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Another Evangelical Con Job, This Time by 7 Hills Church in Cincinnati, Ohio

plastic easter eggs

I have often been accused of having a cynical, jaded view of Evangelical Christianity; that I am the former Evangelical equivalent of Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; that I was hurt by the church; that I hate God, and by extension, I hate God’s chosen people — Evangelicals. Thus, Evangelicals smugly, arrogantly, and self-righteously ignore my critiques of Evangelicalism. Yet, in spite of their seeming dismissal of my writing and my story, these same people sure spend a lot of time attacking my character, trying to save me, and gossiping about me on their blogs, on social media, and in private forums (I have spies everywhere). I suspect this post will bring the same worn-out objections from the same people. In their minds, I simply have it out for Evangelicals. Instead of considering whether what I say is true, Evangelical zealots choose, instead, to go after me as a person. Such is the nature of the Internet.

Over the past fifteen years, I have interacted with thousands of Evangelical Christians. From emails to blog comments and social media messages to snail mail, Evangelicals have made their opinions known to me. I’ve even had Evangelicals call me or stop by my house.

On occasion — well, lots of occasions — I’ve had Evangelicals try to befriend me. Numerous Evangelicals preachers have told me that they would like to take me out to lunch or dinner. Why would these people want to befriend Bruce Gerencser, an outspoken atheist and critic of Evangelicalism? Do they really just want to be friends with me? Of course not. Hiding behind their feigned offers of friendship are ulterior motives.

I have written on this subject numerous times:

I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible for Evangelicals not to have ulterior motives when attempting to form relationships with non-Christians. This statement is justified by Evangelical apologists saying that Evangelicals are commanded by God to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; that Hell is real; death and eternal punishment are certain for unbelievers unless they repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus; that Paul said Christians should use any means possible to save people. Such Evangelicals believe that the end always justifies the means when it comes to evangelizing the “lost.” Thus subterfuge and lies are justified as long as they lead to people getting saved.

Yesterday was Easter, or what Evangelicals love to call Resurrection Sunday. Easter, along with Mother’s Day and Christmas, is the highest attendance day of the year. Church members are encouraged to pull out the stops to entice their friends, family, and neighbors to attend their church’s Easter service. Churches often use all sorts of gimmicks — what we called “promotions” in my Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) days — to draw people to church.

7 Hills Church, a congregation with locations in Florence, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, provides a good illustration of what I am talking about in this post. 7 Hills Church held multiple egg drops after services on Good Friday, Holy (huh?) Saturday, and Easter Sunday. 200,000 eggs were dropped for 3,000 children to put in their baskets and bags. According to Kyle Waid, an associate pastor at 7 Hills Church, “Every year, 7 Hills Church tries to make fun Easter memories for families. Over the years, we’ve dropped eggs out of hot air balloons, had professional skydivers, fireworks, and even shot people out of cannons.”

Waid knows Easter egg hunts are thoroughly, completely, and absolutely secular, yet justifies having one:

[Paul said] To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. Our church carries that same mission. We have become all things to all people with the same goal as Paul: that someone would receive the message of Jesus. The egg hunt is an afterthought. The goal is to reach people.

The goal, Waid stated, is to “reach [save, evangelize] people.” Not just doing something nice and fun for local children. The goal is what the goal always is for Evangelicals: saving sinners, adding members to the church, and increasing offerings.

Much like Evangelical rescue missions who require homeless people to sit through a sermon and an altar call before getting a meal or a bed for the night, 7 Hills Church required children and their families to attend church before the Easter egg drop.

Waid stated:

Following every Easter service, we hand out admission tickets to the egg hunt. It’s our hope that through the 10 minutes of hunting eggs, families can create a fun memory together. It’s our prayer that through the hour and 15-minute service, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters, and brothers can find a forever friend in Jesus.

According to Waid, almost five hundred people were “saved” during the Easter weekend churches. Waid added that 7 Hills pastor Marcus Mecum “has always invested heavily in the next generation, including making church for children fun and engaging.” Dropping plastic Easter eggs from the sky, a stunt that cost thousands of dollars, is “investing heavily in the next generation’? Really? Fun? Sure. But, I would love to know how much money 7 Hills has invested in the local community with no strings attached. My bet is on “not much.” How much money was spent on people outside of the church, on paying rent, utilities, car repairs, and providing food to the least of these? Again, based on their multi-million-dollar budget, I’d say “not much.”

