Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Much Is That Pastor In the Window?

When I read the following article, I was both disappointed and angry. I'll explain why following the article.

clipped from
Dallas service to bear witness to Osteen allure
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

Most preachers throw open the church doors and hope for a decent-size crowd. Joel Osteen, in his traveling worship services, charges admission and still draws a throng.

The majority of the nearly 15,000 expected for Mr. Osteen's Sunday night event at American Airlines Center will have paid $15 for a reserved seat.

Others will have spent three or four times that for choice seats through online ticket brokers.

Mr. Osteen said he thought about using a free-ticket system, but after talking with arena managers and others, concluded that a modest charge for reserved seats would lead to more orderly events.

Still, Mr. Osteen acknowledges that ticket sales are important to recouping the roughly $250,000 it costs him to put on an event, including renting an arena. He also takes an offering and sells his books and tapes, and he generally breaks even, he said.

Come on Joel...let's fight against the mentality that churches simply want to get into your pockets. How much did Jesus charge for communicating the gospel in the Bible? Oh, I forgot...NOTHING!

We don't charge for the light show at TBC. Want to know why? It communicates that we don't want the money of our guests. It communicates that it's a free gift to the community. It communicates that we want anyone to come to the event, even if you can't afford a car or car radio (we'll play it via boombox for you). The minute we start charging for this event will be the minute we should stop offering the event.

Let me ask you - which is worse... 1) Turning people away from an event because it was packed out? OR 2) Turning people away from an event because they either couldn't afford the ticket price or didn't want to pay the ticket price for any variety of reasons (especially if they thought it was pocket digging)? Which reason would Jesus turn people away?

What about free methods to get the gospel message out? YouTube. TV. Refund the ticket price after the event. For goodness sake, don't take an offering on top of the admission price.

There's a family attending our church since the light show. They decided to attend because it blew them away that we didn't charge a penny or even take donations. Did the event cost TBC something? You bet you — on all fronts (money, time, volunteers, risk). Was it worth not charging? Judge by the width of God's smile. OK, you really can't — but I wonder which communicates a more positive feeling in the end about who Jesus is and what He came for.

I really don't want to appear braggy that we don't charge for this event - but want to draw attention to fight against the whole "the church wants your money" bit. We need your help Joel. For $15, you can call me on my pay-per-call line to talk about it. After we talk, I'll take a donation — and don't forget the DVD of our phone call, it's worth the $20 because it's high def.

Then again, I don't have 40,000 wanting to call me. Good thing — otherwise I wouldn't have near as much time to blog about this.

1 comment:

  1. Whew, Bryan! I like this side of you! I knew underneath that soft, sensitive musician's heart there was a fire and brimstone preacher just waiting to come out!! I couldn't agree with you more.