Would You Put Your Pastor in a Box?

March 28, 2009 by

One church would, and they’re even aiming too. In a David Blaine-esque stunt, they’ve promised to suspend their pastor in a box for three days if 4,000 people show up on Easter.

You can visit the site, but there’s not much more to say about it other than that.

This type of marketing doesn’t sit exceptionally well with me. It communicates that you should go to whichever church will pull the biggest stunt, and it creates a pressure for one-upping other antics. One youth pastor will drink a cheeseburger that has been run through the juicer, but the other will shave his head.

I realize we should be willing to go as far as necessary to make disciples, I just don’t think I’m convinced that these sorts of stunts are a good way to do that.

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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93 Responses to “Would You Put Your Pastor in a Box?”

  • wally lowman
    March 28, 2009

    I can see Jesus plotting to put Judas in a box for a few days to get a few more people at passover. “Hey Judas, come here for a minute.”

  • ryan guard
    March 28, 2009

    Bring on the helicopter egg drops. This sort of thing is so uncreative. It doesn’t attract me or compel me to want to come to your church. It shows me that most Christians are already suspended in a box…

  • Mike
    March 28, 2009

    I agree with you. Why do stunts like this? Do they draw attention to your pastor and your church? Or do they draw attention to Jesus? Just sayin

  • Michael Gowin
    March 28, 2009

    This is ridiculous. Stunts are great for attracting attention, not so good at building relationships. Rohit Bhargava makes this point in his pithy book, Personality Not Included.

  • adam mclane
    March 28, 2009

    I’m all about the publicity stunt concept. But don’t copy the worst publicity stunts. This David Blaine thing is… just a little too weird for me.
    Was Geraldo not available? Couldn’t the crack a secret cave of a former pastor and find the millions?

  • Jean-Guy
    March 28, 2009

    This is a cheesy attempt to bypass the daily grind of making connections through a lifestyle lived in Jesus. My guess is they’ll depart as fast as they arrived.

  • Lindsey
    March 28, 2009

    I agree that while this can seem to be a great attempt it completely looses focus. I think it is very distracting. I’m no joy kill that is for sure. I enjoy my share of goofiness here and there but it has to be in the right place.

  • Chilly
    March 28, 2009

    whatever it takes to get them, is what it will take to keep them…
    unconditional, genuine love is a better option. in the words of DC Talk: “When Love (Jesus) is in the house, and the house is packed
    So much soul I left the back door cracked” – Ha! A old-school, hip-hop, truth…
    Note: Jesus could have easily ‘suspended’ Himself in the air indefinitely (no crane or box required)… He didn’t.

  • ryan guard
    March 28, 2009

    Only a few people were at Jesus’ transfiguration… I guess that was a marketing failure.

  • Mark Andrew Pope
    March 29, 2009

    Really? Suspended in a box?? You know, what makes me really sad is that I know this church – or rather, know about it. I knew the previous music director – such a man of God… this reeks of Las Vegas gone bad. Showy. No inherent lesson learned. But, what is really interesting to me is that the site that is linked here doesn’t directly link back to the church website. Nor does the church link to the “Pastor in a Box” website.
    I think they already know to distance themselves somewhat from this ridiculous and silly event. When you’re gettin’ gimmicky to get people to church, you’re just desperate because you’ve tried every other quick pop culture trick to get tushes in the seats. It makes me deeply, deeply sad.
    Hey Calvary, try this – faith in God. It works.

  • Bill Morris
    March 29, 2009

    I think this is one of those things that can really only be understood when your involved weekly with a church like Calvary. I asked questions to some local folk that attend and they completely were excited about this. They mentioned how it was more of a challenge for their church, and not so much evangelism tool. They said the church is well over that number of people already and most of the people have gotten to know this pastor and they love his spontaneity. In no means are they trying to get publicity out of it. And the site does go back to the church site. The pastorinabox.com site is a bit more modern then their actual church site, but i guess thats fine. Many of our sites aren’t great looking themselves. And they show the actual box on the site, it’s nothing like that David Blane guy. I’m looking forward to it. Hope your church has fun. Wish churches that are capable of doing things like this would lighten up a bit. When most of our churches have a harvest fest or spring time carnival don’t we tend to put our pastors in the dunk tank? and dont we make the most money then? come on!

  • Jason Delgado
    March 29, 2009

    I don’t have any idea what the rest of you guys are talking about. I went on the site and read up on what exactly they’re doing, and frankly, I think this is an awesome idea! For one, it sure got your attention, didn’t it? However, the funny thing is it wasn’t intended to impress you church people, it was intended to get the intention of unchurched people. What really frustrates me is when a guy gets a creative idea (that may grate against traditional norms) to win just 1 person to Christ, he gets slaughtered for it by his own camp. Most of us pastors were sitting in dunk tanks back in the 80s and 90s at church block parties and so forth letting people throw balls at us to dunk us in water just to get the attention of 1 unchurched person that we’re not stuffy religious people. Yeah, the idea is way outdated now, but back then, many pastors criticized and ridiculed this kind of creativity. I guess nothing’s changed. Same stuff, different generation. We soon forget that Jesus did many radical, out-of-the-box creative things that were against the grain of the traditional norms of His day. Why? to connect with people so they could connect with the Kingdom of God. And the Pharasees crucified Him for it in the end. I think the message Pastor Ben and Calvary Church is trying to convey is that we love unchurched people so much, we’re willing to make ourselves fools that 1 may come to find Christ. Gee, I think I remember reading something like that somewhere in the Bible. Oh yeah, that’s right! The Apostle Paul said that. Pastor Ben, stay the course! When you guys win scores of people to Christ on Easter because you were willing to make yourself foolish in the eyes of the world, all this criticism will be worth it. When you connect those new believers into your discipleship ministry to ground them in Christ and help them discover their spiritual gifts and assimilate them into the Body of Christ to serve others and reach their potential in God, all the criticism in the world will be worth it. When those new believers come up out of baptism waters, all the criticism will be worth it. A while from now, when one of them gives their testimony before the church and tells them that their lives were changed by the love of Christ because they just had to come the Easter Sunday to find out what this “pastor in a box” thing was all about; all the criticism will be worth it. When those very people one day are in lay-leadership of Calvary helping you raise up the next generation, all the criticism will be worth it. And in the end, all the naysayers will be silenced. Stay the course. Get in that box, let everyone criticize you for it, let the media come out and do stories on it, and reap a great harvest for Jesus! I guess it is true, the foolish things of the world still confound the wise.

