Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#114 Church marketing

posted by Stephanie Drury

sonbucks1.jpgChristian culture is obsessed with church growth. Churches want badly to “get their numbers up,” so some churches hire marketing teams to assess their fitness (their actual term) and tell them how to be culturally relevant. The goal is to get people in the door and make them come back.

piece_epicAd_1.jpgThey put espresso stands in the lobby and get some ambient lighting so Kids These Days don’t feel like they’re in one of those churches full of dorks. They don’t want to be like those churches with fluorescent overhead lighting cause that’s super lame. Those churches sing hymns and their pastors wear suits, and church marketing statistics say only old people like those. The church marketing stats also say that people decide if they’ll come back to a church within the first three minutes of their visit, so they’ve really gotta work those first three minutes.

marketingworship1.jpgThey want to make their church feel like you’re at a concert, so they have a stage lighting ministry and play the music really loud. The pastor tries to look cool (as we’ve discussed here and here) and uses high school jargon and so he can be relevant. And he wants the worship band to be extra rad. The worship leader tries to get a Fleet Foxes/The Fray/Death Cab vibe going. He holds auditions for the worship team and picks the ones with flat-ironed hair and guyliner. It’s important that they look sincere when they sing, but scarves, vests and grommet belts help. Okay, so. What are some edgy names for an epic sermon series? What will get the most people in the door? We have to get our numbers up and grow this sucker or else it means God isn’t blessing our ministry! Numbers! Tithing! Relevance! U2! Discipleship models! The reformation! Leadership! Authentic! Contextual! Twitter! iPhone! Sick website! Innuendos from the pulpit about sex with my wife! In the world, but not of it!

472489178_f4085e25ae.jpgTheir mission statement sounds solid and they say they’re all about Jesus but some churches seem awfully impressed with themselves. Being hip and raising money for new buildings seems like the focus instead of being broken by the message of the Gospel. But if Jesus loved the sick and the poor and drew near to the brokenhearted, and if he was a servant to the least and walked into their lonely worlds, and if his love went to their dark corners when they did not expect it or even ask for it, is he harder to find in churches where image is king?



Advertisement
Comments read comments(46)
post a comment
Chiastych

posted December 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm


Nailed it.



report abuse
 

John

posted December 29, 2009 at 4:01 pm


Wow. Great post! That last question is perfect. Gonna chew on that one for a long time.



report abuse
 

Travis Mamone

posted December 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm


Fleet Foxes leading worship sounds great!



report abuse
 

jesinrhine

posted December 29, 2009 at 5:52 pm


I have yet to find anything on this blog humorous.
The above post is just plain sad. Church of the world but not in it. Sad.
If this blog is an attempt at humor, it is dark humor that fails to show a human, erring yet precious in God’s eyes positive reflection.
I know the author says she’s qualified to analyze Christian culture as a preacher’s kid, but it is coming off as bitter and slamming Christianity.



report abuse
 

Tiggy

posted December 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm


Please make this sentence intelligible.
‘it is dark humor that fails to show a human, erring yet precious in God’s eyes positive reflection.’
No, YOU are coming off as bitter. If you don’t find it funny, don’t read it.



report abuse
 

Cate

posted December 29, 2009 at 8:53 pm


“Our services are short. So you can get the Hell out.”
I chuckled at that one.
It does seem “church” is targeted for the cool kids.



report abuse
 

Spinning in Air

posted December 29, 2009 at 10:46 pm


@ jesinrhine:
did you read the closing sentences, by any chance?
“Being hip and raising money for new buildings seems like the focus instead of being broken by the message of the Gospel. But if Jesus loved the sick and the poor and drew near to the brokenhearted, and if he was a servant to the least and walked into their lonely worlds, and if his love went to their dark corners when they did not expect it or even ask for it, is he harder to find in churches where image is king?”
Somehow, this reminds me more than a bit of those passages about Jesus overturning the moneychangers’ tables….



