We have all seen or heard them, the clever marketing tools of today’s church.
The smooth announcer on the radio telling a story with a moral and then declaring that their church is the place to be.
The television commercial showing hip, young people being cool and praising the Lord to hip music and of course the message is that this church is “the” place to be.
The billboard on the highway advertising the upcoming cool, even “controversial” new sermon series by the young pastor. The best of course are the ones that mention sex and of course the message is that this church is different and is the place to be.
These are just a few, and with apologies to anyone who might be involved in church marketing, they make me sick. (OK sick might be a little harsh but I do not like them). Does the church really need the guy with the silky smooth voice on the radio telling them about the Sunday service? Does the church really need the cool angles and quick cuts of a TV commercial to make them seem hip and relevant to today’s culture? Does the church really need to titillate and cause a stir with a billboard that announces to the world that Christians have sex? (of course as Christians it should be within the confines of marriage, but that’s a discussion for another time).
If a church has to market what they are doing, then the church is doing a poor job.
The best marketing a church has is when its people are living their lives as God intended. If that happens money won’t need to be wasted on TV time or radio spots and instead can be spent on ministries that reach out and touch people in need.
Thinking about it deeper, sure a TV ad might add more people to the rolls next Sunday, but the people who show up will not stick around if the church is not living outloud for God. If a church wants to draw and keep people in their church the church’s focus should not be on drawing and keeping people. The church will grow when the church devotes itself wholeheartedly to the things of God.
The Bible says that when God is lifted up that He will draw men to Him. Sure it’s a paraphrase but it is God who does the drawing. In Acts chapter 2 the disciples devoted themselves to God. They prayed, studied the Word, hung out together and ate together and the Bible says that because they did that their numbers increased….they were blessed, not because of some clever marketing scheme or semi-controversial-look-at-me-I-am-hip sermon series, but because they were concerned about the things of God.
If you notice nowhere does it say anything about cool commercials, billboards, radio ads, etc as being the reasons that people came to church? Men are drawn to God, are drawn to church when God is the number one concern of the church. God tells us to love Him…and to love others as we love ourselves. He doesn’t mention commercials. When we love God, truly love Him and try our best to do what He says, if we love the widows and orphans, if we visit the prisoners, if we take care of each, if we think of others before we think about ourselves, if we lift up God’s name, then people will (super)naturally be drawn to us.