  • roger george
    March 29, 2009


  • stacy
    March 30, 2009

    A word from a member of the unchurched: “Yep, still not going.”

  • Ismael Burciaga
    March 30, 2009

    Roger I love you! You always make me smile. Calvary Church is growing in every department including Familia de Dios! http://www.familiadediosfd.com!

  • Kathy Chatterton
    March 30, 2009

    Come on people, it’s about the results not the means. If we can draw people to the church..even if it’s only because they want to see the Pastor put in a box…but then their lives are touched and ministered to…well…mission accomplished! If the “norm” was working..then every church would be standing room only. So to all of you criticising…time to think outside of your own box!

  • Mark Andrew Pope
    March 30, 2009

    Jason Delgado makes some really good points… thanks for taking the time to really explain a few of those ideas to me. And, I’m seeing a few posts that say that Calvary church is growing – and I really am glad about that! I don’t doubt the faithfulness of their message!
    My post, no doubt, was written with strongly worded opinions and for “flash” value. And, so I apologize for any offense.
    But, I’m still not personally sold on the idea of suspending someone in a box for a few days as an incentive to get people to invite others to church or to draw people to your church.
    Again, I appreciate Jason Delgado and his logical (and Biblical) explanation. That made me think. And, I think that was a very Christian way response to this topic.
    We really shouldn’t be disparaging each other, should we…?
    Calvary Church, best of luck with your campaign!

  • Scott
    March 30, 2009

    I don’t mean to be argumentative, but I disagree. I think the means are just as important as the results.
    Taken to an extreme, couldn’t a results-based way of thinking justify threatening, paying, or tricking someone to convert them? In each of those cases, I don’t think the gospel is well-served, and I’m afraid of the kind of “Christians” that we’d end up with.

  • Aaron
    March 30, 2009

    We talk about contextulizing the Gospel in our cities and then when someone trys to do something that is not what makes sense in our context we make them sinners. Calvary Church and Pastor ben are not changing the Gospel or Preaching a false Gospel they are putting a box on the roof of their church to get people to notice and start talking about them and if you ask me it has worked because one of the biggest church marketing blogs is talking about it and all of you are sharing your opinions and saying it is wrong and does not work and all along it is working because exactly what they are trying to accomplish is being accomplished so as much as you do not like what they are doing…. IT IS WORKING!

  • Fellow Believer
    March 30, 2009

    Thank you Calvary for doing what you can to motivate your members to reach out to the unchurched. You are a blessing to the Kingdom of God. Anyone agree?

  • Kenna
    March 30, 2009

    Interesting how Christians seem to be the ones in an uproar about this. I don’t think this idea was ever intended to be some deep Theological motive. It’s a guy trying to light a fire under people to get them to reach out and invite their friends to church thru humorous creativity. What is the big deal? He isn’t asking anyone to go into the box. It’s simply a tool to get people excited about reaching out to people…an incentive. Last time I checked, businesses, bosses and even parents use reward incentives all the time to encourage individuals to do things they do always “feel” like doing.
    And to the individual who posted the comment: “This is a cheesy attempt to bypass the daily grind of making connections through a lifestyle lived in Jesus.” I think it is a pretty harsh judgement on your part. You have no idea how much the pastor or his congregation pour into connecting with others. Yes, it’s a cheesy idea…I’m pretty sure that Pastor Ben even admits that in his quote.
    I think it’s about time that people lighten up and have a sense of humor. It’s not putting anyone out, except for the people who choose to take the challenge. And let’s say they succeed…will those of you who are against this idea be upset that 4,000 people for 2 weeks in a row hear the gospel? Remember, the message of Jesus is not going into a sealed box…it is still being preached every opportunity this church gets.
    It may not be your style, but remember…’this is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other,” John 13:35. I think it’s about time to chill out and support fellow churches who may have different techniques but are striving for the common purpose…to reach and touch lives for Jesus.

  • andrew
    March 30, 2009

    O how i hate American Christianity… Here’s an idea… rather than tear each others churches and ideas down lets love people… lets love the unchurched, lets love the churched, and everyone in limbo between the two… Anyone thats been to Calvary knows that their heart is for people… So why judge a church you have never been to? If you have never been there to know their heart you have no right to judge… Rather than judge go love someone… thats all the people of Calvary strive to do…

  • Jay Lizzle Olizzle
    March 30, 2009


  • Sean John
    March 30, 2009

    ok heres my input on it. i dont see how you “Christians” can be posting all this crap about what calvary is doing to get out and reach out. Its like theres 2 sides here, thats what pushs people away from church, is people like you who fight with other churchs about what they are doing because you think its a dumb idea thats not gonna work. Why dont you actually backup what pastor ben is trying to do and maybe see some growth in you own life in the process.

