Go to Church, Win a House

January 6, 2006 by

We’ve seen churches give away Hummers and Harleys before, but a house really takes the cake.

The critics aren’t impressed:

  • “It’s a publicity stunt. It’s a gimmick and like most gimmicks, it’s ill conceived. The general public is pretty immune to such gimmicks,” says J. Gordon Melton, director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Maybe somebody should tell Melton about the lottery–another ill-conceived gimmick very few Americans, and politicians, seem to be immune to.)
  • “If giving away homes, cars, or other gimmicks is strictly a marketing device, rather than being born out of a spirit of compassion and love for others, then the tactic is morally questionable. I see little evidence of Jesus manipulating people by sales gimmicks.” says Donald E. Miller, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. (Ever noticed that Donald Millers don’t seem to like church marketing?)

They just don’t get it, says church member Richard Murillo, whose company built the giveaway home: “Our whole intention is just to bless somebody.”

Whether it’s a blessing or a gimmick, free stuff seems to be a church marketing trend.

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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6 Responses to “Go to Church, Win a House”

  • s. zeilenga
    January 6, 2006

    Well, although I do agree with a few of the arguments I can’t help but think of how powerful Extreme Home Makeovers is. Every time I watch someone start praising God for the new house that sears and TV provided for them I think why not the church?
    So, we definately could bless people by doing stuff like this.
    But then again, do we want to use it as a way to get people to church or should we just do it no matter what, simply because people need it?

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  • brad
    January 6, 2006

    I just hope they actually retain their visitors and don’t just let the door hit them on the way out.

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  • Gman
    January 7, 2006

    Extreme Homemaker? You know what that is called? Youth Missions trips, we’ve been doing that for years. The SAD thing is I had a post on this about a week or so ago and haven’t seen too many blogs commenting on this ridiculous gimmick.

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  • Casper
    January 10, 2006

    Have we missed the real giveaway? Since when was a new house better than a new life?

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  • Stu's a-Musings
    January 11, 2006

    christadelphians are out in force

    i sat there with my friend in the heart of lynmall having just discovered the delights of the mc-cafe triple layered chocolate cake augmented by bad espresso, when out of the blue some teenagers appeared.
    they looked normal except for one thing: they wer

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  • Meshia
    August 22, 2006

    Seems to me if extreme home makeover is involved you already have to be blessed with a home to be made over. Isn’t it about time the church gave back to the community, expecially given the increase in cover charge over the years. Besides if the giving is anything but Christ driven I’m one to believe that it will be dealt with by the almighty. I would rather see a community build rather than another mega church.

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