Praying for Rain on Obama & Saying No to Money

August 15, 2008 by

Here we have two case studies in why Church Marketing Sucks still sucks:

Church Rejects Donation from Lottery Winner
The title pretty much says it all. $600,000 could do a heck of a lot for your marketing budget. And taking $600,000 to invest in the community could be a wonder for the way you’re viewed. Or, you could take the press hit and the “dummy” label by making the Drudge Report for refusing $600,000. Perhaps you’ll get some points for sticking to your guns and refusing to accept money from sin. But in all likelihood, people around you will think you’re irrational for giving a lottery winner $600,000 extra to gamble rather than taking it and multiplying it for the kingdom.

Man Prays for Rain to Spoil Obama’s Speech
The first line of this story reads, “A former pastor and former TV meteorologist.” When you start politicking from the pulpit and combining prayer with your weather forecast, that’s when you become a former pastor and meteorologist. Now Stuart Shephard is working for Focus on the Family and leading nationwide campaigns for rain on Obama. For the records, praying to smite people who disagree with you is never good marketing.

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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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16 Responses to “Praying for Rain on Obama & Saying No to Money”

  • Jesse James
    August 15, 2008

    Seriously? I’ve been praying that God would smite Relevant Magazine, but they keep coming up with awesome stuff. JK, I love relevant!
    I wish that church had done something awesome with the money. Fundamental drawback to this marketing thing: If they had taken it and done something good with it, we wouldn’t have heard about it in the news. Good stuff churches do isn’t as news worthy.

  • Jonathan Blundell
    August 15, 2008

    Just told a co-worker about the Obama/rain story. She said she always heard that rain was a blessing. As dry as its been in Texas lately – today’s rain really is a blessing.
    Perhaps Focus on the Family is praying for something they may not want :-).

  • Jeremy!
    August 15, 2008

    I actually just blogged about this this morning. From a marketing perspective, doesn’t the spectacle of rejecting blood money cause people to wonder “huh?” about that church? It seems like a good combination of witness against gambling while causing people to look at the church askance…in a good way!
    Check it out if you want to read more: Lottery Winnings in Offering Plates

  • Laure
    August 15, 2008

    Praying for rain during a speech? That’s a bit petty, if you ask me. Should we also pray that he gets a paper cut and someone pours lemon juice on it? Maybe he could get a hangnail? Or perhaps sit on a tack?

  • Mykel
    August 15, 2008

    The lottery is sinful?
    Guess I’m going to hell…

  • Kevin
    August 15, 2008

    I applaud the church for rejecting tithe from lottery money. I was puzzled by this stance from my home church when they made the decision to never accept lottery money, but now I see the harm it could cause and the message it would send. Accepting the money would encourage people to blindly give their money away in hopes that the statically improbable would happen. Doesn’t sound like something Jesus would do.
    Heard about the Focus on the Family guy praying for rain on The Factor. Compared to what some liberals are wishing on McCain, this is laughable. In poor taste, sure, but laughable.

  • Heath
    August 15, 2008

    For the life of me I cannot figure out what the biblical reasoning would be for either of these two positions.
    The preacher – who is also a talented camel swallower – gave no explanation for not taking this generous gift. I quickly think of the parable of the talents here — of course, I’m sure the preacher could school me on what it really means.

  • Donny-Marketing Twin #2
    August 15, 2008

    I, like Jonathan, blogged about this too. I would love to challenge Mykel to explain the position he/she is making to “applaud” the move… makes no sense other than to claim that playing the lottery is more sinful than half the stuff that you or I do every day. I’m not sure where the Bible includes gambling as a sin but I do know that since I’m JEALOUS (Gal 5:20) about the guy winning the $6 mil and I win the lottery, there’s no way that church would ever accept my gift – is that the point he’s trying to say? Foolish interpretation of God’s Word in my opinion.
    Read my post:

  • ethan
    August 16, 2008

    look if the church believes gambling is a sin and they stand up for what they believe, that is a good thing.
    The only argument you can make is that they are theologically wrong.
    Would you accept a 600,000 donation from hugh heffner, planned parenthood, jack kevorkian, your local drug dealer, exxon mobile.
    Some churches would and some wouldn’t, depending on what they viewed as sin. A unitarian church in vermont may reject donations from oil companies but accept the tithe of the stripper. However an old time holiness church in texas would do the opposite.
    While I may disagree with the church theologically I applaud them for standing up for what they believe. Changing your view of sin for 600,000 dollars is NEVER a good idea.

  • Heath
    August 17, 2008

    The view of sin is not and should not be relative. We cannot excuse anyone’s bad theology based on ignorance. It is not enough to “believe” something is or is not a sin. Our faith must be based on something more than strong beliefs or we are the Kiwanis Club with a cross!

  • Heath
    August 17, 2008

    I wholeheartedly support the church’s ability, under the direction of Christ, to take what was meant for evil and use for good. The stripper and the lottery!

  • Lex
    August 18, 2008

    I heard someone talking about the prayer for rain on the radio the other day. The person was at first upset about it, but later apologized when he realized it was in sarcasm.
    I didn’t hear it myself, so I don’t know if it was a bad attempt at humor, but it should remind us that things are not always what they seem.
    As for the lottery, our church leadership disapproves because Romans 14 teaches, “whatever is not from faith is sin,” and because it’s not good stewardship of what God has given. Just because something is not “more sinful than half the stuff that you or I do every day” doesn’t mean it’s okay.

  • chuck cee
    August 18, 2008

    it seems to have rained on obamas attempt to seem churchified at saddleback last saturday night. It was like being in a flood and seeing the ark float away…i would imagine anyways. Babies that are still in the belly, matter immensely!

  • Church Administrator
    August 19, 2008

    If we are support to not demonstrate Politics in Church. Then why was Politics in the center of a Church setting for a “Conversation with the Candidates”. Did we not just join instead of keeping separate Church and State?
    Did anyone realize what was happening beside me?

  • Ambert Rodriguez
    August 27, 2008

    There is no such thing as sinful money. If it were so, then almost all of the money we use must be sinful, cause a lot of it comes from casinos, drug money…. 1 Corinthians 8

  • davetark
    June 20, 2009

    As the pastor who rejected the $600K, the reality is that no one will ever really understand. In my prayer time, I believe God led me to make the decision I did. Really wasn’t trying to make a statement. Just listening to God. Amazed that so many people not in the situation know exactly what they would do. I used to think that. In fact, I actually accepted the money at first, then returned it after being awakened in the middle of the night about this.
    BTW – love your site.

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