  • Leslie Hirschman
    March 30, 2009

    I am an active member of Calvary church and we are all very excited about this opportunity to spread the word of God to unbelievers. What a wonderful way to bring believers and unbelievers together at a critical time of year to hear about the resurrection of Christ. Pastor George and Pastor Ben are both amazing men of God and in a time of tragedy in my life helped me in so many ways. I can’t thank them or the church enough for preaching such a wonderful word. I’m sure I speak for the church family as a whole when I say we are very proud of our Pastors and very proud to be members of such an awesome church! 4000+ is becoming more and more realistic every person that hears about pastorinabox. If Pastor Ben can reach just one unbeliever, it will be well worth it!!!!

    March 30, 2009


  • Concerned
    March 30, 2009

    Matthew 5:22
    But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an IDIOT, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

  • Brandon Davis
    March 30, 2009

    You people who are bashing this idea have no clue what you are talking about when it comes to Calvary Church.I have been an active member since I was born. The pastors here are awesome and very accepting of everyone. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t say in the bible reach every unsaved person anyway you can abiding by the lords way. So tell me how this is wrong in the Lords eyes? Can’t can you? Didn’t think so. So when you can tell me how this is wrong in Gods eyes or in the Christian way I might listen to you. Calvary Church has helped me in many trials in my life and I can promise you that that is what every member of this church can and will tell you. Me personally, well I have to say this a great idea and I believe it will bring alot of saved and unsaved people to a great church that they too will love as much as I do. Let me end this with I hope that the people that are critisizing this realize that your mouth is a powerful weapon and you hurt alot of people with your words. So due on to others as you wish to be done upon yourselfs. God Bless All Of You

  • Juli
    March 30, 2009

    I have been trying to get some of my non-believing friends to church for some time. I challenged them with Pastorinabox.com. What have you got to lose, I asked. They are unchurched and excited about being a part of this crazy thing. I know that the annointing and love and grace and mercy of Christ is everywhere but I also know that Jesus attends Calvary and they will meet Him when they come. Praise God for Pastor Ben and Pastor George who are willing to be as radical as the disciples. I mean, tearing a roof off to get to Jesus was a bit more radical than sitting in a box, don’t you think? By the way, the box is not suspended….it is mounted on the roof. Check it out this Sunday at Calvary Church. 161 and Walnut Hill. Services at 9:30am and 11:15am!!!!!Come and hear about Gracism, the art of inclusion. Blessings

  • Chris Chatterton
    March 30, 2009

    I write this opinion as both an online marketing professional and as a Calvary Church member. I have attended churches prior to Calvary and have yet to find a church so genuine. I have also been reading “Church Marketing Sucks” for several years.
    When I first found CMS I initially visited the site as I was shocked by the URL http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com. After visiting the site and reading the mission statement “The blog to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ” I found that CMS was a resource and place where I could go to find relevant information about church marketing. I bring all this up as Joshua Cody seems to be condemning the idea of “Pastor in a Box” due to the fact “It communicates that you should go to whichever church will pull the biggest stunt, and it creates a pressure for one-upping other antics”. In my opinion this the pot calling the kettle black as this is the same type of stunt that http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com has incorporated by using that URL. What is next http://www.ChurchMarketingBlows.com?
    Now, I can honestly say that when I first heard the “Pastor in a Box” goal … I thought it was funny since I was imagining Pastor Ben in Box on top of the church for 3 days, and then it hit me after talking with the Calvary Church Webmaster. Based on the number of visits they were receiving to the http://www.pastorinabox.com site it was going to go viral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing ) “Thanks Church Marketing Sucks!”. I have tons of clients that would pay 100’s of thousands of dollars for their campaigns (Outreaches) to go viral. Then when a church gets an outreach idea to drive visitors the so called experts “Josh Cody” condemns the idea.
    So if this not what you “Josh Cody and others” deem as an acceptable outreach event or to quote Josh ”doesn’t sit well with you” what do you recommend? We are waiting anxiously to hear what you would do if charged with coming up with the outreach idea. Would it be another cool youtube video? or wait, lets go to where all the believers are (cause that makes sense), godtube.com, and then we can twitter about the cool video that we had the youth group edit.
    I know churches that never change their outreach programs, never implement new ideas, and complain about the same old tired results. At least Calvary isn’t a church that is sitting back and wondering what if or saying we can’t. They truly care about their congregation and genuinely want to spread the word. So Josh Cody here is my motto “It’s Better to Try and Fail Than to Have Never Tried At All”.
    See you at MinistryCOM!

  • Leland R. Caldwell
    March 30, 2009

    While many, if not most, Christians sit around and talk about winning souls to teh Lord, Calvary Church is doing it. Pastor George, Pastor Dailey (Box Boy) and the other staff at Calvary Church are reaching more lives for the cause of Christ than most churches around us. I know, I go there. I bring people that are being ministered to. Other Christians (or some claiming to be) talk about witnessing, but Calvary church staff put there actions where there mouths are. Instead of bashing supposedly for the cause of Christ as the author does here, it would be nice to bring people in for thecause of Christ. I HAVE HAD MORE NON CHURCH GOERS COMMITT TO COME TO THE TWO SERVICES IN A ROW OVER THIS MINISTRY IDEA THAN AT ANYTIME EVER BEFORE. You go Pastor Ben. We know when we are growing and reaching sould the devil aint gonna stand still. I have been expecting the attacks.

  • roger george
    March 30, 2009

    by the way – that was dill pickles and the sourness they bring!! ;} all of you that thought otherwise – stop it!!

  • the 4th D.S
    March 31, 2009

    Kudos to pastor Ben for thinking outside the box and coming up with new and creative ways to get people to church. I speak only from personal experience that this mans creativity is what first soften my heart to christians and to Jesus before I was saved. He caught my attention with creativity and a church of people like him connected with me and loved me all the way to the lord. If only one person is won to the kingdom by the box then it is worth it. Perhaps maybe some would feel like his time would be better spent blogging negative and hateful opinions about other christians creative ideas. Maybe we could catch the attentions of the unsaved this way too…….
    My guess is the Pastor in the Box is a more positive and affective approach.
    Benny D. you have nothing but support, love and prayers from your family in Cali. And as G.W. would say P.P.P and give all the glory to god.

