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."