report abuse
 

Flah

posted December 30, 2009 at 12:01 am


@ Jesinrhine: welcome to Steph’s amazing and wonderful blog, where she accurately skewers everything cheestastic that our beloved (or not) churches do. I’m pleased every Sunday when I can chuckle at something she’s nailed rather than cringe at the dorkiness of it all.
It would be easier for me to be bitter, throw up my hands, and leave it all. But it’s my choice to stay and knowing that others find so much of this sturm and drang cringe-worthy is heartening.



report abuse
 

Bill

posted December 30, 2009 at 12:06 am


I was thinking about becoming a Death Cab fan, but this post has made me reconsider.



report abuse
 

kenneth

posted December 30, 2009 at 1:10 am


Any church that wants to recruit me needs to offer a signing bonus, evening services featuring a leather recliner, decent single malt scotch and a written contract clause that they will never ever play Christian rock in my presense. Oh, and I don’t do that whole chastity bit either.
That aside, these pastors may want to meditate for a moment on their founder before they pull out all the stops to get ratings and popularity. If Jesus’s life was about winning market share, he would have come here as a Roman senator or temple prostitute or the maccabee’s verion of Che Guevara.



report abuse
 

Laura

posted December 30, 2009 at 6:33 am


Well, at least they know they are dying and irrelevent. I see ridiculousness like this in two ways: 1) As a way to pat the pastor on the back (and in the wallet), and 2) A desperate gasp for air as the church slowly dies.
If they REALLY want to become “relevent”, they need to focus on their community, because that’s the only thing they’ve got. Shiny posters may draw people in, but the community is what makes them stick. Heck, if they eschewed the ridiculous social issues like abstinence only, no gays allowed, etc, and focused on church being a place of community, *I* might start going to church and I’m an atheist. ;) (Okay, probably not really. I’ve had more than my fill of church! But I’d consider.)



report abuse
 

Still Breathing

posted December 30, 2009 at 6:54 am


Bulls eye Stephie. We are called to be a community and not a business. I may have said this before but when our minister was at a previous church a neighbouring minister asked him about his target market and his reply was ‘We’ll take anyone.’ Mind you earlier this year he spoke to a new couple who had arrived at a service and was latter heard saying ‘Lord can we have some normal ones.’



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted December 30, 2009 at 10:53 am


I see Stephany’s point about being able to skewer Christian Culture due to her PK Credentials. She is a great writer and satirist. I have to ask who it is she is writing for. Sometimes I’m confused by it. Allow me to see if I get this: She is mocking the “relevant” church and their marketing in this blog. I seem to see that the “relevant” church is mocking stodgy old evangelical Christianity. Old-school Evangelical Christianity is often seen to mocking old-school, main-line protestantism (at least in my church experiences). Hence, if the pattern is to continue, there needs to be some movement coming along that mocks the mocking of the relevant church. This is only if we continue in the pattern specific mode which I’ve observed.



report abuse
 

stephanie drury

posted December 30, 2009 at 11:03 am


Hi Your Name,
I answer that question in the FAQs. :)



report abuse
 

Ransacker

posted December 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm


I can see those points Stephanie. So hence, there will eventually be the natural extension of this blog, where the mockers mock the mockers, who are mocking the mockers and skewerers……..etc. Kind of like point a television camera into a monitor. I appreciate your sense of humor and language. Grew up as an E.K. (elder’s kid). Had alot of experience with evangelical weirdness. Still have trouble separating G*D from Christian Culture. It is a hard thing. I often find myself laughing at all of these things you lampoon and then suddenly feeling guilty. Its’ like you’re just picking on the kids on the short bus.



report abuse
 

stephanie drury

posted December 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm


There will definitely be mocking of this kind of blog, if there isn’t already. I think Christian culture is funny because it has nothing to do with Jesus, it’s just a way to distract ourselves from who he is. i.e., doing things and avoiding relationship.



