Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts


In the News: “Start Up Indiana Church Uses Sex to Sell Message”

posted by Mark D. Roberts

Yes, I admit that the USA Today headline caught my eye: “Start Up Indiana Church Uses Sex to Sell Message.” So what’s the story?

jesus-is-coming-soon-5.jpg

New Day Church, a new church in Indiana, is using a marketing campaign that features ads that ask: “What happens when God gets between the sheets?” The church is using their pastor’s four-week series on sex to draw the crowds.

According to Philip Goff, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, what we see happening at New Day Church is part of a national trend among new churches. Says Goff: “One of the things many of these new churches are trying to do is
imitate culture to bring in people, instead of sitting back and
critiquing it. This is a trend that is going to be with us
for a long time, because preachers are realizing they may have to turn
to non-traditional means to attract younger members.”

According to USA Today, other churches have tried different, edgy strategies: “Some have services or events at non-traditional locations, such as
tattoo parlors, music venues or even bars. They may host heavy-metal
concerts, skateboard competitions, motorcycle shows or even
body-piercing events to spread their message.”

A parishioner at New Day defends his church’s unusual outreach program:
“It has become more necessary to show non-believers we are just regular
people with the same problems they have. We aren’t here to
judge you or look down on you but to share the love of Christ.”

If it seems like churches like New Day are simply fitting into the culture, USA Today notes that most of these churches preach “straight from the Bible.” So their means of reaching out to new people may be just a tad unorthodox, but their message appears to be pretty much in line with the straight and narrow of Christian tradition.

Of course not all churches are choosing an edgy, risky marketing strategy. The billboard in front of the church I attend in Boerne, Texas, recently proclaimed: “Repent of your sins and turn to God.” Yes, I do attend a Presbyterian church, PC(USA), at that. Not exactly the most innovative message, but you can’t fault it for its faithfulness to Scripture.

So what do you think about this? How far should the church go to market itself? Is something lost when the church imitates the culture’s way of promotion? Or is this a valid way of reaching out in an increasingly secular culture? 



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nnmns

posted February 15, 2011 at 6:58 am


What about the preachers who say it’s ok to deny our fellow citizens health care? They’ve given up morality to stay in the good graces of their greedy flock. Sex is the least questionable of the tactics of Preachers for Sale.



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Thomas Buck

posted February 15, 2011 at 7:34 am


The title of the sermon series may seem controversial at first, but I think I’d attend if it were being run in my church.
As a male professor once told an acquaintance of mine, “When I was young I used to think of sex all the time. Now I only think of it half the time.”



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Glynn

posted February 15, 2011 at 7:36 am


It’s not a new practice. Almost 40 years ago, Josh McDowell was touring college campuses for Campus Crusade with a “Maximum Sex” message – and he had 5000+ in the audience for three nights running.
There is something troubling, though, about using practices that imitate the culture.



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Ray

posted February 15, 2011 at 8:49 am


I don’t have a problem with it, as long as the goal is to be relevent to the culture rather than to fit comfortably into the culture. There was a guy named Ben Johnson who wrote a book called “95 Theses for the Church.” In it he stated something like, “In seeking to be relevent to the culture we must not become co-opted by the culture.” Or something like that. I’m paraphrasing. The Apostle Paul always sought to reach people in the context of their own culture and circumstances. But as he connected with people he never compromised the biblical principles in which he believed. That’s a good model for the church to follow.



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cunnudda

posted February 15, 2011 at 10:33 am


nnmns-
What preacher would possibly preach that? Oh, wait – when you say “deny health care” you really mean deny Obamacare, right?



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Kozak

posted February 15, 2011 at 10:35 am


Hey Mark- there’s no e-mail to contact you. Want to send you something about wind power.



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nnmns

posted February 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm


cunnadda, that’s what it means. Deny health care to a lot of people who have it under the current plan and won’t if the greed-nurtured Republicans get their way.
I’m glad you realized that.



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ds0490

posted February 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm


Cunnudda…I’m so glad to hear you preaching out against those who would deny people healthcare other than Obamacare. Such as in this case: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/News/arizona-transplant-deaths/story?id=12559369
“Two Arizona Medicaid recipients denied potentially life-saving organ transplants have died, even as Arizona doctors, transplant survivors and some lawmakers push to restore health care benefits slashed last fall.”
I’m just thrilled to hear all those conservative ministers and congregations who are speaking against Obamacare also speaking out against this situation. Why, just listen to them…
*crickets*
You have to wonder…if the governor of Arizona were black, maybe some of these conservative ministers would be speaking out. It sure seems to make a difference regarding Obamacare.



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Cunnudda

posted February 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm


Actually, ds0490, Obamacare is likely to make the Arizona situation more common, by increasing demand and forcing the rationing question. Theoretical demand for health care is infinite, and transplants are a lousy example, in my opinion. You would be on surer footing with examples featuring more basic health care. Moreover, by increasing costs for all purchasers (except the politically connected ones who got those famous waivers), the whole system will cave under the financial weight (intentionally?).
You see, I’m a physician, and this stuff is my life. On average, the uninsured get 2/3 of the medical care of the insured. That 1/3 may be advantageous in some situations. I have plenty of uninsured patients with artificial heart valves, bypasses, etc. You guys refer to denial of “health care”, but in reality it’s health insurance that is usually absent.
“Greed-nurtured Republicans”? You must be one of those liberals who are famous for “nuance”.
And ds0490, you’re stuck in your own meme if you really believe that Obama’s race, or 1/2 of it, has diddly to do with opposition to him.



