The people at Sweet Haven Holy Church of God in Virginia, have found new motivation to be in church on Sunday mornings. Each Sunday after the morning worship service, the pastor does a “reverse offering.” He passes out green play money and everybody grabs a bill. On the back of four imitation greenbacks are the pastor’s initials. Those four special bills are worth anywhere between $10 and $100. Because there are four winners each Sunday, people have started climbing out of bed to find their place in the pew. In fact, attendance has doubled since the reverse offering began. Of course there is one small catch—you must be at church for the entire two-hour service to participate in the giveaway.
A gimmick like this might indeed increase church attendance, but it also raises a serious question about motive. What’s your motive for attending church? Would your attendance improve if you had the chance of winning money each week? Would a chance for extra cash reduce your list of excuses for not attending church? This Sunday, your church probably won’t be handing out money, but it will be seeking to draw you and others closer to God. This is the motive for each of us to find our way to Sunday school and worship.