Obama Disses Church Marketing

February 12, 2008 by

All right, so it wasn’t that bad, and it’s probably a statement most of you would agree with, but here’s a quote from a Barack Obama speech (video or text), where he takes a shot at church marketing while explaining why church marketing is necessary:

“Americans are a religious people. 90% of us believe in God, 70% affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38% call themselves committed Christians. Substantially more people in America believe in angels than they do in evolution. This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular megachurches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that is deeper than that, a hunger that goes deeper than any particular issue or cause. Each day it seems, that thousands of Americans who are going about their daily rounds–they’re dropping off their kids, they’re driving to the office, they’re flying to a business meeting, they’re shopping at the mall, they’re trying to stay on their diets–and they’re coming to the realization that something’s missing. They’re deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer business is not enough. They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their life; they’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before, and so they need assurance that someone out there cares about them, is listening to them. That they are not just destined to travel down that long highway towards nothingness.”

These days, politicians aren’t known for being in touch with the common person. But even politicians can see that Average Joe is looking for something deeper. Are you letting your community know you’re there and you’re open? Are you doing remarkable things?

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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12 Responses to “Obama Disses Church Marketing”

  • Danny
    February 12, 2008

    thanks for the great blog.
    I read this post several times, and I really think that the title is unfair. I don’t think that this person “dissed” church marketing in the least little bit. He was saying that it goes beyond that.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a diehard Obama person .. but I would change the title if it were me. Even if it’s to just not sound biased.
    Not a big deal in the end, and it’s jmo.


  • Jeremy Scheller
    February 12, 2008

    totally agree with Danny.
    I couldn’t find the diss….


  • brad
    February 12, 2008

    This just in: CMS goes for cheap, sensational headline to lure readers! And readers respond by dissing CMS! :-)


  • Joshua Cody
    February 12, 2008

    Alright, alright–guilty as charged for sensationalism in the headline.
    But in my defense, I toned it down in the first line.
    For the record, Obama merely dissed the idea that marketing is responsible for leading people to God. And all of our avid readers know that we agree with him on that point.
    Maybe next time the title can be a little more muted, but hey, we all needed something fun on a Tuesday, right? Right? …


  • Dan
    February 12, 2008

    I agree with the title. He is placing part of the blame for our “religious tendancies” on “skilled preachers” and “popular megachurches”. It’s obvious that he has a bias against the spread of the gospel and would prefer that everyone just “find a sense of purpose” rather than start going to church. Like many politicians, he uses a lot of words to try and skirt around how he really feels so he won’t lose any constituents.


  • Ben Birdsong
    February 13, 2008

    I would have to agree with Obama’s comments. People are hurting and seeking. This is clearly evident to everyone including politicians and leaders. The deep hurt of a broken world is clear to all but is only found in Jesus Christ!


  • Renee Elise
    February 13, 2008

    I agree 100% with Obama, and I don’t think he has a bias against spreading the gospel at all. I think he is realistic and willing to face a very real challenge head-on. What a wonderful and utterly welcome breath of fresh air after the past eight years.


  • Terrace Crawford
    February 13, 2008

    Great post. I found Obama’s message really interesting.


  • Sam Van Eman
    February 14, 2008

    I frequent AdAge.com and came across this article today about Mara Einstein’s book, Brands of Faith, at http://adage.com/bookstore/post?article_id=125047
    Her angle about evangelicalism may provide some insight into young people’s disillusionment with the Church. UnChristian, by David Kinnaman, is on my to-read list, but my initial reaction to the AdAge article was this: Young people are brand savvy – they know the cycle of a brand and when it’s hot and when it’s not. If the evangelical church has marketed itself according to the normal rules of marketing (There is plenty of evidence to say that it has), then kids will respond to it as they do to any brand.


  • Andy Wood
    February 15, 2008

    “They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their life; they’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before, and so they need assurance that someone out there cares about them, is listening to them. That they are not just destined to travel down that long highway towards nothingness.”
    I would love to see the ad campaign that used that and presented Christ and some local church as the solution.


  • Sam
    February 20, 2008

    “Narrative Arc” now that is a 5 dollar theological term! I did not know Senator Obama has been keeping up on the latests shifts and terminologies in biblical and theological hermeneutics!


  • brandonrichards
    March 6, 2008

    Has anyone noticed the connection between Obama > Oprah > Williamson
    It wreaks of new age ‘self’, which isn’t new at all.
    http://www2.oprah.com/xm/mwilliamson/mwilliamson_main.jhtml
    I would venture this is why Obama wants change ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/006058534X/qid=1099980211/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/002-1024029-6975202?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 ), and wants to heal the broken soul of America ( http://www2.oprah.com/tows/booksseen/tows_book_20010926_mwilliamson.jhtml)
    These are all quotes from Obama’s campaign, perhaps this is where he gets them?
    The reason I’m posting this is not to slam anyone but to realize, we are *always* marketing ‘something’, what have you marketed today?



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