A Mississippi church has withdrawn its offer of giving a gun to the church member who brought the most new people to the church for the month.
Mark Perrott attended the First Pentecostal Church of Aberdeen, Mississippi as a visitor. While there, he heard something that alarmed him: the church was holding a contest to see who could bring the most new people into the church during the month, and the prize was a AR15 gun, which the pastor described as a “killing machine.”
Perrott told his friend, blogger Jon Kuhrt, about the contest at First Pentecostal and Kuhrt wrote a blog post on it, according to Christian Today.
"Along with my friend Mark, I am at a complete loss to understand the thinking which sees no problem in giving vicious weapons as prizes for bringing people to church,” Kuhrt wrote. “After all, it was only a couple of months ago that a gunman killed nine people in a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. And just last week, there was the horrific shootings in Virginia of a reporter and camera man live on air."
"Did not these recent events cause the leaders of First Pentecostal Church to reconsider its prize?” Kuhrt continued. “Did it not strike anyone at this church as inappropriate?"
Rev Ricky Bowen, pastor of First Pentecostal, has been in touch with Perrott concerning this issue. Kuhrt later wrote that Bowen gave a heartfelt apology.
"My heart is hurting as I really did not think the promotion all the way through,” Bowen wrote. “Your post opened my eyes with an alarming, resounding jolt. I trust you will not judge us by a bad choice of gifting. We really did not even think of it in a negative way until now. I know that must sound foreign to you, however we have had weapons since we were children. That is the way all of us were raised. Thank you for your post. I love the service of Christ. It is my breath, life and hope. The weapon is no longer part of a promotion. May God richly bless you and your business. Your servant in Christ. Ricky Bowen."
Perrott and Kuhrt were pleased that First Pentecostal took such swift action on this issue. Perrott, who runs a furniture business, even offered to give the church a hand-made coffee table as a prize in place of the gun.
Publication date: September 1, 2015