This Sermon Brought To You By Narnia

December 9, 2005 by

The much-hyped Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opens in theaters today and for every bit of Narnia marketing you come across it seems you’ll also find a corresponding article in the media.

The CT Weblog offers some broad coverage and specifically explores the question, did Disney pay for your sermon? Sermon Central is offering a Narnia sermon contest where you can win a trip to London and $1,000 cash. They’re not outright bribing pastors to mention Narnia in a sermon since pastors only need to submit a transcript or outline and it is just a random drawing.

But it is a very small step away from simply handing Pastor Joe a check in exchange for mentioning Faith-Based Movie X in his sermon. It’s like those oh-so-sublte Sears placements in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

And that doesn’t make me feel good. Though it could be a solution to the perpetual church problem of the budgeted and actual income lines never matching up.

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Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “This Sermon Brought To You By Narnia”

  • anthonyjohn
    December 9, 2005

    I wouldn’t be so quick to judge the whole Sears thing…from what I understand, they give a ton of free stuff for the families on the show. Free advertising and a shameless plug now and then isn’t much to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise, is it?
    I’m with you on the sermons, though…at what point would a pastor be prostituting himself by forming a sermon around a potential payment rather than around the leading of the Holy Spirit?


  • patrick
    December 9, 2005

    here’s my prediction for the team that takes home the grand prize.
    http://www.prestonwood.org/sites/document.asp?did=1090


  • s. zeilenga
    December 12, 2005

    And if you put yourself in the shoes of the Narnia/Disney marketers it is a pretty smart move. Get as many Christians talking about it as possible and you suddenly open up a door to more sales. Almost a “seeding the marketplace” concept.
    I dont’ know if I agree with the ethics of the whole using the church to market a commercial product. But, then again, perhaps we can reverse the concept and learn a bit from this. What would it take to get the secular world to start purposely mentioning churches in their advertising?
    Good discussion topics here… hmmmm.


  • Milton Crow
    December 20, 2005

    But wasn’t Christianity itself designed to be mass-marketed? After all, it’s not based on any one culture’s indigenous belief system…it’s more of a franchise, based on a standard format…the McDonald’s of religions.
    I think it sucks that Christians are using classic fantasy literature to sell their tired dogma, but if that’s what it takes to pay for a truly beautiful screen portrayal of Narnia, then the end justifies the means.



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