before. And uses it to evangelize the inner city. Don’t be so religious.

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  • Anon
    May 28, 2006

    I can’t believe any Christian would support such a thing. Its ultimately a bribe that lures people into a place in order to win them over, literally. And with what? Something that pollutes, rapes the planet of its natural resources and guzzles enough gas to keep US soldiers dying in Iraq for decades. Yup, sounds like something Jesus would do. Churchs make me sick.

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  • Tom
    October 18, 2007

    Jesus did not believe in churches or giving money to them. And also teaches that giving money to a chruch or religion is a sin, “trying to buy your way into heaven” from the bible. The only way to salvation is not going to chruch but to being a good person and helping your fellow humans. Instead of being selfish on Sunday and going to church and giving money, go to an orphanage or SPCA and lend a helping hand. A much more useful time spent instead of praying for things “also selfish”. Nothing like someone praying “or begging” to god to do something, when they have the power to try and do something. All churches should be sold and the money from the propertys should be given to hospitals, schools and homeless people. Churches are just huge money making organizations that create hatred and bigotry. Jesus would be sick to his stomach if he saw how people used his name today.

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