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted December 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm


Haha. Except as a general rule the kids on the short bus don’t cause large numbers of people to want to stop being human.



report abuse
 

stephanie drury

posted December 30, 2009 at 1:21 pm


Totally, and kids on the short bus don’t try to manipulate people spiritually and emotionally and create cults of personality in Jesus’s name.



report abuse
 

Becca

posted December 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm


One of my coworkers was telling me that she took a (Christian) friend to a new church to try and that on the cover of the orders of worship AND their website, it said “Welcome to (church name) where the music is loud.” That was the first thing they wanted you to know about them.
Also, I just took a marketing class and we learned that all kinds of non-profits are using marketing companies to promote themselves but I had not actually seen examples of what they are coming up with. Those examples kind of boggle my mind. I mean, the short church services one IS kind of funny, but I feel like it’s a little too clever. I guess I don’t think churches need to advertise in the same way a doctor’s office or beer company need to, but I don’t know what I think they should do. I do understand why churches feel the need to advertise – if you don’t have a congregation you do not have a church. But I wish so many of them didn’t feel the need to try so hard.



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted December 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm


The thing that makes increasingly less sense to me is this: So your church growth implodes, your congregation diminishes to eight members, you can’t sustain yourselves and your church dies. So what? Go join the church across the street. I don’t understand the cutthroat competition among churches to snag the biggest section of a “harvest” that’s all one in the end anyway.
In the early church the only reason to have separate congregations was geography. I get that there are doctrinal schisms among denominations, but with so many evangelical churches going “non-denominational” (cough), it just seems lazy, or petty, to have so many of the same kinds of church in one area. It might be far better for communities the nation over if lots of churches’ marketing campaigns failed and Christians were forced to unite.
The problem with most churches that I’ve attended in the last ten years is that they’re all monologic, which is what happens when you take a population rich in all kinds of diversity, including diversity of opinion and belief, and divide it into small homogeneous groups. Dialogue goes extinct and so, in natural consequence, does relevance to anyone who is in any way different from The Group. As a result the only kinds of people these homogeneous groups attract are more Purple People, no matter how clever the ad campaigns. (Although when I saw “Sonbucks” I threw up a little in my mouth.)



report abuse
 

Rocky Presley

posted December 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm


I’ve got a new friend named Sarah…well I hope. Well said. This is the way that I see it. God told His people to go out and impact culture to build His Kingdom. Rather, we went out and built a culture and called it His kingdom, when in reality it isn’t. We came up with words like churches and phrases like “going to church” to give fuel to the building of this culture. God’s kingdom is diverse, beautiful, and completely intoxicating. This culture, no matter how well advertised, is merely an excuse to have something to do on Sunday that is “spiritual.” What “The Group” does is it destroys THE BODY. If the lungs someday decided that the heart was wrong because it didn’t breath air, and decided to do its own thing disconnected from the heart, then the body would die. That is a very broad example, but you can extract that down to the fact that we desperately need each other for the Body to live.
Denominational-ism is the very mindset that divides us and is fueled by the enemy, because he is wise. He knows that more than anything, Christian leaders love to be right, and if they can convince a group of people that they are more right than the other guy, then they can rule over a portion of the Kingdom. But God isn’t looking for a co-king. He isn’t looking for a prince, or even a sheriff. He rules with absolute authority, and we are His sons and daughters who are heirs, which is a hellova lot better than being a sheriff policing people’s sin, or that guy who is speeding down the freeway and sees the lights in the rear view mirror.
So this dividing up the Kingdom is why these fellowships must market. It is why they must be competitive, and when one is competitive, then it sure is hard to be compassionate, and that sure makes it hard to be like Jesus. The sad thing is that these leaders are not dictators. They force no one to follow. They only provide the convenience of Christianity that believers are so compelled to consume.