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Isabelo S. Alcordo, Ph.D.

posted February 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm


There is one thing worse than church denominations denying healthcare to the poor or using sex to bring Jesus’ message to the young and that is DENYING GOD ENTRY INTO THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENTAL POWER by Protestant churches’ demand for “SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.” Church denominations standing for this “DOCTRINE OF THE DEVIL” is mistaking “The Church” for “CHURCH DENOMINATIONS!”
It is self-defeating for Christian Nations (nations with large Christian majorities) to secularize their democratic governments with their adherence to the doctrine of “Separation between Church and State” such as in the United States. Such SECULARIZATION could only lead to ATHEISTIC HUMANISM that is now weakening the Faith of Christian nations in Christ Jesus as is now happening in the U.S. and in Europe.
It is better for Protestant America, having decided to reject the Roman Catholic Church, to follow the lead of Britain in having a NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Anglican)while respecting other religious faith than having thousands of church denominations fighting each other for dominance
History attests that in the long run, nations and governments that are DEVOID of a CENTRAL or NATIONAL THEOLOGY will eventually fade from the face the earth! The most recent proof was the demise of the atheistic USSR (United Soviet Socilaist Republics).
AMERICA, WAKE UP!!!
Dr. Isabelo S. Alcordo, Ph.D.
http://www.layadvocacyforchristianunity.org/



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Isabelo S. Alcordo, Ph.D.

posted February 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm


PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR CHURCH! (REPOSTED WITH CORRECTIONS):
There is one thing worse than church denominations denying healthcare (Obama Care) to the poor or using sex to bring Jesus’ message to the young and that is DENYING GOD ENTRY INTO THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENTAL POWERS by Protestant churches’ demand for “SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE.” Church denominations standing for this “DOCTRINE OF THE DEVIL” is mistaking “THE CHURCH” for “CHURCH DENOMINATIONS!”
It is self-defeating for Christian Nations (nations with large Christian majorities) to secularize their democratic governments with their adherence to the doctrine of “Separation between Church and State” such as in the United States. Such SECULARIZATION could only lead to ATHEISTIC HUMANISM that is now weakening the Faith of Christian nations in Christ Jesus as is now happening in the U.S. and in Europe.
It is better for Protestant America, having decided to reject the Roman Catholic Church, to follow the lead of Britain in having a NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Anglican) while respecting the EXERCISE OF OTHER RELIGIOUS FAITH WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF ITS SECULAR LAW than having thousands of church denominations clawing at each other for dominance.
History attests that in the long run, nations and governments that are DEVOID of a CENTRAL or NATIONAL THEOLOGY will eventually fade from the face the earth! The most recent proof was the demise of the atheistic USSR (United Soviet Socilaist Republics).
AMERICA, WAKE UP!!!
Dr. Isabelo S. Alcordo, Ph.D.
http://www.layadvocacyforchristianunity.org/



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nnmns

posted February 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm


Cunnadda you make the interesting argument that the less access there is to health care the better off someone (those who can still get health care) is. When you squirm to excuse greed you find yourself in some very strange positions.



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Pat Pope

posted February 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm


Well, first of all, I’m wondering about all the above comments and what they have to do with the topic.
Secondly, I would say a church shouldn’t attempt any marketing strategy that they aren’t willing to back up. For instance, don’t go to tattoo parlors for service if you aren’t willing to accept the tattooed in your congregations. People want authenticity, not a slick marketing campaign. They want to feel that the people reaching out to them are for real and accept them where they are. They do not want a bait and switch.



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Greg in Irvine

posted February 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm


Mark…I think New Day church is “right on” provided they are authentic as Pat Pope recommends and then present the gospel properly. If not,then its a just a marketing ploy that should be abandoned.
A phenominal web site (allaboutGod.com) is proof. It was started on the premise that they first need peoples attention. Note: we usually don’t buy a car without going for a drive, or into a showroom do we? Many people are searching the web for non-Christian words i.e. porn, Marilyn Manson, acid rock, suicide, Lindsey Lohan, free basing, etc. and they find a good definition of the words they are seeking at the top of Yahoo and Google. This explanation then leads into a complete presentation of the gospel.
Non-Christins all around the world are confessing Christ (first time and re-commitments)in many languages due to their innovative approach. It has worked for them. Check them out. My best…



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StanS

posted February 15, 2011 at 11:38 pm


I agree with Pat Pope. Is this a pity party for Democrats against Republicans or a format to comment on the article above? Glynn, Ray, Pat, and Greg you’re spot on with your observations. The others, get a grip on the important things in the world, not political agendas. I would move to Canada if America became like England, with a forced religious view. Also, have you seen the true shape of the English people within the last 25 years? A mockery of Christian people. Not to mention all those years of bloodshed in Ireland.



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LutheranChik

posted February 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm


Honestly, stories like this make me seriously consider swimming the Bosphorus over to the Eastern Orthodox Church.



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