'We will pay you $10 to come to church'

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2000

BRYAN, Texas (AP) -- Every Sunday morning, the Rev. Rick Sebastian cruises around the missions, cheap motels and housing projects of this southeast Texas town in a big blue bus emblazoned with this plea: ''We will pay you $10 to come to church on our bus.''

Sebastian, minister at New Life in Christ, acknowledges the message is a gimmick, but feels strongly about his cause.

''It gets them into church, and if we can get them into church where they can hear the word of God, their lives can be changed,'' Sebastian told the Houston Chronicle.

When someone accepts his offer, Sebastian drives them to his small, nondenominational church where the choir is made up of his wife, Patricia, and two other women. They're backed up by the church orchestra: a youth minister on the guitar and one drummer.

Sebastian, who is from Detroit, said he's been preaching most of his life. A few years ago, his ministry duties took him to Jacksonville, Fla., where the idea of paying people to attend church was first born in his mind. Back then, he paid $5.

In Bryan, most people turn down Sebastian's offer. But since he started a few months ago, some have come forward.

''I'm looking for a blessing,'' said Bernie Kindred, 49, as he climbed into the air-conditioned bus on a recent Sunday. ''Oh, I can use the $10, but I'm looking for a blessing, too.''



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