Church Marketing via eBay

March 13, 2006 by

Here’s a new way to bring in visitors: eBay. Atheist Hemant Mehta sold his soul on eBay, offering to attend an hour of church for each $10 of the final bid. The auction ended on Feb. 3 after 41 bids. The winner? Former evangelical minister Jim Henderson, founder of Off the Map, with a $504 bid.

Rather than cashing in on 50 hours of Mehta’s church attendance, Henderson flew to Chicago to meet with Mehta in a bar and struck a deal: 10-15 hours of church services and writing about the experience.

“I’m not trying to convert you,” Henderson told Mehta. “You’re going there almost like a critic. If you happen to get converted, that’s off the clock.”

Mehta has offered critiques on everything from the sermon (irrelevant) to the liturgy (less) to the bulletin (weird language). Henderson has seen traffic to his web site spike.

With about half his obligation to Mr. Henderson fulfilled, Mr. Mehta says he’s no closer to believing in God, although he does admire churches for the communities they create. Church, he has decided, is “not such a bad place to be.”

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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5 Responses to “Church Marketing via eBay”

  • Ron Gehrke II
    March 13, 2006

    This is a great site. I have now wasted most of my night reading it. Thanks for pointing it out to us.

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  • Chris
    March 14, 2006

    That sounds a bit like the Mystery Worshipper reports on the Ship of Fools: It’s a great idea. After all, a large part of why we are here is more for the people outside the church than the people inside.
    After having just squirmed through two successive Sunday meetings at my church where personal arguments were publically aired during the service (what message does this send?), the fact that we need to be a place where visitors are made to feel welcome has been brought home to me again.
    Perhaps I can get one of my non-churchgoing friends to do an honest report on my church, which can then be given to the leadership?

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  • Jim McGee
    March 16, 2006

    Chris —
    My company, Guest Reflections, offers just such a service. We recruit people from your community (churched and unchurched) to visit and provide detailed feedback via an online form that is sent to church leaders via email. See

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  • RC
    March 22, 2006

    Mystery worshiper? That’s bizarre! I’d have to think about what I think about that.
    –RC of

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  • jim
    June 4, 2006

    Check out
    free surveys available

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