Holy Seat! Reverend Tries Pay-for-Pray at Illinois Church

Minister pays $1000 in prizes a week

Monday, Nov 2, 2009  |  Updated 11:58 AM CDT
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Holy Seat! Reverend Tries Pay-for-Pray at Illinois Church

AP

Where you sit could mean cash in a suburban Chicago church.

Jesus may be seated at the right hand of the Father, but Alsip's Lighthouse Church of All Nations is offering a few seats each Sunday that are almost as good.

Along with God's blessing, three parishioners each week will get cold hard cash for coming to church.

Rev. Dan Willis has instituted a holy lottery at his three Sunday services, where the lucky seat numbers pulled send three churchgoers home with cash prizes of $500 and $250.

"We've had soooo many of our people displaced from jobs, facing foreclosure," he told Chicago Breaking News. "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."

The plan is filling pews. Attendance has gone from 1,600 to 2,500 in just five weeks, Willis told the paper. 

"If I can get someone in here and teach them and give them money, that's what I'm going to do," he said of the funds that he pulls out of the offering plate.

Along with the chance to win comes a message on spending, featuring a shredder for credit cards and bank representatives ready to open accounts with a $25 deposit made for them. 

"The Bible says even an ant stores up in the summer so it can live in the winter," Willis told the paper. "Even an ant knows how to save. We, with intellect, don't know how to do it." 

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