Church and High Gas Prices

May 22, 2008 by

Here’s a thought: Maybe more folks will be in town over the summer for church because of the spike in gas prices.

At least that’s what the Minneapolis Star Tribune is positing. Less road trips and flights due to high gas prices might mean more people around on Sunday mornings for services. So how will you reach folks who are feeling the pinch of high gas prices?

Well, some churches might consider raffling away gas. The church in the Star Tribune article encouraged folks to bike to church and added bike racks. Others have paid gas stations the difference to have volunteers pump gas at a discounted cost (and give a car wash to boot!). Some churches have even given away free gas (back when it was approaching $3/gallon).

Or you could preach a sermon about how expensive gas is, but we should fill up our souls at Heaven’s pump for free.

At the very least, don’t tone down your marketing efforts for the summer. Create experiences for the people who can’t normally leave town; give them family activities to do without taking the long drive. Churches have a big opportunity as gas prices go up, how will your church use it?

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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12 Responses to “Church and High Gas Prices”

  • zak white
    May 22, 2008

    We have a great HOW TO DO A GAS BUY DOWN guide here:

  • Michael
    May 22, 2008

    I agree, summer marketing shouldn’t be any different than other times. Aren’t the summer attenders just as improtant?
    We aim for the fences every week. No Sunday is disposable.
    We give out a $10 gas card to 1st time visitors so the second trip is on us.

  • Mike
    May 22, 2008

    Those are all good ideas, but I think we need to realize just how serious this situation is…and how the Church will respond.
    What we really need to be doing is preparing for a world of $5, $8, $15, and $20+ gasoline. The world is headed that way, and it’s just a matter of how quickly it happens.
    Depending on the speed of increase, the implications of sky-high gas prices for our society could be larger than anything we’ve seen since WWII. Our communities and relationships (with God and man) will become very important.
    How will the Church be ready?

  • Bad Grammar Sucks
    May 22, 2008

    Just for the record, less is qualitative and fewer is quantitative. So, it should be, “Fewer road trips and flights…”

  • Darryl
    May 22, 2008

    “Create experiences for the people who can’t normally leave town; give them family activities to do without taking the long drive.”
    This suggestion can I could follow with good conscious. The other advice contained in this post is pure crass.

  • Jim McGee
    May 23, 2008

    For those considering raffles, churches should be aware that many states have laws affecting non-profit organizations running games of chance, with raffles mentioned specifically. In most cases, it just requires registration and the filing of occasional paperwork with the state. Don’t put your church in a position where it’s non-profit status is jeopardized.

  • Jim McGee
    May 23, 2008

    …and in hopes of staving off another salvo from Bad Grammar Sucks, let me repent by saying I should have used “its” (belonging to it), not “it’s” (contraction of “it is”).

  • Andy Wood
    May 25, 2008

    We came up with the same idea, but for different reasons. We adopted a “sez who” attitude toward a summer slump, and have created a growth campaign titled, uniquely enough, “Grow!”
    See here:

  • Andy Wood
    May 25, 2008

    Trying again (sigh)…
    We’re doing the same thing, but for different reasons. We’ve adapted a “sez who” attitude toward having a summer slump, and started a summer growth campaign, titled uniquely enough, “Grow!”
    More here:

  • Joshua Cody
    May 27, 2008

    @zak At first I thought that was going to be one of those “stick it to the oil company” chain letter-like things. I’m glad it wasn’t. Great idea!
    @Mike Any suggestions?
    @Badgrammar Good call, thanks for that.
    @Andy Sorry our “frustrate” got you frustrated! We do our best to keep the spammers out.

  • Rosemary
    May 28, 2008

    Personally, I’d say that the higher gas prices are a great opportunity for preparing us as communities to live in more environmentally conscious ways.
    Increasingly, Christians are seeeing it as our mission to care for the earth’s resources, and this is a great way to focus on that. Churches can use this summer as a time to call people to a life of living fully on fewer resources. What a great thing that could be.

  • Doug
    May 28, 2008

    Love the post. I have also thought about how the gas prices may help the local church become more of a reality.
    In so many of our suburb communities people have been willing to drive 30 to 60 min. each way to attend church. In areas where public transportation aren’t available it seems that there may be some that decide to find a local church.
    I agree that this may be a great time to hit the community with a marketing blitz that communicates your “local presence”.
    I would love to see some creative ideas that others have come up with along these lines!

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