report abuse
 

Rollo Tomassi

posted December 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm


In one of Steph’s older, pre-beliefnet threads she mentions a difference between “Churchianity” and “Christianity”. I love this demarkation. Churchianity being the subculture, rituals and social quirks that’s been spawned in the past 60+ years of Evangelicalism. In the time I’ve been a fan of her blog I’ve yet to see a post “mocking” the foundations of our faith or scripture. I have however enjoyed every jab of hers exposing the Churchianity that far too many Evangelicals confusingly associate with tenets of their faith.
She asks questions. Questions don’t frighten me, people without questions do.



report abuse
 

Church Marketing

posted December 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm


For the most part church marketing…well sucks. And that is coming from an ordained minister! LOL But, I have seen some good examples here.



report abuse
 

cd

posted December 31, 2009 at 4:29 am


This stuff just seems desperate and maybe reflective of market saturation. From this and my most recent sojourn to the local megachurch, I’m starting to think that the best Christians are giving a long hard thought to staying home or just going to the park on Sunday mornings these days. If they’re not doing that already.



report abuse
 

Still Breathing

posted December 31, 2009 at 6:55 am


As someone who qualified and worked in marketing I can see some point in using marketing a local church. To often churches decide where they are going to put their effort (usually youth) without looking at all at the people who live around them who they should be reaching.
However (and it’s a big one) if the church is as dead as a dodo no amount of marketing will help. We need to get people to see the church as a living community that they want to be a part of before we can reach out to them. In addition God will always do something to surprise us so whatever we plan and do has to be guided by the Holy Spirit.



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted December 31, 2009 at 7:12 am


Rocky,
Spot on. (And of course I’m your friend.) The way I see it, getting rid of denominations at this stage in history would be extremely difficult, but I fail to see how anyone can justify the utter separatism. Churches ignore other churches and compete for the best ministries and the most newcomers. Just like you said – hence the advertising. If there were no division, marketing would be completely unnecessary.
With the lovely result that each congregation considers itself its own little body of Christ. Wrong. In a lot of respects the Body is already dead – like the dissected concubine in Judges. We’ve hacked the Body of Christ into hundreds of thousands of little pieces that lie around the landscape putrefying. Maybe that sounds harsh, but when I look at the small town I currently call home, I see at least twenty churches and almost no togetherness (although there’s far MORE togetherness than I ever saw when I lived in the Midwest); each congregation considers itself sufficient unto itself; there is little interchurch interaction; and as a result, the community suffers.
The poster advertising “a night of praise and worship” with a bunch of people jumping up and down and screaming made me sick to my stomach a little – when people view their own little group as its own independent body of Christ, these are the kinds of groupie things that happen – fake community designed to keep people within the walls of their own church buildings so that the numbers go up and people feel good about themselves and what good Christians they are (without interacting with one another, but hey, mass hysteria means God is present, right?) and how much God is blessing their efforts, while outside countless numbers of people lose their electricity, can’t buy new clothes for their children and have little to eat in a desperate economy. Cancel the worship concert, take the money you’d spend on the lighting and sound and special effects and use it to help people who are really, physically in need (and not just through a program – I would imagine that a good number of people in need are too proud to apply toward programs, so we have to go find them – like Stephy said, walk into the dark corners of their lives without their asking). God says plenty of times in both Testaments of the Bible that he doesn’t give a rap about showy devotion; he likes broken, contrite hearts, and people caring for the suffering, vulnerable, powerless and helpless.
If people have to limit and define “the body of Christ,” make it geographical again. Maybe denominations are here to stay, but within one community, maybe each church is a part of one community-wide body, designed to delegate labor more effectively. When we fight for dominance amongst ourselves, the divided house can do no one any good.
I really like what you have to say about Christians loving to be right. It’s nothing new – sheep always want a shepherd. What’s funny is that I hear people saying, “My pastor has the right take on Scripture,” back and forth, when Paul, who WROTE a huge amount of the Scriptures, told people IN those Scriptures, “Quit saying which teacher you follow. I don’t matter and Apollos doesn’t matter. We all follow Christ.”
Most days I think that capitalism has done the body of Christ in the West no favors.