  • Joshua
    March 31, 2009

    Thanks so much for everyone’s comments. It’s great to hear and see both sides of the story. Calvary folks, thanks for your input as well.
    I’m not trying to tear down or offend anyone, and I am very grateful that Calvary Church is being proactive about getting more people to hear the gospel. I’m also incredibly thankful for the life change some of you have been talking about.
    I’m still not 100% convinced that this is the best way to bring about sustained life change and move in a community. I’m a lot more sold on radical outreach programs, but at the foundation of that idea is just different ideas of church models. And it’s all right to have those differences.
    Let’s keep the conversation constructive and moving forward — this is a great start!

  • Los
    March 31, 2009


  • John (Human3rror)
    March 31, 2009


  • Fellow Believer
    March 31, 2009

    To me this is the new way of reaching out. People have been turned away from the old school stuff. It’s time for the new age. You know Jesus didn’t stick to doing things the original way it was done to reach out, so why should we? I believe God is smiling down at Pastor Ben and laughing, but hey, at least he’s sacrificing to motivate, what are you doing?

  • Wayne Cordova
    March 31, 2009

    How will he go potty?

  • Brad Ruggles
    March 31, 2009

    I’ve got to be careful what I say here. On the one hand I’ve done my fair share of “stunts” as a Youth Pastor. I even shaved my head into a mohawk once.
    But I think there’s a difference between the kind of stuff that reaches youth and the things we do in “big kids church.” I don’t think this is necessarily wrong, I just think it’s a little cheesy. If I read about that or heard that story on the news it wouldn’t make me want to go there.
    Just because we CAN doesn’t always mean we SHOULD.

  • Crystal Renaud
    March 31, 2009

    that could quite possibly be the most retarded thing i’ve ever read about a church doing. and i’ve seen some retarded things.
    i mean, does it really take a gimmick to get people into church? what will happen once they get there? what are they being offered other than being told their salvation and hope in Christ is only worth this?
    oh and i find it fitting that the “required” spam word below for me is “frustrate.” there’s very little more frustrating than to see something like this from a church.

  • Ben of BenandJacq
    March 31, 2009

    How many of the negative commenters here are (like me) so concerned with which method is “most effective” or “most biblical” that we (instead of stepping out and doing _something_) do NOTHING, and pat ourselves on the back for being better than this guy.
    We are so quick to shoot at our brothers, instead of being encouraged by their efforts and zeal to tell people about Jesus. There is a time to call out pastors, but only when those pastors are doing something that is clearly not biblical or sinful. And I’m not sure that’s the case here.

  • Art
    March 31, 2009

    “I’m still not 100% convinced that this is the best way to bring about sustained life change…”
    Of course it isn’t. Life change isn’t an event, it is a process that occurs over the span of a lifetime.
    The “pastor in a box” deal is a marketing tactic to try and get people into the church. Call it what it is. The hope, I’m certain, is that the event/tactic (pastor in a box) will lead to life change (people being converted and discipled).

  • Bobby Chandler
    March 31, 2009

    I’m not so sure this is a marketing stunt. If you take the web page at its word, he’s challenging his church members to a task. I didn’t read anything that said, “come see the silly pastor in the box.”
    Is it goofy? Yes. And if it were a blatant marketing strategy it would be a horrible…but I don’t think it is.
    What’s funny is, whether or not it was intended, his church is getting all kinds of attention from this. In a way, we’re doing allthe marketing for him.

  • Brandi
    March 31, 2009

    On the flip side of the coin, I see some people & pastors who attend churches that I know of who put on great light shows with loud rock music & bring in cutting edge musicians for big openers that have been criticized time & time again by people who think it’s all just a “show”…. & those church staff folks are now criticizing this church for a different kind of “show”.
    isn’t this just the same thing in a way? all of it is part of creating an attractive environment to bring people in. what attracts some might not attract others. whereas some people may never step foot in a huge church with loud music & flashy lights, they may come in to a church that’s pulling some goofy stunt like this. both types of churches are trying to create attractive environments, what’s so wrong with that?
    for the record.. im really not sure what i think about this. just wanted to vocalize my thoughts as i read through this comments & saw the criticism of some to put a different spin on things.
    i do know this though, i love what seems to be the heart behind each scenario. the flashy lights & the pastor in the box.

    March 31, 2009


  • Fellow Believer
    March 31, 2009

    Why can’t we have fun in church? Because everyone who criticizes this promotion is basically saying you can’t have fun in church. Why can’t we have technology (flashy lights, loud music, etc.)?
    Jesus stepped out and did everything out of the ordinary, why can’t we?
    What confuses me is that people put on their websites stuff like “Dirty Girls: the new porn addicts”, but questions Pastor Ben’s motives? That Dirty Girls is a gimmick just like pastorinabox.com is. I have no problem with everyone trying to reach their own style of people, because, I, just like Pastor Ben is trying to reach our style, THE LOST, and his way of doing this is to challenge the church God has entrusted him to lead.
    Even though there is a attendance line to cross, his motives and mindset is not attendance, it’s changed lives. I’ve listened to his sermons, I’ve met him personally, he is very sincere about reaching lost people. And the church he leads says it all. Because there are so many different types of people who attend this church. For instance, Americans, Latinos, Africans, Asians, Indians, Rockers, Punk Rockers, Rich/Poor, and Old/Young. Really for this church, the types of people, that list goes on and on.
    So stop putting him down and start backing your brother up.
    Keep it up Calvary, keep it up Pastor Ben, but most importantly, keep it up God (even though your people are being criticized for it).