I’m sure there are Evangelical churches that do minister to their communities with no strings attached, I just don’t know of any. Exant evidence suggests that when you see Evangelicals coming your way, they want something from you; that their promises of friendship are just a means to an end, the salvation of your soul and the liberation of your wallet. My advice? Run.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    That’s hilarious, dropping eggs from the sky, only surprised he didn’t say ‘from heaven.’ I say that as a former children’s evangelist who pulled many stunts for jesus to entrap my hearers. I too am convinced x-tians ALWAYS have that ulterior motive however much they claim they are just acting out of human compassion.
    Anecdote:Background: X-tianity in Wales is all but dead. Churches continue to be closed regularly. Big missionary organisations rarely come here but Youth With A Mission has moored a boat in our harbour to refit it to go to Madagascar (which is 85% x-tian but presumably not the right sort of x-tian.) To show what all round good guys they are, they sent a working party, from Switzerland to do Good Works in the town, like clearing an overgrown churchyard. Some local x-tians are helping with the re-vamp, including my friend. I see this as YWAM’s cunning plan to get churches here to become donors. Friend said they decided not to work on good Friday, but meet for prayer for the project. He said a local x-tian turned up and took over the meeting by telling them they were All Wrong about celebrating Easter and Xmas, pagan festivals. YWAM staff got out bibles and a theological spat ensued….Head-desk and Face-palm from me….if their god is so omnipotent, why doesn’t he revive his church here? Instead, fundies cause splits and more splits in a moribund church, yet they go on expecting converts to their own brand of jesus. Judging by my friend’s comment to me, he has doubts. He said, ‘I’m not sure how this project will work out, sending dentists to Madagascar.’ But then he added hastily ‘But I’m sure it’s from God.’ ??????? I’d like to ask YWAM a question. If they had a choice between doing dentistry or giving out bibles in Madagascar, which would they choose? They’d be lying if they said the former.

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    My sons were bussed to the Baptist Church in Bryan. Anytime one of the members had reached out to me I would’ve been okay with that then. So it’s funny that they supposedly do something nice for kids by bussing them to Wed church. And yet, I didn’t show any interest so they, in turn, couldn’t be bothered.

    Now I’m at the point where, if I attended a church, it would be UU. A super liberal, no burning hell everyone gets saved Christian church of that type would be okay to me, but in super MAGA white nationalist fundie extreme NW Ohio? I don’t think so.

  3. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    I know of this guy, a kind of notorious marketeer in Crypto who has designed a sort of time-deposit thang called HEX. It reads to me as quite brilliant and worth investing in (not financial advice! Do your own reaearch.) Anyway because the design of this new offering resembles a PONZI scheme, he is getting a lot of hate and has been throughout development stages. Recently he was in ‘debate’ with this other fellow known in Crypto and was entirely demolishing him with crypto knowledge and verifiable fact. The guy got so deflated he just resorted to calling Richard Heart fat! And I thought of the several occasions here that this same effect has been demonstrated. Bruce lays it out like it is and his opponents crumple and whisper: FAT! You’re FAT!

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    A few years back, we took our grandson to one of those easter egg drops hosted by a large Baptist church here in Augusta, GA. At the time, he was 5 years old. The idea was for kids in his age group to run out at the signal of a horn blast and get the candy and what-not dropped by the helicopter. Parents were not supposed to be allowed to go with their children when they ran out on the field.

    Unfortunately, when the horn blasted, many (many!) parents ran out with their kids to “help” them, and in the process kids got pushed out of the way and knocked down so that the parents little darlings could get their share. Needless to say, all that happened that day was an upset grandson and a pissed off grandma and grandpa leaving that fiasco with a bad taste in their mouths.

    My wife and I aren’t church-goers, but you’d think that the “good christians” of that church would be abhorred by that conduct……..instead, they appear promote it year after year.

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    “How much money was spent on people outside of the church, on paying rent, utilities, car repairs, and providing food to the least of these?”

    indeed. Those useful things don’t satistfy the evangelical need to screech their religion from their literal and metaphorical street corners.

    My former church has no problem in doing things like this, sending “missionaries” to places with already large Christiain populations (just not the right version), etc rather than helping the people around them, being in northern appalachia aka western pennsylvania.

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    I used to be on the executive staff there back 11 years ago (was working there when I lost my faith and realized I was an atheist). This is definitely standard operating procedure for them. Splashy, big, extravagant. 3000+ person church. Every alter call the same people would go forward, and be counted as saved, there would of course be others that went forward as well but only counting them wouldn’t look as good. By the end it looked like it was always for the show.

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      The funny thing I forgot to add is, I lost my faith around March, I worked there till October. After I lost my faith is when I really started paying attention to what was being said, and how it was being said from the pulpit. and since part of my duties was being there for every service I got to hear it all. While there was nothing blatant, there were many factual mistakes I caught, logic issues, just so stories coming from the videos and pulpit. What also astounded me that I had never picked up on was the sheer amount of volunteer and staff turnover, and the backbiting and off color jokes from the staff.

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    Regarding all that money being spent, I learned that it was never a good idea to ask questions like “Why are we raising thousands of dollars per person to send a short-term missions group of unskilled, middle-class Americans to to build a ramshackle church building when that same money could employ dozens of, likely skilled, local workers who need the money, to do the same thing?”

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    There is a church near me that gives out a free Saturday breakfast. I thought about going to it, hey in a roundabout way I pay their property taxes, so they owe me. Any advice on how to handle the inevitable hard sell?