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted December 31, 2009 at 9:24 am


Also, because the groups are largely homogenous, a lot of them have no idea how to handle difference. The church in which a friend of mine grew up split up during a renovation because of a disagreement over the color of the carpet. Without the ability to navigate differences of opinion to come to common ground (Christ’s mission of love), an ability which requires cultivation and discipline, how can Christians hope to change the world? Instead of reveling in the intoxicating nature of this “wondrous variety” (hahaha, I’m quoting Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) – loved that point, by the way – we try to make newcomers to our little isolated groups into our image. Which brings to mind Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisees (paraphrased): “You go to the ends of the earth to make one new convert, and when you have him, you make him twice the son of hell that you are.”
I was thinking this morning about Jesus’ prayer for all believers in the world in John 17, prior to his arrest and crucifixion: ” I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the disciples’] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (20-23).
The prayer of JESUS has not been fulfilled. We have been given all this glory, this glory to heal and love and restore and bring hope, that we’re hoarding for ourselves, or not even noticing is there, because we’re all separated from one another and looking to our own interests, or the interests of our little homogenous groups. How HEARTBREAKING.



report abuse
 

Rollo Tomassi

posted December 31, 2009 at 1:59 pm


Churches have become franchises, just like Outback, Applebies, Chillis, TGI Fridays,..etc. Some to a greater (mega-churches), some to a lesser (high school auditoriums) degree, but rest assured the menu items are still the same fare. Franchises need advertising.



report abuse
 

Rocky Presley

posted December 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm


But you and I can live in that glory. We can be unified in the area of our influence that Christ has given us. We can build family, disciple others, and provide for the poor, broken, and hungry. The question that we all must ask ourselves is if we do that, and not in an abstract/virtual way.
I live in a city that has the best “church” that the world has to offer, and had grown extremely complacent because I was disconnected, and just as I was at the peak of my whining, God asked me if I believe that He has a family for me that is His and intended to help me connect with Him and be the me He created. I didn’t believe that because I was too critical/cynical of the Church. The Lord convicted me of that, and reminded me that the key to living well in His kingdom is not found in following the religious. It is found in having mothers and fathers, brother and sisters, aunts and uncles, and living like a son rather than an orphan.
So while I continue to be critical of these individual fellowships who have lost their compass, my trust and faith in the Body, the Bride, has been increased, and I have found a way to be part of her. The Bride of Christ is not dead. She may be hard to spot at times and often times you have to fight to keep those that you love connected, but she is here and she is powerful.



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted December 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm


Beautiful.



report abuse
 

Xander

posted December 31, 2009 at 7:32 pm


Church has to be edgy so people feel good about it and it will translate easily to T.V.
Good call Steph.



report abuse
 

Mere_Christian

posted January 4, 2010 at 10:38 am


OK, so once you are broken by the Gospel of Christ Jesus, are you supposed to stay broken?
I thought that enjoying life was at least part of the deal.
I’m wrong how?



report abuse
 

Chrissy

posted January 6, 2010 at 10:02 pm


Shopping For God offers a pretty thorough examination of advertising and Christ. It gets a bit redundant 3/4 through, but I still recommend it. If you’re interested in this topic, check it out:
http://www.amazon.com/Shopping-God-Christianity-Went-Heart/dp/0743292871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262833180&sr=8-1



