The Star Tribune recently offered a take on religious marketing, exploring whether or not religious groups are going overboard. The article has a token quote talking about consumerism and the “slippery slope of theological compromise,” but the bulk of the article is money quotes in support of marketing. There’s even a shout out to yours truly (though the bulk of our work is described as offering “tips on designing eye-catching web pages”).
But let’s get to those money quotes from folks smarter than us:
“People see it as too worldly or gimmicky for the church to be marketing itself. But most of the same people who say it is sacrilegious also expect their church to have a website, a listing in the phone book or an ad in the phone book. To me, this is marketing.” -John Mayer, executive director of City Vision, an organization that tracks religious demographics.
“They used to look at me as if I’d just said a four-letter word.” -Hayim Herring, former rabbi and now executive director of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal), on the response he used to get to suggesting synagogues use new technologies.
“If you’re not out there, there’s no chance of your message being heard.” -Herring
“It’s considered heresy in some circles. They consider consumerism shallow. … Whether they like it or not, religions are being forced to compete for members.” -Greg Smith, Pew researcher
“We live in a competitive religious marketplace. You have to be competitive if you are going to attract and keep members.” -John Smith, Pew researcher
“It used to be socially expected that people would go to church. That’s not true with the current generation. We have to find ways to reach them. We have to be willing to try new things.” -Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church
“We have to reach people through the culture we find ourselves in. If we want people to hear our message, we have to get them through the doors first.” -Scott Anderson, pastor at Eagle Brook Church