  • London Pope
    March 31, 2009

    You know i’ve known Ben Dailey ah long time , and these comments about gimmicks and trickery are funny to me. The impact this brother has had on me has been life changing. “Keep doin wha cha doin Bennie D”

  • Juli
    March 31, 2009

    If more of us were on the streets right now, ministering to the lost and sharing the love of Jesus, we wouldn’t need this… Go share the Gospel and quit slamming a church that has a desire to do just that!

  • Dance Man
    March 31, 2009

    If Jesus walked on water then go Pastor Ben go. The bible refers to us as fishermen of men. And if you know anything about fishing then you know that different fish require different bait. What brought you to Christ in 1957 is not going to get the job done now. We have bigger problems than the Barbie Doll. Its harvest time please take the same energy that you are using to slam Calvary and go win some souls. God is using Pastor Ben not to just grow Calvary but to enlarge his kingdom. I love you all Calvary and I’m praying that God takes us to the next level.

  • Christian Girl
    March 31, 2009

    I love Calvary Church!

  • Jason Delgado
    March 31, 2009

    I’ve already weighed in on this, but I have to say this: you guys who run this website are acting pretty hypocritical with your criticisms toward Calvary Church’s idea. You launched a site called CHURCHMARKETINGSUCKS.COM … and you’re going to criticize pastor in a box?!?!?! You’ve got a lot of pious nerves to go there. Your motive for the name of your website was to draw attention and traffic to it. There is nothing different with what Calvary Church is doing.
    And, let’s turn the table a little bit since you guys think you’re the ultimate opinion of other church’s marketing strategies. What impression do you think you’re leaving on unbelievers who run across your website name? That churches who market SUCK? Don’t you think you could KEEP many of them away from church altogether? Bet you didn’t think about that before you decided to spout off your prideful and pious criticism of Calvary Church. Oh, and how are you guys doing any service or edification to the Body of Christ with a website who’s purpose is to bash other church’s marketing ideas? I bet guys like Ed Young Jr. just frustrate the mess out of you guys, don’t they? But, he’s running 26,000 strong at Fellowship Church! 26,000 changed and discipled lives! AND, Ed used a lot of wild marketing ideas to reach many of those people. What have YOU done? Why don’t you rename your site CHURCHMARKETINGPHARISEES.COM? Give me a break! Why don’t you get a life and a real ministry and your own creative ideas to win souls for Christ and stop criticizing the efforts of others! Sorry, I know this is strong but I’ve had my fill.

  • Christina Balding
    March 31, 2009

    I went to Calvary way back in the 80s when my parents were on staff there. I have to say I was blown away at the church Calvary has become. I think my pastors are some of the most fun people I have ever had the pleasure of hanging out with and you go all the way with this Pastor Ben. I don’t see this as so much of a stunt to get people through the door, but as a public confession of your love and devotion to our church. And I know this for sure. If new people walk in on Easter Morning, they will be blown away by the worship and Pastor Elmer’s incredible ability as a worship leader and they will be fed the Word, straight from the Gospel, AND they will have the most fun they’ve had in a long time AT CHURCH!

  • CHURCHmarketingsucks website blows
    March 31, 2009


  • David Harden
    March 31, 2009

    Jesus put himself on a cross…was that a stunt to? Peter demanded to be crucified “up side down” on a cross, was that a just a marketing stunt? A psalmist named David killed the most feared man (Goliath)in Israel in the name of God with a slingshot; how bout that and later on, that same man (a then King) danced around naked in the temple, in front of everyone, all in the name of God and his own wife despised him; how bout that one? Jesus waited till Lazarus was dead and in the tomb before he came to heal him just so he could resurrect him…that was a pretty neat stunt don’t you think? Dude get a life and find a new stunt!
    Hey Pastor Ben, keep praying, preaching and pluggin dude!
    PS- I’m working on my own stunt; Sometime in the next two years, I’m gonna do a church fund raiser where I run 100 miles in 24 hours around a high school tract and were gonna raise a bunch of money for the gospel- I can’t wait for your criticism them!

  • Jameson
    March 31, 2009

    HONESTLY??? 1 Question…why are so many people closed minded? The one thing I can tell by checking out this website today is that the people who run it along with the people who visit it are EXTREMELY CLOSED MINDED!!! AND EXTREMELY RELIGIOUS as well. Do you not realize that for the most part everything that Jesus did offended the “religious” people of His day? My gosh it was the pharisees and the workers of religion that crucified Christ.
    And as far as the website here…how can you take negative sides on campaigns when you’re very name could be offensive? Granted I’m not offended by your name, but it’s a shock factor that you’re after along with a lot of campaigns that people are running.
    So as for the people on here that are bashing this saying that it’s a stunt to attract people and that what you have to do to get them you have to do to keep them, I’m just guessing that you have no outreach at your church or any creative marketing. Think about it, you’re saying that if you do an easter outreach i.e. an egg hunt, or christmas outreach or anything along those lines and people come to your church then the only way for you to keep them coming is to constantly be doing outreaches…WRONG!!!
    Get them in the door however you can and then let the LOVE AND POWER OF GOD CHANGE THEM!!!
    Be open minded and remember that the only people that hated and opposed Jesus and the Kingdom of God were the religious leaders!

  • elena
    March 31, 2009

    For Crystal Renaud:
    “retarded” Really? You’re just going to throw that word around. Think about what you say before you say it. Besides, you make it sound like a bad thing. I teach special needs kids in middle school and I’m pretty sure they’re AWESOME!
    Also, GO Gimmicks! Yea CC and P. Ben! WOO!

  • Master Tesfatsion
    March 31, 2009

    I’ll keep a prayer out for this website tonight. Thanks for the free publicity, as we continue to reach the unpreached!

  • A brother from another...
    March 31, 2009

    I love it. Shake the hatters off.