report abuse
 

Colorado

posted January 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm


I can agree on the point that church can become too focused on building numbers and increasing the church’s income. I agree that, often, church’s push their marketing campaigns to the line between the world and the Kingdom.
I do not, however, agree that ALL churches belong to this kind of organization which Stephanie is flogging and to attack all churches on the basis of the experiences in a relatively small number of churches is a gross indecency.
I think any skeptic of any cause or organization will zero in on the fact that all an organization wants is money. Money makes the world go ’round after all. In fact, Jesus talks about money more than nearly any topic in the Bible. Money is important to ANY organization. I think its a tad ridiculous to criticize the church only– when is the last time you gave a donation to ANY organization? And how many follow up mailers, and phone calls, and door bell rings did you experience after that? Some of these are Christian organizations as well. Why not be upset with them?
Likewise, not ALL churches are simply focused on drawing more and more people for the reason of their bottom line. If that is truly how you feel, then you haven’t been attending REAL churches. The pastor of my church makes a very clear point to tell people that if they aren’t comfortable at our church, to find another Bible-believing church.
On the point of churches focusing too much on being relevant: How else would you suggest reaching people? That is an honest question. The church I attend does more than create catchy marketing campaigns or play great music loudly–we randomly buy $1,500 worth of gift cards to the local grocery store and spend 2 hours handing them out to people. We show up at local shopping centers and wrap gifts in the freezing cold for several hours, for free at Christmas time. We put on carnivals for underprivileged students and their families in low income neighborhoods. We sacrifice time away from our families and away from our own lives to reach people– and it starts with our marketing. In short, we take it to the streets. We don’t just send out flashy postcards to glorify ourselves and then recline in our bar-co loungers.
You might think that all churches want is money, but let me tell you that is just not the case. I work at a church, and I spend close to 30 hours every week working on what you call “Marketing” through drama, or video, or graphics. Its my only job and my paychecks are just under $230 every two weeks. Do you have any IDEA how difficult it is to live off of that kind of money in ANY economy, let alone this one? Do you know why I do it? Why many of the people on staff at the churches you attend do it?
Because we ARE broken with the Grace and Goodness of Jesus Christ. NOT because we want a new building, or the highest attendance.
And when the church uses the dramas I help create, or the graphics ideas I came up with, and when we play loud music or the preacher teaches, he isn’t teaching about the validity of our choices to use a certain song or marketing campaign (if he was, no one would stick around and they certainly would not come back)– He’s teaching about the incredible acts and life of Jesus in a way that is memorable and relevant to present day people. If it wasn’t for the life of Jesus, that amazing Savior of ours, we’d have NO reason to do anything that we do for the people– and we are highly aware of it.
Bottom line: if you don’t spend time to make a church relevant and important to the public, how on earth do you tell them about Jesus? How, and I’m seriously asking, do you get busy, tired, hurting, and angry people to listen to Jesus’ message?
Also– do you think Jesus was mild mannered? Have you READ the gospels lately? Jesus was a hard core rebel in his day and age. He never went with mainstream or did what people thought he ought to do. Jesus spent the majority of his time making people turn their heads and ticking them off.
The church has to be efficient in everything it does from how they spend their money to their stewardship of the people who come through it’s doors, and often, yes, they have to market themselves to make that happen.
Society’s proclivity to individualization and being catered to is not, singularly, the church’s fault. You can not throw a rock without hitting some institution that progressed the selfish American attitude that demands customer service. A church must function as a business to survive, and the church must survive for people to survive.
In recent months, at least one person from our church has died every week. The youngest was a 37 week old baby named Aubree, who’s mother never even got to hold her while she was alive. Another person flat-lined 3 times because of complications due to the swine flu and her two young boys and husband appeared to be left behind. That same family went bankrupt and needed support to move forward. A woman’s husband died in his sleep, unexpectedly and she rolled over to realize it. Some of our congregation faced or is facing addiction and depression. I myself faced an eating disorder head on.
Do you know where all of these people turned for help, and comfort, and support, and LOVE? Church. Our church who has catchy marketing campaigns, and loud music, and a fantastically broken spirit because of Jesus Christ.
We all need a little help sometimes. If marketing and loud music will get people to a place or a building where they can get that help– is it really worth it to turn it down?



