Olson Critical of Free Gas Promotions by Churches

Post a Comment » Written on September 3rd, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (September 3, 2008) – David Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, is quoted by the Associated Press as questioning the effectiveness of some churches’ efforts to attract attendance with gasoline promotions.

Congregations across the country have responded to high gasoline prices through giveaways and other events, including free gasoline cards, sponsoring 99-cent gasoline sales, and holding gasoline raffles.

”I personally would encourage them that having people from their church build relationships with their friends who do not attend church, and invite them as their friend, would be a much better strategy,” says Olson, who also is director of the American Church Research Project and author of The American Church in Crisis. http://covbookstore.stores.yahoo.net/amchurincri.html

One church cited in the news report, the Congregational United Church of Christ of Valley City, North Dakota, gave away $50 gasoline cards. Some members left because they considered the promotion “a bribe,” according to the news account. Pastor Carl Borden responded, “the overriding goal is to have a little fun and remind people that the church is there.

”It’s a method of marketing for the church,” he said. ”For a $200 investment we’ve made, we got featured in the local newspaper once, twice on TV, and it’s the buzz around town. I can’t get a quarter-page ad for $200.”

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