This is the time of the year you order something from the television for a gift for Christmas.  (Well, I suppose you should have placed your order several weeks ago.  They don’t know how many to make until people order them.)  So you get the item, wait for the person to open it, and then realize that you didn’t get what you expected.  Yes, it was just exactly like they said it would be, but it looks and feels so much cheaper.  You spent a small fortune to get a piece of junk. 

What happened?  Marketing.  Good marketing.  The ability to sell a product regardless of the product’s quality or reliability.  Selling is marketing.  Production and quality control are something else.

Dilbert’s boss, in the famous comic strip, says, “We can’t compete on price.  We also can’t compete on quality, features or service.  That leaves fraud, which I’d like you to call marketing.” (Copyright Scott Adams, Inc.)

The church and marketing should be two very separate things, right?  Right?  Too late.  The church discovered marketing long ago.

The question we have been looking at is why the formula works . . . sometimes.  Why does it work for them and not for us?  We do the same things in the same way, maybe with more faith and fervor, but it doesn’t work.  Why did they say it worked?

Well, the old saying is, “Follow the money!”  Sometimes a teacher is building a ministry or a church is building a congregation.  It works for them because they need it to work for them so they can sell it to you.  Just like the infomercial, by the time you figure out that the formula is bogus, it’s too late.  They already have your money, your time, your attendance, your warm body.

Some of us have developed an aversion to any product or teaching that proclaims itself to be “God’s way.”  Buy the book, or the tapes, or the CD’s.  Go to the conference, the training, the seminar.  Then you can learn the amazing formula God blesses.  But even when they use God’s name (in vain, I might add) the formula is still a hoax or a poor quality gimmick.  Sing to the trees to make them grow.  Make your baby stay on the blanket.  Dress a certain way.  Talk a certain way.  Go to a certain church.  It’s “God’s way.”

In a world like ours, a certain amount of marketing seems to be necessary.  There are so many voices clamoring for our attention.  We all want to stand out somehow.  But deception and trickery is not part of our message or our life.

You see, the message of the Christian faith has nothing to do with formulas.  Our message is about a Person.  The One who is true and pure and strong and good.  The One who loves all people and calls to all to share in His love.  We preach Christ.  There is no formula.  There is a Person.

If the Person is not enough for you, then the formula would certainly never work.


Filed under Church, grace, Relationship

4 responses to “Marketing

  1. prodigalkatherine

    incredible post. You just nailed the biggest problem with contemporary evangelical Christianity as it is expressed within American culture.

    • UnForsaken

      Amen, Prodigalkatherine !
      Dave, I loved how you inserted the comment on God’s name . I’ve heard people swearing With scripture; they intended to warp it and abuse it’s meaning. That is far more offensive to me then hearing a strong word called swearing that is not God’s name or meant to mock Him. People who claim to be seeking holiness , but using good things and people to massage others into Their way of thinking , have no idea what true holiness is. Consequently, they focus on evil and make good things they touch dirty, while still claiming they can make You clean! The simplicity and creativity of freedom in Christ is like a huge burden – Gone. Almost too good to be true, bit it is!!!

  2. Recovering

    The “formula worked” people rarely if ever talk about Jesus. Because to follow Jesus, our sanctification and life process is fairly messy. Eventually the formula people, like one very prominent male in the Patriarchy movement recently just brought himself and the whole ministry down with immorality. Now his followers are disillusioned…probably because they looked to him and not Jesus.

    • UnForsaken

      Recovering, I hadn’t heard about that group in a long time, but as soon as I read it , I Knew exactly who you were talking about… just always seems to happen. Wonders have stopped suprising me, especially when it comes to the movements that used to interest me. I think being an unimportant person on the outside makes it possible to see more of the flaws, but I had to go through a lot of life experiences to see Better. Time truly is a teacher.
      ” Formula worked” people don’t talk a lot about Just Jesus, bit I’ve found more recently that most churches today have a different focus. It’s hard, but it really is up to us as individual believers to keep on focusing back on Him . I spent too much time expecting Fundis/ organizational systems to do it for me. You are right on. I had to be disillusioned with people befor I could once again seek Him first.

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