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    We are all sinful people. Have we not hated our own brothers and sisters with ulterior motives? Why should God die for us? So that he could get the glory of beings, broken, dirty, torn, and afraid. Adulterers, thieves, cowards, murderers, mass-murderers? Who would want that? But God loved us because he saw that we were his, belong to him, needing him. We can only praise him. We killed his innocent Son, and now, if we don’t repent, we’ll face a Father who is furious at our sin. Should we not be held responsible for the sins of our predecessors, the sins that are at work here in our hearts more than ever? Look at the world. If somebody doesn’t love people then it really will end in nuclear war. But if we love people enough to make a kid smile and have fun so that we could give them the image Christ has for us, then the world would be a safer, happier, peaceful place. As the Spirit guided the Christians in the early day, so will he guide you, never forsaking you as time has forsaken everyone. 7Hills has changed my life. And if you love others, you will too.

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      So APD, do you love people enough that you’d indulge their wish to become same sex married? Or agree that guns are limited to the military, unavailable to private citizens? Or that abortion should be available on demand?

      Incidentally, God didn’t die for us (I’m being charitable and assuming you’re referring to the Jesus character of the bible). He had a bad weekend, though no worse than many suffer, often much worse, then came back to life. That’s not dying.

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      Sin is an imaginary crime against an imaginary victim, APD.

      And watch your mendacious mouth, mortal. Literally no one here, including yourself, caused even the slightest injury to this alleged “son.”

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      Christians are so wonderfully skilled at displaying irony. Bruce asks why Christian’s can’t just like people without a motive, and you respond by showing the exact problem Bruce is critiquing.

      But let’s get some things out of the way first..

      We are not all sinful. That is a biblical Christian concept.

      You god is immortal. Your own theology says it cannot die.

      I did not kill Jesus. I am not that old.

      Your holy book says your god created sin and set things in motion that would cause people to sin. Then according to you, your god is “furious” that people sin after your god set it up that way. Then your god punishes them if they don’t repent because of this sin it created.

      As for being responsible for sins of your predecessors, you may have something here. Does this mean you are ready to be responsible for slavery? Or destruction and indigenous people, land taken from them, and the effort of destroy their culture? Or Jim Crow (past and present)? Or racism and bias in general? Or anti trans bigotry? Or anti gay bigotry? There are so many places you can do this..where do you plan to start? Hey I know, maybe you can start by praying for Palestinians and finding ways to help them? Or is that a step too far?

      If I would challenge you to come be my friend, hang out with me, go out with me to dinners or movies or whatever may be fun, and that I expect you to tell your church club friends that I am fun, that you like to hang with me, and you see me as a good person, and your do this only because you enjoy my company, I know you would say no. In fact, I am 100% sure you would follow Peter’s example and deny you liked me. You would tell your church friends I am a project.

      The expectations are clear. We can be friends as long as it is by your rules. All I have to do is follow the god rules and we are good. And you call this loving others.

      • Avatar
        Jim Boduke

        Rainbow suspenders tell me all I need to know about your opinions. There is no scandal, just click bait so miserable people such as yourself have a safe space to spew hate.

        • Avatar
          Bruce Gerencser

          “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

          What I wear tells you absolutely nothing about me.

          How about actually interacting with what I wrote?

          Further, how could you possibly know I’m “miserable?” Is everyone you disagree with “miserable?”

          Do better, Jim, do better.

  10. Avatar

    As a member of 7 Hills, I find this quite concerning that you are judging the actions of the church without coming to a service, speaking directly to a staff member or researching outside of one article. The church gives MILLIONS to the community all the ways you listed and also provides to several prison ministries and the men/women incarcerated there. We provide a mobile Women’s health bus that goes into the community to share the answer of life to those that are questioning decisions that could lead otherwise. I would challenge you to call the church and ask the questions you may have toward the ministries.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser


      Please interact with what I wrote. The subject is “motivation.”

      Now to the other stuff your church does. Please provide a detailed church budget/income statement that shows the amounts of money spent on ministering to the least of these with no strings attached. Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also. Over the past seventeen years, numerous Evangelicals have objected to posts such as this one. Yet, when pressed on what their church spends money on and how much . . . silence.

      You said, “ We provide a mobile Women’s health bus that goes into the community to share the answer of life to those that are questioning decisions that could lead otherwise.” The motivation seems to be sharing the “answer” to those who are questioning decisions they have made.” If it is a “health” ministry, shouldn’t women’s health be the focus? Not preaching at captive audiences. Is the goal to minister to the least of these, or, instead, is the goal increasing church membership and income?


      • Avatar
        Bruce Gerencser

        Probably. I’ve been dealing with megachurch defenders for almost two decades. I see through their bullshit, as do many of the readers of this blog. I say, “show me the money.” They won’t, of course, because then everyone will know the emperor has no clothes.

  11. Avatar

    Instead of considering whether what I say is true, Evangelical zealots choose, instead, to go after me as a person.

    Well when there’s nowhere to hid from your logic, cowardly ad hominem attacks are their only alternative.

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