A few minutes with me after the mail comes to my office will convince you of what I think of the majority of direct marketing directed at the church.
Before throwing most of it in the trash I read some of the one-liner zingers attempting to convince the church pastor or administrator to consider their product. After throwing (I do mean throwing) most of it in the trash I make way to my mini-fridge in my office for a bottled water, cold, refreshing, soothing.
Dear church marketing agents, publishing houses, mission agencies… etc,
Please stop treating this church the same way the pizza house treats me. I don’t mind it when the pizza house attracts me with high gloss photos of pizza. I get it, you are in a highly competitive arena with churches on limited budgets, but we are the bride of Christ, the church.
Today I just thought I would open up the discussion pipeline and hear what others think about what feels like a direct way to snag the attention of every distracted, discouraged pastor walking back to his office from the mail box desperate to be a pastor of a leading church.
(The pastor’s duty is not to be a ‘leading’ pastor of a ‘leading’ church, his duty is to obey the Lord.)
Here are a few that came out of the mail box this week. Some from unknown sources, some from familiar sources, all equally directed at the church (primarily the pastor) that their offer will solve all of his desires to be a ‘leading’ pastor of a ‘leading’ church. I’ll start with a positive one that I pulled back out of the trash can.
ANY TWO LARGE PIZZAS $20 (I think this one can be useful.)
“A church cannot develop an excellent evangelism strategy without planning far in advance.”
“WHAT ARE THE TOP EVANGELISTIC CHURCHES DOING THAT MINE IS NOT?
Specific things pastors do to lead on mission:
- They have a Vibrant Vision – Evangelistic pastors have an exciting vision they continually keep in front of the congregation. You’ll find it printed in all their documents, plastered on the walls, set in stone and talked about from the pulpit. It’s not something written in an obscure document no one sees.
- They have a Simple Strategy – You won’t find complexity in an evangelistic church but you will find strategy. They know how they are moving people from point A to point B. They know what they are doing to reach people for Christ and move them into a discipling relationship. And again … it is simple.
- They create a Contagious Culture – Honestly, in most of these churches, you can feel it when you walk through the door. There’s something different. They aren’t striving to “create a culture,” rather, they are striving to “be the culture”
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I don’t fault anyone for having a product, idea, experience, or desire to share what has been helpful in their circumstance. I get how effective direct marketing campaigns can be. There is a reason companies mail post cards, mailers, emails, with high gloss, flashy product. People are buying what they are offering. I really do get why it’s done in the consumer world. I’m just get a bit irritated when it comes to treating the church the same way.
Disclaimer: I don’t think the hard working employee doing the job they were hired to do is at fault in these organizations who market the church. I look primarily to the executive driven pastor, publishing house executives and research departments.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’ve been part of the problem in my early days of ministry under a spell as though I have to offer a ‘product’ that is an alternative to the world.
Pastor, minister, if I can encourage you at all in this matter I would like to. You and I have an important duty, we have been charged with the responsibility to put Christ, and Him crucified in front of all people and trust that God will draw all men to Himself. When we quit putting our trust in men and obey our charge and protect this trust we have been given from being littered with consumerism we can be content to press in, regardless.
Press in to Jesus, my dear friend, press in.