Stop marketing churches! No, I am not insane… I mean it. Stop marketing now!
I am in favor of demolishing the institution (or the corporate organization ran system called church). So, if there is no organization then there would not even be any marketing anyway, but that I guess is a dream.
I was reading some blogs and talking to a few people about church marketing the last couple days, and it gots me to thinking a tad harder on the subject. Churches put a lot of time, thought, and money into marketing themselves to the outside world (or really to other church-going Christians). It is competition. The church marketing community has grown so large that most large churches or even mega-churches have their own paid marketing staff.
That means each year, many many millions of dollars are sunk into, or so-called “invested” in church marketing. More people in, more money for programs.
Well, I first need to define what marketing is. I went to wikipedia for a definition, and it said…
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and marketing is used to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer.
Is this what the mission of the church is, to sell goods and services? Of course not.
I do not see any sales or sales techniques in the mission of the church (or as far as I know, anywhere in the bible). If you see something, please let me know.
So then I went to my next thought.
Who is all of this marketing geared toward anyway? My guess is from all the statistics I have read, that church growth inside the United States is Christians leaving the little churches with no programs, concerts, coffee houses, cafes, bookstores, fitness centers, kids classes, ect … to a church that markets all of this “stuff” for people to consume. When we look deeper at the numbers, church marketing is really working on the people who already call themselves Christians. Rather than going out and making disciples by living in community with one another, churches seem to be pulling Christians from other churches to boost their own membership numbers.
Well, this is not the mission of the church, and membership is only to one Church, and that is the Body of Christ. All other “local” memberships are like joining a social club, with your tithes as dues. (Gotta pay for all of those programs … which by the way, in my eyes, are 99% knowledge gathering social gatherings, and about 1% helping outside the walls … but that is a whole other fish to fry.)
I think there is even a deeper problem coming out of the new marketing age of churches. These organizations are called to communicate with others both as a group and individually. So, the it gets dumped on the marketing department. This group has the responsibility of getting the right marketing materials to hit people. So, this means churches are dumping loads of money into road signs, slogans, campaigns, and other bullshit to get people to come into their building and consume their products and services. Just seems a bit odd to me, but I guess I am weird. I would use all the excess unbiblical marketing monies to actually go out and help people in need.
Before anyone starts to argue with me. Communicating and teaching are not the same a marketing. And, if the gathering of believers would effectively communicate and teach Christ together (not by sitting passively with one voice from the pulpit), and dump all the marketing BS, people out in the world would actually get to see what Christ really looks like…
… and Christ is not a product to be consumed like a gym membership.