Sunday, October 23, 2011

Church marketing voodoo

In our consumeristic American culture it is a common thing to take Jesus and dress him up in flashy, trendy clothes, put an ear-tickling message in his mouth and promote him with the latest form of advertising prowess in order to attract others to him.  We take our cues from Apple and Starbucks on how to be successful evangelists.  Jamie the Very Worst Missionary has written a post on this subject called Creepy Coffee Voodoo.  She connects the dots from successful coffee marketing and the resulting epic fail of the coffee's flavor to modern church marketing schemes and the impending results by sharing some thoughts from an email she received from a pastor.  They raise some serious questions.

" he went on to tell me how his experience at church feels hollow, how he's weirded out by the rock-concert he attends every Sunday, and how he feels like his church is masking the Gospel with all kinds of other things just to get people in the door, which is working, but he feels bad because the people are buying into this false idea of who Jesus is and what He's going to ask of them if they follow him. Then he called the whole business of Church "creepy Jesus-VooDoo", and said something about how "marketing magic" can fill our pews, but our hearts will remain empty if we keep inviting people to meet their Savior under false pretense."

 Immediately in my mind I see a frightening image of (insert your favorite prosperity preacher here) with his creepy grin bearing his wolf-like fangs.  Then it hits a little closer to home and I think of some worship services I have attended that were very emotionally charged and entertaining.  Both of these are certainly examples of a false pretense but are popular attractions to fill the seats on Sunday morning.  As I think more and more about our magical methods, I wonder if maybe there is more to it than just these obvious examples.  

There must be more if we have buildings full of professing believers who are faithfull attendees of our meetings but are unfaithful in their day to day walk.  Somehow "Jesus saves" has become nothing more than a mantra of sorts who claim His blood has covered their sins but show no fruits in keeping with a changed heart.  It's as though Jesus is nothing more than a long haired, scrawny, sweet talking cosmic sugar daddy who acts as our divine vending machine.  What happens when we don't get what we want but instead He gives us a cross to carry to our death through suffering, persecution, and selflessness?  I suppose many will go on hoping to have their desires met while few will adopt Christ's desires and enter the narrow way.

Anyway, it was food for thought.  You should check out her post.

Can you think of any other magical ways christendom has adopted to lure people into the fold? 

1 comment:

  1. Many churches actually put an ATM machine by the doors. Last I checked, in my KJV Bible, Jesus made a whip and flipped tables and kicked those money grubbing folks out of his Father's house. I think people need to know the real Jesus. The one who is coming back one day to judge both the quick and the dead.


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