*One Chicago area church has doubled its attendance by giving money away every Sunday morning.
Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip has grown from a normal 1,600 to 2,500 parishioners at its three services each week since the cash giveaway started more than a month ago.
Rev. Dan Willis pulls a number of one seat from a bag and the worshiper in that seat wins a cash prize. “Two of the churchgoers win $250 and the third gets $500. The church gives away $1,000 each Sunday,” Willis said.
One Sunday, he gave away 15 savings accounts with $25 already in them. And he had bank representatives at the service so church members could set up accounts. The cash prize is part of the pastor’s recent focus on helping his congregation pay bills and begin a debt-free life,
“We’ve had so many of our people displaced from jobs, facing foreclosure,” Willis told the Chicago Tribune. “When people’s faith was high, their debt was down. When their faith was down, their debt was high. I realized the two are connected.”
Willis concedes the cash prize is a gimmick to fill the pews. But he’s unapologetic about the plan, because it’s working.