  • lizzie
    March 31, 2009

    Haters need to drink some

  • Chris Chatterton
    March 31, 2009

    So a question to Josh Cody. I bet you didn’t expect that you would get this kind of response when you blogged about pastor in a box did you? I mean lets be real, this post has generated more comments then I have seen on any other CMS post.
    I must say I am also impressed with the Poll results as well looks like Calvary is “Rocking the Vote” to put a pastorinabox (Can anyone say Facebook?- Big Shout Out J to tha lo).
    Now lets go back a little bit into CMS history July 26, 2007 you (Josh Cody) posted an article about a YouTube Contest being hosted by the Greater Boston Vineyard.
    In that post you wrote:
    “So maybe for you it’s a Facebook cause or group, maybe it’s a church blog, or maybe it’s a YouTube video contest. Whatever it is, remember two simple rules:
    • The same principles apply on the web and in reality.
    • These are points of entry, but once people access them, it’s your message that matters.”
    All I have to say is Thanks Josh Cody for proving my point. You were 100% right when you (Josh Cody) made that statement because pastor in a box (as gimmicky or cheesy as YOU think it may be) is a point of entry and Calvary knows that it is our message that matters.
    You know I am going to make a suggestion from one marketing professional to another and take it for what it’s worth. Maybe your next post should be how Facebook united a church to come together and support one another after churchmarketingsucks.com bashed it’s outreach.

  • The Girl Wonders
    March 31, 2009

    If you read the website referenced above you will see that Pastor Ben is challenging his own church to reach out. Why anyone would take time to disparage the sincere attempt of a pastor to encourage his own flock to reach out to the unchurched by whatever means he thinks will motivate them is beyond me. And gee…do you wonder why he chose three days after Easter to be in the box?
    Pastor Ben, if God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. I’ll bet He’s proud of you, and we are too. Well done.

  • Ron & Judy
    March 31, 2009

    We Support you Pastor Ben in California… the Man with a Shepherd’s Heart!!We Love You!!

  • Ron & Judy
    March 31, 2009

    We Support you Pastor Ben in California… the Man with a Shepherd’s Heart!!We Love You!!

  • Ron & Judy
    March 31, 2009

    We Support you Pastor Ben in California… the Man with a Shepherd’s Heart!!We Love You!!

  • Ron & Judy
    March 31, 2009

    We Support you Pastor Ben in California… the Man with a Shepherd’s Heart!!We Love You!!

  • Kareem Hickman
    March 31, 2009

    Hey, I thought this was cool…check out Ben Dailey’s blog today…

  • Chris Chatterton
    March 31, 2009

    One more post and I am done… sorry couldn’t let this one slide.
    Dear Mr. Mark Andrew Pope.
    I understand that you might not necessarily agree with what Calvary Church is doing, I mean heck you may totally hate it. I would just think that such an astute and accomplished Christian Musician who has by your own words stated “that we should give God our most excellent worship – no matter in what style we may find ourselves. – http://www.markandrewpope.com” would write such a negative post. If you truly think that Calvary Church is …..uuuuuuhhhmm how did you put it, oh yeah …..“ just desperate because you’ve (we’ve) tried every other quick pop culture trick to get tushes in the seats” and that … uuuuuhhhhhmmm ….ah yah it’s coming to me…” we (Calvary) should try faith in God” as an outreach idea then I encourage you to visit us. Maybe…just maybe, since you are so close to Calvary you could drop in for a service so you can see how and what we are about. Now, this is my opinion so feel free to disagree but I think that your post was one of the most negative I have seen in CMS.
    Psalm 1:41
    Blessed is the man:
    who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
    or stand in the way of sinners
    or sit in the seat of mockers.
    My point is, it’s easy to spout of opinions when there is no accountability. A good rule of thumb that I use is this …(and it’s real simple) I don’t write anything online that I wouldn’t say to someone in person. If more people followed this rule the internet would be a much nicer place. I mention this because no one wants to visit a site and or comment on a post when all they see is bashing whether it’s right or wrong.
    One more shout out to Jean-Guy who posted on March 28, 2009 1:02 PM
    If you think that this an “attempt to bypass the daily grind of making connections through a lifestyle lived in Jesus.” , then I think it is time to for some self reflection. When your perspective and or point of view is so skewed that you start referring to building relationships/connections with Jesus as daily grind then you might want to get in the word. We all understand that being a Christian can be difficult at times but we (Christians) should look at each new opportunity to connect as a great way to expand Gods kingdom not as a tedious chore that we got stuck with.
    Take it for what it is worth

  • Ron & Judy
    March 31, 2009

    We Support you Pastor Ben in California… the Man with a Shepherd’s Heart!!We Love You!!

  • Steve Brown
    April 1, 2009

    Get Real. This is a fun marketing tool to get an already motivated congregation to Reach Out to the community. This is a door opener, the relationship begins once the contact is made. If this helps to increase the number of “First Contacts” then its mission is accomplished. Get a life and have some fun.

