18 December, 2007

Church Christmas Bonuses Based on Number of Souls Won

SAVANNAH, GA - At Coastal Community Church, it's all about winning souls. "We care about people," said Senior Pastor David S. Young. "We take our marching orders from I Timothy 2:4 (click here) and II Peter 3:9 (click here). God's will is for no one to perish, and we intend to make that happen. We win souls at Coastal!"

Despite Pastor Young's excitement, the church has not been growing over the past two years. In order to "spice things up" and "light a fire," Pastor Young decided to implement a creative and intriguing new plan to motivate the pastoral staff to "win more souls."

TBNN has learned that Coastal has a total of seven pastors (Senior, Music, Youth, Children, Evang. and Missions, Elderly, and Administration). Each year they all receive the same Christmas bonus: $900. Not this year.

Music Pastor Wallace Simmons informed us, "We could have just done things like always, but Pastor Young wouldn't have any of that. He told us that this year there would be a competition. Starting November 1st and running until December 25th, the seven of us pastors would be competing for our Christmas bonuses. This is almost more than I can handle. I mean, I'm here to do the music, not go out on visitation!"

Pastor Mitch Dowd (Evang. and Missions), who is pictured here, said, "The Pastor put all $6300 into his safe at the church. He told us that at the end of the competition, he would pro-rate how we did. We aren't actually guaranteed any bonus at all. Some people might say that this competition is an unfair advantage for me, but I'm more scared than anything else."

Even Youth Pastor Colton Harris is intimidated by the new Christmas bonus plan. "This is almost more pressure than I can take. All I'm thinking about these days is who gets saved next. I have some advantage because I work with youth, but this is still rough."

Pastor Young informed the staff that in order to keep this competition an objective and fair one, the souls-won count (and thus the size of each bonus) would be based only on the number of people who "check the box in the bulletin and put it in the offering plate on Sunday."

The "box," for those of you who do not know, is a place on the weekly bulletin where visitors can check off any decisions they have made. At Coastal, if they check the box, they are also asked to write the name of the pastoral staff member who "led them to the Lord."

Now most of the way through the competition, the church has noticed a recurring problem. Deacon Marvin Jacobs told TBNN, "We keep having new people show up every Sunday and check the box saying they got saved that week. They even write down which staff member helped them. Well, most of these folks never bother to show up again. They don't seem interested in the church or in growing in the Lord. They just get saved and leave. It sure is weird."

At last count, the competition was a close one, with Youth Pastor Harris in the lead with 67 souls won. The Administration Pastor has won only 3 souls, probably (according to Pastor Dowd) because sharing his faith is not part of that job description.

Pastor Young has admitted to the come-to-church-once-and-leave problem, saying, "It seems that some of our staff is getting a bit too over-zealous with this whole thing. I have heard that some people have been told that if they just come to church and check the box, then they will be saved. Nothing more is expected. They come to church once, and then we never see them again. They might have a very false sense of security. Next year I'll have to tweak this competition. Instead of checking a box, we'll do it based on baptisms. Then we'll know for sure that they're really getting saved."

12 comments:

PaPaMarc said...

What a great innovative way to make sure the staff is doing it's job. The newly "saved" not coming back is a little disturbing though. Maybe they could just ask the "box checkers" to come down front and put an electronic tracking device around their ankle.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hash up an old post, but why would you exhort the Jewish Atheist to keep searching? I thought you were Reformed, so why the earnest statement " please keep searching"? Just wondering

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Anon,

I'll let Eric answer you in his own way, but I feel compelled to respond also. You said,

"why would you exhort the Jewish Atheist to keep searching? I thought you were Reformed, so why the earnest statement " please keep searching"?"

I fail to see the problem here. Your question makes me think that you're either an Arminian who either doesn't understand Calvinism or is trying to make a point of some kind, or a Hyper-Calvinist who doesn't believe in evangelism at all.

To be Reformed does not mean that one does not preach the gospel and encourage people to come to Christ, to seek the truth. Would you mind better explaining the supposed discrepancy in Eric's statement?

-Tom

Elder Eric said...

Anon,

Mark 16:15 says, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."

Obedience to that command is good enough for me.

However, I also desire for the Jewish Atheist to be saved. Remember that Paul , who wrote "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1), also wrote, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them (Israel) is that they may be saved" (Rom. 10:1).

There is no discrepancy there.

-EE

Darrin said...

Good words, guys - Hope you don't mind my adding this: Anon - In 1st Corinthians 1 is:
"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not {come to} know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." God not only ordains the salvation of His elect, but also ordains and uses the means, such as the preaching of the gospel. I think the Reformed (i.e. biblical) viewpoint recognizes that preaching, reading, exhortation, etc. are all involved in the process, for so it pleases Him. And He knows who all His chosen are, but we do not!

Uncle-Chicken said...

When I was a kid, I was under the impression that every time you 'saved' someone, you got another jewel in your crown... But now we get money too? Christianity is better than I could have possibly imagined!

Brother Slawson said...

I believe we can learn from the multi-level marketeers. There should not be just one level of salvation fruits. Shouldn't those that we save go forth and save others also? The youth pastor should be able to give pamphlets to those 67 newly-saved. The pamplhets would have checkboxes that their friends at school can check. I would concede, however, that second-level salvations should not count the same...maybe 1/2 of a regular salvation for bonus purposes. Third level... maybe 1/4. Fourth level and beyond... maybe 1/8 each?

Darrin said...

Also, we might made adjustments according to the convert's social, political and economic influence. For example, someone in local politics or real estate will likely have a larger (or at least more important) circle of influence in which they can get more church members, er, converts. So count folks like that as 1.5 people. Affluent people can give more to the ministry and therefore enlarge the Kingdom better, so they're worth at least 1.5 average people too. Low-income folks without much popularity really aren't that important to the Kingdom (yes this is extreme satire), so their souls are probably worth only about half or 0.75 of the average member's. You get the picture - work the numbers.

terriergal said...

It's really sad how close to the truth this is... oy!!

Anonymous said...

I am neither Arminain nor Hyper Calvo. As to your accusation about not understanding Calvinism, there are as many breeds of Calvinism as there are Calvinist. I simply wanted to see where Eric stands. I have read after several Calvinist, and few seem to be in complete agreement. It seems like a farse to offer the gospel to everyone when some Calvinist believe it was not offered to everyone.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Anony,

Your comments indicate that you've had very little exposure to historic Reformed Christianity. Your accusation that "there are as many breeds of Calvinism as there are Calvinist" is ludicrous.

I'm not sure what Calvinist your talking about that you've read, or to what degree of agreement they must have in order to be considered "in agreement." If you talking about every fine point of theology being in line, then there are as many breads of Christianity as their are Christians. But if a consensus among the doctrines of grace exists then there are entire denominations out there in agreement.

As far as your last comment, the gospel is to be offered to everyone, yet not all are chosen. That's Biblical "Many are called but few are chosen." (Matt 22:14). The gospel is to be preached to all without exception because we, as fallen humans, do not know who is elect. Even the most seemingly far gone of sinners may yet be saved. Even one who presently denies the existence of Christ and God.

Elder Eric said...

Anon,

If you will kindly glance over to the right-hand side of the TBNN page, you will see "Commenting Rules." Number 4 makes it clear that you must have a name in order to comment.

If you respond again with a name, I will be happy to tell you where I stand on the issue you raised.

-EE