September 15th, 2010
08:05 AM ET

Pastor: I'll get a tattoo if 200 people show up

Two weeks ago, 26-year-old Pastor Kyle Bonenberger threw down the gauntlet with his flock. September 12th, 2010 marked City Church in Anahiem's one year anniversary.

Bonenberger told his church, if attendance doubled and 200 people showed up to their "birthday bash," he and another parishioner would get tattoos of the church's logo. And he invited others to join them. "It’s my way of showing my commitment to Christ and from that comes my commitment to give back to the community," the young pastor said.

“I’ve done altar calls and nothing happened. This is the most successful thing we've ever done," he said. Ten parishioners signed up to get inked.

The church is loosely affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.  It has about 85 regular attenders and for the past year has met at a local punk rock club, Chain Reaction. "The owners let us meet there for free because nothing else was going on Sunday mornings. For us it’s great because it comes fully loaded with lights and a sound system. It breaks a barrier for people who would never walk into a church. It breaks that wall down," he said.

On Sunday, congregants and visitors trickled in to the punk rock club. The service was about 75% complete when the attendance ticked from 199 to 200.

“It’s still a little bit sore,” Bonenberger said on Tuesday about his freshly tattooed forearm.  He and five others were able to get their tattoos on Sunday before the tattoo artist had to leave.  The other six congregants are getting appointments to get their tattoos.

The logo means a lot to Bonenberger because a friend came up with the design for the church's website about a year ago.  "It's a ghosted cross with a heart in the middle."  He said when he first laid eyes on it he knew he had to get it as a tattoo.

Editor's Note: You can see more from the event and follow Bonenberger on twitter @kylesteven and @lovehopecity. While you're at it, follow us for all the latest @CNNBelief.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Art • California • Christianity • United States

soundoff (109 Responses)
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  4. Colin

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    Hello Guys! I'm a newbie here, been searching about tattoos on the internet. I am a boy 29 years old and I'm from Australia. I have been planning to get one on my upper left foot and as i see this blog with pastor's photo I started to love the design. It has a heart on it. Do you have an ideas on what designs should i get? Thanks! 🙂


    September 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.