report abuse
 

Chrissy

posted January 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm


Colorado, Not every topic in this blog pertains to every church and every Christian. Many churches do a lot of good work. You’re right that catchy advertising can also be used for the glory of God, but at times it becomes more about advertising than about Christ. It happens.
Regarding your question: “How do you get busy, tired, hurting, and angry people to listen to Jesus’ message?”
I suggest we first listen to them. And let them listen to us. Exchanging stories, problems, and triumphs. Friendship. The church, being a living body, extends far beyond the walls of the building. All too often it becomes about the place where we gather. Our gathering places ought to be secondary, seeing as most of our time is spent outside of them. Why must we lure people into our territory to “get them to listen”? Why not practice listening? Why not build relationships independent of whether or not they will ever come to church? God is not bound by those walls. God is pursuing others just as passionately as he pursues me. If Christ is in us, He goes where we go. We are His message. Imperfect beings who are perfected. Loud music and cool slogans and “relevance” cannot make the truth more relevant than it already is. No amount of “cool” or catchy advertising will “heal the broken hearted.” If anything I think trusting these methods can hinder our faith that His grace prevails in our lives, outside of the ministry. We don’t trust that He has the power to change the world when we are on our own. We come to believe that church is the place where the gospel is most real. The gospel for me, is most real when I am apart from the body. “When I am weak, then I am strong…For His grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in weakness.” In all of my humanity, I am the Good News. We are the Good News. Live. That is how people will hear it.



report abuse
 

chris

posted January 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm


Normally, I would agree with this kind of post.
However, the fact that you deliberately attack ministry and other believers makes this post make me feel more sick to my stomach than any kitschy culture marketing campaign.



report abuse
 

stephanie drury

posted January 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm


Hi Chris,
I guess the question is, am I attacking ministry or the things that hinder ministry? Hope it’s the latter.



report abuse
 

chris

posted January 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm


I really do too. It seems the language of this post reflects more frustration than it does any sort of way out of it.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that I have this figured out or anything like that. I am not an expert on either being broken, or church marketing. however from your words it feels like if a Church is trying to make their meeting times more comfortable or appealing then they are wrong.
I agree, we focus far too much on appearances and this is a result of sin foremost, but also the consumer driven society we live in. The delicate balance is when we move from appeal to ministry. Our culture understands marketing and advertisements. They expect professionalism in what they see. It is the language our brains understand in this society we live in. If a Church is trying to speak truth into that arena which is so often filled with lies then what is the harm with that? It’s simply another way of communicating the gospel in a language that the hearer will understand.
The issue lies in what is the message being put out there? Not how it is communicated.



report abuse
 

stephanie drury

posted January 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm


The message I get in these forums I describe is not about Jesus. I don’t feel Jesus’s love and presence then; I sense their egos needing to be fed, and I know I’m not the only one who gets message.



report abuse
 

Shawn

posted January 17, 2010 at 11:53 am


Hi – first time reader… I stopped going to “those” churches years ago, Sunday “seeker service”, ask the Pastor when any “real teaching” takes place, “come to Wednesday small group/Bible study”… those must be code words for feelings oriented therapy sessions… okay, Sunday school? some of them were okay, at first anyway… but nobody seemed to want to really dig in to anything, more concerned about staying on a schedule, and willing to just read/believe whatever “the publisher” (of some little study guides) threw at them.
What is wrong with people? Do they just read the same set of verses again and again, and listen to a radio/TV pastor so they parrot the thinking back to their crowd and be “popular”?
This “marketing” thing is out of control. Chris, don’t know you brother, but it sounds like maybe you got stung by the honesty here… ?
Jesus didn’t conform to his audience, no way… if he did then he never would have been sent to the cross. Adopt a Roman custom here, maybe “bend” a little there to get the Pharisees focus off of a “non-central issue”, speek liek thiz just to pander to a “croud”? I wasn’t there but I kind of doubt it.
even this site – all doubleclicked up … it’s gross!



report abuse
 

Bri

posted January 22, 2010 at 11:34 pm


Chris,
yes making meetings more comfortable and appealing is wrong. Jesus did not call us to make the world comfortable. He called us to preach the gospel. Making people “feel comfortable” and your services “appealing” is not going to get true salvation. It will get you money and a large “successful” church but that is NOT the point of Christianity.



