Throw down the gloves. Hide the women and children. Have an ambulance in the vicinity. Christianity Today is looking for a fight. All right, only kidding. But they recently posted a piece asking why Jesus didn’t say, “And you shall be my marketers unto the ends of the earth.” So we thought we’d do a point-counterpoint for just a moment. Not to be smart alecks, but to illustrate the trouble with terminology.
But there’s a reason Jesus said “You shall be my witnesses,” and not “You shall be my marketers.”
True. Jesus was speaking Aramaic. My research shows they didn’t have a word for marketing.
But I wonder if soft-pedaling the Good News is intrinsic to the message. Jesus spoke in parables, he said, not to reveal the Good News but to hide it …
We’re all welcome to wonder. But being a city set on a hill, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and going out into the streets to gather people for the feast don’t seem like an impetus to keep quiet.
But it also implicitly suggests that when they “buy” or consume that good, the church somehow receives some benefit.
Very very true. We always hope that when people “buy” or “consume” Christ (Eucharist jokes aside, please), to use those terms, the church benefits. Don’t confuse Church with church. We’re here to see the Church advance, not just the churches advance. That’d be missing the forest for the trees.
Marketing, by its very nature, contradicts the essence of the gospel lifestyle of Jesus, who came not to be served, but to expend his life for others–no exchange implied or expected.
Service is one of the many definitions of church marketing for us. You can’t market yourselves without serving others. Community services and mailouts are not mutually exclusive.
We are indeed called to the four corners of the earth to be witnesses of Christ’s transforming love. But witnesses are not carnival barkers. Sometimes it feels like the church is just another voice shouting for attention in the marketplace.
Amen. And that’s another example of what we’re always saying–there’s a big difference between good marketing and marketing that sucks. But you can’t condemn marketing itself based on bad examples. That’d be like dismissing Jesus because a few of us Christians are hypocrites.
I wonder what would happen if we quit shouting, if we quit trying to tell the world how beneficial the faith is or what a difference going to church can make–and simply told others, when appropriate, what God has done for us, and let our lifestyle “market” the message.
And in the end, we all agree. Sounds like this could be a guest blogger piece waiting to happen.