I have often said something like “if coca-cola applied the same rules to it’s marketing as the church everyone would drink pepsi”. However, the opposite side of the coin seems to be equally ridiculous. When the Church becomes big business and we head down the route of the Mega-Church we find that people stop mattering and become just a number… and sort code…
I can’t help recalling the time I saw an American style ‘graduation ceremony’ at a mega-church for people who had passed the ‘course’ in leadership. Each of the 83 candidates trotted up replete with mortar board and gown. We were proudly told that the candidates had completed such tasks as “carpark duty” and “maintainance” throughout the year. Each candidate gave a little speech about how blessed they had been and eventually confetti rained down upon us as hats were thrown in the air. Later we were informed that we too could be blessed like this. “If you want to realise the potential that God has for you, sign up for this today. Next year you too could be standing on this stage and all it costs is £1300”!
You may do a double take here. I did. £1300 so that God will bless you??!!??
So why do I think these thoughts today? It is reported that Rupert Murdoch’s company Fox Digital Media has bought beliefnet. My question is why? Clearly there is money to be made in faith but surely that is not the purpose. Is this the start of something else?
On a different note, the Church Advertising Network have put together another interesting campaign to promote Jesus at Christmas. The whole thing invites people to go to their site second chance life. It looks like a really interesting idea.
So here is my dilemma, caught between the rock and the hard place. Church without some form of decent marketing is likely to die. Without Jesus though, all we are left with is the marketing. I guess we need to find a happy medium between the two.