  • Joshua
    April 1, 2009

    Hey guys, let’s calm down just a hair. Here are some things I’m hearing: “Get Real,” “churchmarketingsucks.com bashed it’s outreach,” “the people who run [this site]…are EXTREMELY CLOSED MINDED!!!,” “SICK OF THIS SITE BASHING OUR PASTORS,” “YOUR WEBSITE IS A WACKY BIT TO GET NOTICED,” etc. The other side has been equally vocal, using words like “vomit” and retarded.”
    We’re not looking to “bash” anyone. We aren’t looking to make fun of anyone. We don’t think anyone is “retarded.”
    To the Calvary folks, I’d like to let you know that I’m thankful for the outreach you’re doing, and I’m glad lives are being changed at your church. I’m proud that your church is affecting people and moving them towards God. And I’m glad more people will come to church on Easter because of the conversations going on here and elsewhere.
    All that said, I don’t think I’ll be won over on putting pastors in boxes :)

  • Ryan
    April 1, 2009

    My question that I would ask after all of this arguing (seeing that I come from a non denominational background) is this. Where is the sin in this? This is marketing, and its created a buzz, and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. Is there anything inherently wrong with a man in a box? Make sure we keep things straight, we are not trying to “convert” AT FIRST, we are trying to get their foot in the door, THEN let them hear about The Word, THEN convert. This is not a trick, these people know they are coming to a church, no magic in that.
    Are coffee and refreshments at church going to “convert” you – NO. Is the good looking girl or boy at church going to “convert” you – NO. These things may HELP you, but it will get your foot in the door. I do not go to Calvary but I think most people that are marketing for Churches in all areas are about one thing – getting peoples foot in the door, and then its about whatever is inside you that makes you change and how that church affects you, and if it takes a man willing to “sacrifice” himself (no pun intended) then so be it.

  • Jason
    April 1, 2009

    I just don’t get the concept. I’m all about hype, but I just don’t get this. I like the idea of a pastor who’s willing to look goofy. I like the idea of a goal for Easter. I would rather have a better developed concept… Make him run around town in a bunny suit meeting people and sharing there’s more to Easter than a rabbit. SOMEthing that ties into Easter or church. Putting a pastor in a box sounds like a punishment and has been grounded. Just sounds like they should’ve spent another 10 minutes in the brainstorming room. Well I gotta go and lock my pastor in his office for 3 days.

  • Gale
    April 1, 2009

    I gotta tell you. I dont live in Dallas but I’ve know the Pastor and his family since he was a young boy and have watched him grow into a fine Godly man. You may all think this is a gimmic but what you are not looking at in the end result. This Pator only needs to get them in and because Jesus radiates from him and works through hin JUSUS will do the rest. We should use all that we have as humans to get people in just to hear the word and Jesus does the rest. It doesn’t matter how we get them in as long as it’s not decietful, if God take the lead when they get there and I know with this Pastor God ALWAYS takes the lead. What comes out of this Pastors mouth is Jesus speaking through him not him speaking. So everyone needs to quit worring about how they are getting them in the church but that they are getting them in the church so that God can do the rest. We all need to quit worring about others and take a look at ourselves. Are you out there trying to get people to turn to Jesus or are you just judging someone who is??? You go with this Ben and keep trusting the Lord on what you should do. Don’t worry about judgmental people for we are all only humans Isa 55:8;”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. If they are judging you they should probably be looking at themselves and finding out exactly where they stand and are they doing anything.

  • Jose Olide
    April 1, 2009

    Ok, First off… As developer of the site.. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HITS! :D
    Second, take a breather everyone. While your at it check out Pastor Ben’s latest blog. I guarantee you will be enlightened. http://pastorinabox.com/blog/
    Or just click on my name to go to the blog.
    relax. all in good fun. it’s getting people here… so really, you “experts” can say all you want. The results… will and evidently do… speak for themselves.

  • Blaine
    April 1, 2009

    People don’t even like it when David Blaine sits in a box and his whole business is about illusion and facades…Everyone I have mentioned this story to has said, “You mean, like David Blaine?”
    I’m just not sure that I would want people to associate my ministry and people with the art of illusion and facades. I’d rather have the people within the church create a buzz because they are so moved and compelled by the ministry, itself.
    My 2 cents.

  • Mark Andrew Pope
    April 1, 2009

    I hope that everyone took a moment to see my second post – my first, being strongly opinionated, and, rightly stirring up some feelings – and my second where I recant a bit. I have always been a big believer in church unity. And, what I said wasn’t at all unifying. For that I apologize.
    The fact is that the devil has done a wonderful job at dividing and conquering us Christians. I bashed the church, you’ve taken your turn at me… where does it end?
    Calvary certainly isn’t doing anything that is hurtful to the Church or to anyone’s faith…
    You know, I think I might actually attend Calvary on Easter Sunday. Why not? If nothing else, I can apologize in person and, then you only need 3,999 more to put your pastor in a box.

  • Andy Smith
    April 1, 2009

    Regarding the pastor in a box: It has ‘cheap gimmick’ written all over it. It was a cheap gimmick for David Blaine, it’s an even cheaper gimmick when copied.
    Regarding this thread:
    This infighting just proves that America (& the world) are ready for another major religion to take the reigns to help us become more peaceful in the world. Christians are some of the cruelest, most stiff and bitter people I’ve ever met, and this forum shows that so clearly.
    This isn’t “open dialogue,” it’s one person thinking they’re being personally attacked, so rather than discuss it rationally they viciously snap back.
    THAT’s why this won’t work. People can easily see past the gimmick to the agenda so poorly disguised behind it.
    This whole thread just made me really sad. As a non-Christian designer I enjoy this site, because it’s tongue-in-cheek. And I don’t always agree with these guys, but they’re willing to say that they may be wrong. It’s as close to a church as I’m ever going to step foot in. Because they remind me that churches are still pulling the same old gimmicks, rather than just loving people. There’s not enough humility in Christianity, but there was in Christ. That strikes me as odd.

  • Bill Morris
    April 1, 2009

    That’s the spirit Mark.

  • Bill Morris
    April 1, 2009

    At some point in life your gonna have to get over the term, “Christians”, Andy and recognize that even if them so called “Christians” have hurt you in the past, it’s not because of them that people seek the church or God. It’s because we have that void in us that we seek to be filled with something. God is real, Jesus was humble and probably would’ve ended all of this discord over this dumb box long time ago. But as a non-Christian, don’t look at the people, because their just as jacked up as us…they just think can cover it all up and that’s what irritates folks like you and I. See I’ve grown up around church and been there and a genuine church is the one that reaches out to people like us. We don’t want stuff sugar coated, or even fed into our mouths, but we do want to see sincerity and others loving others.
    Who knows, from what’ve heard from folk that attend this Calvary, it’s more than just a church with a box. Their focus is on reaching people. All they keep telling me is were reaching up, in and out. With a bit of clarity i think there’s something brewing there. I might just show up with Mark.

