Who Is Your Competition?

April 29, 2010 by

Don't Like Church?At some point in the life of almost anyone attending or running churches, a strange thing happens. We become confused. We forget the unique business that we’re in, and we decide we’re no different from the pizza joint down the street.

And what do we do? We compete. It’s happened many times before with the church sucks campaigns. This view is so common there’s even a new speaking tour that bills itself as “pro-church.”

The latest example is Don’t Like Church. A church in Detroit recently started a head-scratching campaign. Particularly curious is the juxtaposition of the giant “Don’t Like Church?” and “Click here to visit Our Church!” banners. The focus of the site is a video contest:

The “Don’t Like Church” contest is a video contest to create the best video that illustrates why people don’t like church.

Essentially, you submit a video that explains what you hate about church, and if your video is the “best,” then you could win $500.

They provide some tips, my favorite:

5. Express why you DON’T like church. If you DO like church, just illustrate why other people don’t.

Again with the pizza joint analogy: We feel we have to emphasize how much everyone else’s pizza sucks so people will try ours instead. But we’re not in the pizza business. We’re in the business of letting people know us by our love for one another.

Remember this next time you’re thinking of being ground-breaking and edgy with a campaign about hating church and church sucking: Churches are run by humans. You’ve been hurt, I’ve been hurt and your neighbor has been hurt. Making people feel like things will be different at your church and they won’t be hurt? There’s a simple phrase for that: false advertising.

It can be helpful to understand and acknowledge why people might not like church. But there’s a difference between learning from those lessons and beating each other with them. Let’s love one another, gracefully apologize for all the wounds we’ve caused and our brothers and sisters have caused, and move away from all the competition.

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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6 Responses to “Who Is Your Competition?”

  • Herb Halstead
    April 29, 2010

    I hear you – but during our exegesis of our target area, the unfortunate truth we discovered is that while most of the population considers themselves Christians, a minority actually goes to church. The reason fort he disparity? How about power-drunk and holier-than-thou Christians who body-slammed their emotions. They don’t go because they don’t like church – meaning the people who pummeled them. The only way to rescue them is to convince them that it doesn’t have to be that way – to get them to take another chance with community, but this time, going in with both eyes open, with a full understanding of our in-humanity that brings relational risk. The facts on the grounds are that churches do suck. Church people get caught up in “holy” prejudices and people get hurt and vow to worship in solitude, which eventually means most of them stop worshiping at all. What’s wrong with saying, “Hey, we get it. We aren’t perfect, but at least here you’ll know we are trying to be what Jesus wants us to be.”???

  • Brandon
    April 29, 2010

    I think it’s a fair reminder that we should extend grace to churches rather than solicit critiques. It’s just perplexing to find the reminder on “CHURCH MARKETING SUCKS”. Am I taking crazy pills?

  • Herb Halstead
    April 29, 2010

    I agree, I don’t think we should say “tell me why First Baptist of Germantown sucks,” but I think we should not be afraid to point out, in general, what we do stupidly. I have to admit, I get tired of the occasional blog post I see about how someone’s church marquee signage kills kittens. But, there has to be some way to keep one another accountable to the ideal that Christ offered. If we have Neo-Pharisees in our midst (and we do), they need to be corrected.

  • Danielle Hartland
    April 29, 2010

    awesome post. thanks for this.

  • Troy Hamby
    April 29, 2010

    It’s funny but when i went to their website, they look like every other “church” that meets on Sunday morning! We are also planting a church but have found that focusing on the positive aspects of serving Christ and what He is actually doing through His Body works much better than pointing out how everyone else sucks. Even better, we have decided to shut our mouths and just love people and that is turning out shockingly well!

  • Hans Kristensen
    May 6, 2010

    Hey Great Post, I am really over the church sucks bandwagon. How do we communicate to people who have been really hurt by church and think church sucks, we have a bunch of people who we are in relationship with and who hate church but will not give it another go.

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