On the radio this morning I learned about something that made me say, “Wow.” It seems that motivational speaker/author Tony Robbins has a special offer for his biggest (and richest) fans. For just $1 million, Robbins will give you his personal phone number, and you can call him for counsel and encouragement as much as you would like for a year.

Some questions immediately came to mind. For example, how does a self-help speaker get people to pay a million dollars for somebody else’s help? Wouldn’t you feel more motivated with that million dollars still in your pocket rather than in Tony’s? Better still, I wonder if Tony Robbins needs a well-paid assistant.

I have no idea how many well-heeled Robbins fans may have made the deal, but it did get me thinking about some side deals that people might like to make with their preacher.

So what might Pastor Bob be able to sell for a cool million bucks?

• For the next year, no sermons will be longer than 30 minutes—at least not when the million-dollar donor is in attendance. (Other members may want to find out when your big giver is going to be absent, because those Sundays likely will run pretty long.)

• For the next year, Pastor Bob will avoid preaching about your personal weak spot. For example: If you’re prone to overeating, that gluttony sermon will wait for a year—or at least until you’re on vacation or away visiting your favorite buffet.

• For a million dollars, you can choose the color of the carpet and set the volume on the organ.

• Whenever Pastor Bob tells a heart-warming illustration about children, photos of your grandchildren will be projected onto the screens in the sanctuary. (As an alternative, when a fishing story is told, that picture of you with the big bass you caught will be projected.)

On the other hand, I wouldn’t start spending a million dollars quite yet. If your church is like the ones I’ve served, there aren’t a lot of million-dollar donors hanging around. When I passed the hat, I was glad just to get the hat back.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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