Monday, July 02, 2012
Loyalty Can Be A Problem
We’re in the businesses of branding. Branding is all about communication and clearly defining what makes a company, product or experience distinct and memorable from others. Companies who strive to serve customers faithfully ask in return for brand loyalty over their competitors. But can that ever cross over into something like brand idolatry?These are guys in the branding business asking about their own profession. But here is what I wonder - building a church i the day and age, certainly a megachurch, is all about branding. What happens when we, working apparently in God's name, get in the way of God? Does that not sound a lot like the religious authorities of Christ's time?
Social media has revolutionized the idea of brand loyalty, particularly through the use of Facebook. Our lives seem deeply invested in that brand. We’ve known some to take “Facebook Fasts” even. From a strategy perspective, if you’ve developed a brand so compelling that your consumers require intentional self-discipline to take time away from it, you’ve succeeded in a huge way.
Knowing that brands have the ability to become idols begs the question, “Who’s responsible?” Is it our job as individuals to study our own hearts and not idolize the products and services we identify with? Or is it a corporation’s responsibility to make sure that they aren’t promoting their brand to be idolized? How does a company push to provide a healthy amount of value without becoming an idol?
We tend to think that it’s a personal responsibility of individuals to clear their hearts of idols. Or are we just cigarette makers blaming people for smoking too much while trying to get them to buy as many cigarettes as possible?
Our job in the church is not to build loyalty - it is to build disciples. Disciples, by definition will eventually leave - they will feel a call and go. We should not want to hold fast to people - we are helping them mature to the point that they go away.
If you raise you children in such a fashion that they are so loyal to you they never leave the house - Have you succeeded?