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Could a Smith & Wesson M&P get you to join your mama at church beyond Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas? What about a free Winchester 37? Would that prompt you to make it rain when the pastor calls for parishioners to pay their tithes? If not, what if Pastor Heath Mooneyham slides you a Colt 1911 or a glock?As ridiculous as it sounds, this actually happened at the Ignite Church in Joplin, Missouri. Per reports, during last week’s Father’s Day celebration, the gun-loving reverend handed out pieces in order to boost church attendance and “get more people to follow Jesus.”

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There was a posting on the church’s Facebook page that read: 

“Want to win a Black Rain AR-15? Dads, you earn an entry for yourself, each child you have and if you bring your dad to church. Those that registered last week get to register again!!! Don’t miss this.”

And there is even a YouTube video:

Now, in Pastor Mooneyham’s defense, I am not a regular churchgoer anymore, but I might be inclined to go if I knew my pastor looked a lot like one of my favorite bartenders. The same goes for speaking like any average guy on the street. I was raised Catholic ,so more times than not, the priest was some old dude ready to go upside your head with scripture.

That said, I’m not entirely sure Jesus is shedding tears over church attendance going up due to a gun raffle. Likewise, is Jesus trying to go to bat for clergymen who boasts of guns “you can kill a weak zombie with” and “the “Lamborghini of AR-15s.”

And don’t you bring him no crazy talk about the kind of guns he raffled off. He said, “I despise the term ‘assault rifle.’ Whoever coined that phrase has to be misinformed. The appearance of things — I think that’s our story as a church — don’t let the appearance of something stop you.”

In response to other forms of criticism — which I imagine was themed around the sentiment “What the hell?” — Pastor Mooneyham told the Joplin Globe, “We’re just dudes.” He added, “If we get people in the door, we get to preach the gospel. If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns. I don’t care.”

Fair enough, but would Jesus?

Mooneyham doesn’t seem to think so. Rev. Gunplay explained: “People are crazy, period. Murder has been going on since the beginning of time. The first murder recorded in the Bible was with a rock.”

I think it’s time I abandoned my creative passion and got on this church hustle. I’m pretty sure I could link with Walmart and start a franchise of mega-churches for gun lovers. Just kidding. I’m Black so I can’t imagine catching anything but the wrath of law enforcement if I tried to pull the same stunt.

For the record, Mooneyham is not the only pastor to try this. Months ago, the Kentucky Baptist Convention did an “outreach to Rednecks” in order to boost male attendance in churches.

Saints, speak your peace and let me know if Jesus won’t mind if I pistol whip someone so long as I’m back in the Lord’s house?

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Michael Arceneaux blogs at, tweets at @youngsinick, and praises Beyoncé’s name everywhere he goes.