report abuse
 

Chris

posted January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm


First off, man.
Thanks for a great post. It’s good to keep us all on are toes and definitely results in motive checks.
But I thought I’d through some other viewpoints to the contrary of your post that may not have been considered.
First off addressing the “Pastor tries to look cool” problem.
When stepping onto a platform one should always try to be well groomed.
This isn’t Biblical or anything, but it is courteous. If we are honest many pastors who complain about “cool-looking” pastors spend upwards of 4x the money on suits than the “cool” pastors who where jeans and a clean shirt. Secondly, if we are honest, How would you dress on stage if you honestly cared about the hearers of your message, not about looking cool, trendy, or even knowledgeable, or sinless; but dressing in a way to communicate to your typically untrusting audience that “I am trustworthy, I am human. And I have some good news for you. The goal I would think should be to remove as many stumbling blocks that may be between the the listener and the gospel as possible. The Cross is itself enough of a stumbling block and Jesus Christ is offensive. we should not unnecessarily add anything else in the way of the person and Christ.
read the story in Acts 15
especially checking out the verses 10 and 19-21
Grace and Peace
Chris



report abuse
 

Daniel

posted January 27, 2010 at 10:33 am


Very thought-provoking post. Thanks.



report abuse
 

Carrie

posted April 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm


The last time I became part of a church, it had NOTHING to do with marketing efforts or image. ZERO.
Someone in the congregation offered to buy me soup in the cafe after church. They reached out to me. Individually. I felt like this church actually CARED about me.
I stayed with that church for seven years, and still have friends from there.



report abuse
 

Rob

posted July 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm


Marketing for the church can be a difficult beast to navigate through, but I’m sure most churches have a clear and clean intention of trying to get people through the doors.
With that said, I do think they should be wise about how they pursue the marketing piece and always keep in mind their original Mission for establishing the church. If it fits, then great, move forward, if it doesn’t, reconsider it, then move forward.



report abuse
 

Ben Dicosta

posted August 2, 2010 at 1:46 am


The stage lighting is important and cost effective,Moen Brused Nickel plumbing fixtures, stage lighting and wet bar/mini frig in rec room. I like your good stage lighting



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

auf Wiedersehen
My contract with Beliefnet is up and I'll be back on my own ad-free domain again. Beliefnet has been really lovely to me and I appreciate their letting me write whatever I want without trying to censor anything. I will be back on my blogger domain sometime this week, after I figure out how to export

posted 7:56:21pm Feb. 21, 2011 | read full post »

#210 Mandatory chapel at Bible college
Most Christian colleges require students to attend chapel services. Chapel is not an option, it's part of the curriculum. If you don't fulfill your chapel quota, you don't graduate. Though Christianity purports to operate under the auspices of grace and generally claims that church attendance isn't

posted 7:06:31pm Feb. 11, 2011 | read full post »

#209 Perceiving persecution
Christian culture is vigilant about persecution. Jesus said being persecuted goes with the territory of following him, and some of those followers are really on the lookout. Christian culture sees persecution in all sorts of things and they often say they're under attack. The institution of marriage

posted 6:16:31pm Feb. 03, 2011 | read full post »

#208 Missionary dating
When someone in Christian culture meets a delicious non-Christian they will usually assume a missionary position with them. Missionary dating is when you date a non-Christian for the express purpose of proselytizing so as to instigate their conversion. Youth group leaders heartily disapprove of mis

posted 6:16:57pm Jan. 27, 2011 | read full post »

#207 Marrying young
Christian culture gets married young. The reason isn't entirely clear, but the general consensus is that it drastically lowers the risk of fornication. You just can't fornicate if you're married, and that takes care of that. Fornication is Christian culture's natural enemy. Bible colleges (aka

posted 6:33:07pm Jan. 19, 2011 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.