Homeless Marriage, Church Marketing and Simplicity

May 21, 2009 by

Somewhere along the way down this road of the church in America, we picked up some buzzwords. Then, those buzzwords picked up some baggage. Things started one way, but they turned into a whole different monster. I’m thinking of two words in particular, and we’ll take a quick look at them.

Relevant became an excuse to borrow ideas wholesale and call them your own. And Extraordinary became an excuse to push the envelope and go one step further than anyone before.

We ended up with church copycats, church campuses that rival the Vatican and churches who focus more on their laser light show than the great commission.

The Swerve blog recently explored this same subject, and they’re looking for you to chime in on how to undo some of what has been done.

I think the example of one church is a great reminder of how to take those words–relevant and extraordinary–and live them to the fullest. We’ll take a look at their story as well as these two words, and we’ll take a look at the press that ensues.


Grace Episcopal Church recently got behind two regular church visitors and supported them financially as the two looked to join hands in marriage. The catch? Dante White and Nhiahni Chestnut were homeless and never dreamed they could afford a wedding.

Members of the church pitched in with various gifts and talents–a florist, a decorator, a baker, the pastor and more. They ended up with the wedding of their dreams and a two-night honeymoon.

They took something even more relevant than top 40 music and the latest design trends. They did something even more extraordinary than an edgy series on sex or a super-loud Sunday opener.

They still received national press coverage for their efforts and their story was a huge hit.

So what’s the moral of this story? There is more than one way to be relevant and extraordinary. If you’re struggling with keeping up-to-date with marketing and services, consider this your permission to pursue new methods of extraordinary relevance. Marketing can be simple and universal instead of complex and specialized, and it can work just as well.

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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5 Responses to “Homeless Marriage, Church Marketing and Simplicity”

  • Matt+
    May 21, 2009

    Grace Episcopal’s gesture was kind and generous, but even still, throwing a dream wedding for the unfortunate is not fulfilling the Great Commission. The gospel is more clearly seen in the long term followup they are doing:

    Grace Church parishioners are working on the next steps of building a future for the couple: looking for affordable housing, money to pay a security deposit and a few bits and pieces to allow them to set up house together.

    But that doesn’t create headlines in a consumer-driven culture which values fancy weddings but not the sacrament of marriage.


  • Michael Buckingham
    May 21, 2009

    But Matt, when Christ was asked what are the most important things we should be focused on he didn’t talk about converting, winning, etc. he said love God, love people.
    We as men like to concur, we like to fix…so conversion fits that very well. We’re not generally nurturing, emotional people so love doesn’t come as naturally. I think we see this played out in church as our focus is “winning” the lost and not as much focus on loving our neighbor.
    For me, this wedding was loving people and I have full confidence that those people will know it is Christ’s love coming through and in the end that will “win” them to Christ.


  • anthony
    May 21, 2009

    good topic because at the end of the day, we cant rip open someone chest and listen to the truth of that persons heart. I have been around church enough to watch pastors criticize, compete and ultimately lose sight of “the goal”… make disciples, build the church, act like an ambassador….
    http://ihatechurch.com
    to the pastor out there looking for cutting edge ideas…. BE YOU BRO… no one else on the planet has your DNA, so infuse your talents dont :: pretend ::


  • Josh
    May 21, 2009

    While it’s nice and gets peoples attention, will something like that be really lasting though?


  • Shawn Bumpers
    May 25, 2009

    Love this. It would seem that in our striving to be relevant we often forget those we need to be relevant to. This is a great example of love in action.



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