  • richard Hanner
    April 1, 2009

    Motive is everything and since the impetus simply seems to be to motivate the congregants to use this as a invitational “ice breaker” with friends,family who are unchurched or deChurched,give ‘ole Ben a break! The N.T. documents attractional models that brought people together for a meal so that everyone could be introduced to Jesus!
    Preach Christ and him Crucified Ben!

  • John Fiorello
    April 1, 2009

    I don’t think I would go to this church, but not because of the stunt…because of the people that wrote here that go to this church.

  • Chris Chatterton
    April 1, 2009

    I want to apologize for my harshness in my last comment as I somehow missed your second post until I saw your third one. That being said should you decided to visit Calvary Church let me know maybe we can sit down for a cup of Coffee.

  • Fellow Believer
    April 2, 2009

    Hey John F.,
    Any church would stand up for their Pastor and their church when people like all of us comment negatively against them. I’m not holding it against them for standing up and back their Pastor up. We should all be in this together not bashing Calvary for something like this.
    Plus, you never know, these could be baby Christians learning their ways, we all once were.
    I wouldn’t want to be a Christian because people are bashing their own people. Understand that before you talk negative towards the Calvary Church members.
    Thanks John Fiorello.

  • Tyler
    April 2, 2009

    Didn’t christ say to compel them? If people are so wishy washy that they’re gunna skip from church to church to see “stunts” then they have completely missed it and maybe by attending a church where the gospel is presented in a relevant way they’ll finally stick and grow closer to god…

  • Brandi
    April 2, 2009

    I must say, there alot of people who are judging and who do not agree with what the church is doing. It IS all about Jesus, and what’s the best way to get the unchurched to hear about Jesus? Get them to church! And if that means putting a pastor in a box for a few days, we should all be thankful that more people are coming to church to hear the Word of God on Easter and the week after.

  • Kat
    April 3, 2009

    Does the box have holes?

  • Erik
    April 4, 2009

    I seriously doubt that Pastors who are faithfully feeding their sheep week in and week out could care less about being ‘exposed in a clear box’.
    These stunts and gimmicks that attempt to bring the unconverted into church only seem to make the church more irrelevant and laughable to the world.
    Just take a sneak peek over at the “Friendly Atheists” website and read some of these unconverted comments about Ben’s stunt and REMEMBER…these are the people Ben and Calvary church are trying to get into the church!
    Pastor Ben, seriously, just preach the Word brother, let the Spirit of God draw the unconverted (John 6:44)and stay away from the hype.

  • Michael Buckingham
    April 5, 2009

    In order to be truly great we all need to be able to take some criticism. This isn’t a personal attack on a person or a church…Josh simply disagreed with the method for this particular campaign.
    Let us all never forget that marketing campaigns, design, creativity, etc. are never more important than people. Let’s continue to challenge one another, have conversations…but to attack someone, with names and seemingly hate because they don’t like your latest marketing campaign? Careful.
    I think this comment brings up the biggest question for me:
    “I think this is one of those things that can really only be understood when your involved weekly with a church like Calvary”
    Church can’t be all about the pastor or the people that currently attend. While I get, and even applaud, the church’s desire to motivate those attending to get out there and reach others we must also keep those others in mind. What do they think about this? Will they see it as just another stunt? Will it point them to Christ?
    Too often one of the main ingredients for church marketing that sucks is that we only see it from our perspective, it’s difficult to see the other side…but vitally important that we do.

  • P Thompson
    April 6, 2009

    What I keep hearing in the majority of these comments is that the end (reaching more people for Christ) justifies the means (pastor in a box).
    Really? I mean, really?
    Is that what we believe?
    Shouldn’t our means be thoroughly consistent with our end/goal?
    Are we truly making disciples by means of stunts and gimmicks? Or in the end, will we discover that we are making something else entirely?
    I think Jesus’ wilderness encounter with the Devil speaks to this issue. The Devil proposed stunts and gimmicks. Jesus’ commitment to the Father’s end prevented him from compromise.

  • Erik
    April 8, 2009

    I would like to retract my statements from this comment section, but alas I cannot. So therefore, I want to leave a link to my public apology for Pastor Ben Dailey:
    I regret airing my disagreements publicly the way I did on my blog.

  • Bob Adams
    April 9, 2009

    It boggles me why people put money into advertising their Easter services and the like. I have found people are going to go where they want to go or where they have been going year after year.

  • RM
    April 9, 2009

    Can’t we have a little fun & generate a little excitement at church? Or must we all be somber, wear sack-cloth, & have no joy? I understand where people get bent out of shape when there is all fluff but no substance, but at Calvary church… no worries! As a 38 year member who has seen countless lives change & transformed… including my own … Christians should spend energies exposing the darkness elsewhere… and non-believers should come & see for yourselves what’s going on. At Calvary there is worship, ministry, discipleship, Bible study, etc., etc., and wrap that all up in wonderful fellowship & fun. Make no mistake… the Pastors at Calvary put the Truth of the Gospel first & foremost… that is taken seriously to the upmost… but can we lighten up a bit on over-spiritualizing every aspect of a ministry that falls outside of current status quo? It’s great fun to anticipate what will happen with Pastor Ben & the Box… and that is just the extra bonus to the true ministry that really goes on in the heart of Calvary Church… Jesus is the true center…please come see for yourself!

  • roger
    April 13, 2009


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