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Saved by the gas card

Emily Crone

If you’re one of those folks who wakes up every Sunday morning dreading going to church, First Baptist Church in Snellville, Ga. has created a new incentive for salvation, the Associated Press reports.

The church placed a large sign near a busy highway that shouts out “free gasoline” in big, bold letters, with a phone number below it. A recorded message informs callers that every time they attend revival events at the church, whether a current member or newbie, they have the chance to win one of two $500 gas cards.

Why not pray to God to lower gas prices instead? Because members of First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Washington already tried it at a gas station down the street from their church. Thus far, there has been no report of action by the Almighty.

While First Baptist has nearly 9,000 members, only 2,500 members regularly go to church on Sundays. Maybe they’re trying to save on gas by staying in bed Sunday mornings. James Lee, the church’s minister to seniors, tells the AP his church is strong in door-to-door evangelism, but came up with this idea to capture the rest of the unfaithful.

The church’s pastor, Rusty Newman, says some people think this unique move is merely to get more people to fill up the pews. That’s not it, he says. “We want to meet someone’s physical need and eternal spiritual needs.” Not only that, he says the Bible endorses his thought here. After all, Jesus fed 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish. Why not help some people offset transportation costs?

Would you start going to church again if it meant possibly winning $500 in free gas? I think I would, and I was raised Jewish. I hope that doesn’t make me a sinner.

See related: Coping at the gas pump

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