A Consumer Church Rant

kinnon —  June 26, 2008 — Leave a comment

I’m convinced I read a particular blog on a regular basis because my blood pressure trends low and it raises it for me. This line from a guest blogger created that reaction.

In what direction should your ministry’s marketing face? Inspiration or Invitation?

Moments later, this comment from a fellow named Ken floated into my inbox – from comments I’d subscribed to on an earlier REVEAL Survey post by David Fitch. (Out of Ur’s REVEAL mea culpa is rather revealing* and a little forced, today. Apparently, Out of Ur is “a blog for pastors engaging today’s culture” so maybe I shouldn’t be commenting.) Ken writes,

Do you all remember the thing about the “bread of life” – well, if the church/Church does not exist to get the “Bread of life” to the consumer – what do you really want it to do?

In my first Missional Synchroblog post (the one that was a week early), I made this statement,

We are so enmeshed in this consumer culture that we can no longer see it. Like fish, it is the water in which we swim. So the word “missional” just becomes one more marketing tool in our attractional toolbox to get people to the show. The consumer culture is so pervasive that I’m not sure many of us are even able to extricate ourselves from this world view. [emphasis added]

NoChurchMarketing.jpgMy response to church marketing can be found in the left sidebar. Fundamentally I believe church marketing is ridiculous and further proof of the consumer culture in which we swim unknowingly. Asking what direction your ministry’s marketing should face is an exercise in missing the point. We don’t “market the church”, we are the church. (You might find my Family Marketing Sucks™ post from two years ago interesting. Or not.)

Ken’s comment further illustrates our unthinking acceptance of this consumer culture. Yes, Jesus invites us to consume the “bread of life” – but we are not distributors of said bread, marketing it to the culture around us. The very Bread of Life is alive and well and moving into the neighborhood.

We are to recognize the Missio Dei and follow our Missional God into those villages, towns and urban centres. And that following has nothing to do with marketing Christendom-branded goods and services to the folk therein. No matter how spiritual those goods and services might sound.

UPDATE: *Read Jonathan Brink’s comment at Out of Ur on their REVEAL mea culpa. It’s the fourth comment from the top.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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