Dr. David W. Manner is the Associate Executive Director for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. He blogs at http://kncsb.org/blogs/dmanner . You can follow him on Twitter: @dwmanner.
In retail, a loss leader is the practice of offering goods or services discounted at or below cost in order to draw consumers in. The strategy is that drawing them in will hopefully lead them to buy additional items at a higher price.
Churches are formulating final plans for meaningful Easter worship services at the end of this week knowing they will potentially impact more attendees than on any other Sunday of the year. In an effort to entice more participation some of those congregations are planning gimmicks or hooks to get consumers in for one of the most meaningful days of the church year.
When those consumers realize that worship actually requires offering their bodies as a living sacrifice, what methods then will those same congregations need to employ to entice those consumers to count the cost (Rom 12:1)? How will those congregations help them express deep calling unto deep worship…when discounted loss leader worship is all that they are offering (Ps 42:7)? In this context, you get what you pay for actually means…whatever you reach people with is what you will reach them to.
King David responded to God’s command to build an altar to the Lord so that the plague on the people of Israel might be stopped (2 Sam 24:21). At no cost to David, Araunah offered his threshing floor, his oxen, and even the wood from the oxen yokes for the burnt offering. King David replied, “No, I insist on paying for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24).
Terry York and David Bolin wrote, “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas. We should not lift up to God worship or any other offering that costs us nothing. If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.”1
1 Terry W. York and C. David Bolin, The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005), 112.