Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Business of Church

Maria caught my intention in her comment on the last entry. My five questions were meant to reveal how we have adopted, as she worded it, an attractional model of church. Marketing has become such an ingrained aspect of our culture that it is difficult to imagine doing any new venture without it.

The Church as We Know It has probably formed more of its ideas about doing church from the business world than it has from the Bible, although most of its leaders would probably deny it. Take it down to core questions like, “How will people find us?” reveal more of a product mentality than a spiritual one. But websites and logos are plastered all over our clothing, our food, our transportation and entertainment, they are hard to ignore, and ever harder to imagine life without them.

Even the boys over at ChurchMarketingSucks are using the same marketing tools they loathe to promote their own deal. We hate the church marketing itself, but we don’t mind you putting an ad and logo to promote what we are doing on your website. Future Pastor, this is not new thinking. It’s more sofas and candles and Starbucks coffee in the foyer.

We started a restaurant about nine months ago; we did so without an ad campaign. The newspaper folks found us, the direct marketers came calling, the “creative ad teams” stopped in, all with their schpeal about how important it is to get your name out there right away. According to them, we had a crucial window of time that may get away from us if we weren’t careful.

But we were convinced that if we did our job well, which was to give people food that they really enjoyed and not just settled for, then the customer would take the place of an expensive ad in the Friday dining section. So far that had stood true.

Future Pastor, this advice might sound like a dangerous proposition, but give people a church they want. You and I have been told that church is not about what people want, but about what they need. I believe they are one in the same.

The Gospel is supposed to offer peace. Will the Future Church do the same?

The Gospel is not burdensome, but will the Church of the Future make it so?

The Gospel is good news, and good news usually travels fast. Will your church impede it?

Give people the real deal, Future Pastor, and you won’t need to even worry about a cool logo.

1 comment:

Monte said...

That is a faith position! And I share it, I think.
Drumming up crowds was never an issue on Jesus' agenda. Apparently people found him so appealing that they wanted to be around him.
I wonder if the Body's destiny is to be like that. I think so - but it seems like rather a long way away!