stop marketing the church!

November 30, 2008

It’s one of those things some of us just instinctively know. We should stop marketing the church! We can’t say why, but we juts have this deep conviction that the church should not be marketed. Maybe we are wrong, and I can tell you that I have no idea how I would ever communicate to a church council that we can just as well stop all our marketing, whether on out website, the billboards we put up, whatever. So, if you are convinced that the church should we shrewd like the unjust stewert (Luke 16), and that we should therefore use every business trick in the book (this is a very very bad interpretation on that piece of scripture), then I don’t know what to tell you. But if you for some reason also has this deep conviction that, although all this marketing looks very nice, something is really wrong, then you gotta read this quote.

It’s from An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, which I’m currently reading. It was written by Heather Kirk-Davidoff, whom I have no idea who she is, but I would like to tell her, she put into words what I’m also thinking:

Whether we come from a mainline Christian of an evangelical Christian background, evangelism has most often focused on recruitment. As I’ve spoken about evangelism with other emerging church leaders, I’ve marveled that our different paths have led us to the same conclusion: recruitment kills relationship. Even if your theology is great, even if your church is wonderfu, even if your community os the best group of people on earth, as soon as you approach soneone with the intention of recruiting them into your theology or church or community, you become a marketer and the other perso is the target of your marketing. While GenXers have had a wide range of experience with religion or church or community, we share the experience of being targets of marketing from our earliest days of watching cartoons with product tie-ins. We can spot a sales pitch from a mile away, and we never confuse that with an offer of genuine relationship.

4 Responses to “stop marketing the church!”

  1. jack david Says:

    Shrewd like vipers and forgive everyone making their debt less is a wonderful idea when the Church of Laodicea which is the the seventh period for the Church is having Jesus make just comments akin to: you say that you are rich, but you are poor, blind, wretched, and naked.

    Regarding the sufferings of others we see that Jesus comforted them in the bossom of Abraham instead the rich Jew who refused to lift a finger to help anyone when He had the law and the prophets and The Temple of God.

  2. Jake Belder Says:

    I agree on church marketing, I don’t like it either. But I think I understand it differently than Kirk-Davidoff does. I would be interested to know how she thinks about the task of evangelism and apologetics because from this short quote (and I realize that the broader context is missing) it seems to me that she almost equates them with marketing, which I would disagree with. Because if she does equate them, then I would think that she is advocating an abandonment of this part of our calling.

  3. cobus Says:

    I haven’t finished the chapter yet, it was about 2:30 AM when I finished the post last night, and then I went to bed. But no, definitely not equating evangelism and marketing, but from how I understand it she points out that some have equated the two. I think she is arguing for evangelism which is not marketing.

  4. Jake Belder Says:

    Okay, cool. I’d be interested in hearing more then as you come across it!


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