Monday, September 17, 2012
Joining Christ or Joining The Crowd?
While I responded politely to my friend, I was curious. Why was this the first and really only thing they had to say about their church? Is its sheer size really its only admirable feature? Surely not.There is a difference between building a following and building a church. There is nothing necessarily wrong with borrowing techniques from marketing to help build the church - to a point.
My friends fell victim to the logic that is so pervasive in our American consumer culture. We live in a culture where numbers impress. We validate our choices based on what others are doing. We want to buy cars that are popular and clothes that are fashionable and live in up-and-coming neighborhoods and visit the trendiest stores and restaurants. And even when it comes to religious expression, we just go with the crowd.
In advertising, it’s called the “bandwagon” approach. 12,000 people can’t be wrong!
Of course, while advertising has one name for this logic, your mother had a different spin on it. Didn’t she ask you if all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you do it to?
Of course we told her that we wouldn’t.
I doubt it. The trendiest, flashiest, most beautiful and popular church was the obvious choice. It didn’t even require prayer.
Much of marketing is about selling things with little value. People sit in line for the latest iPad - it does not do anything that the last model did, it just looks prettier doing it. That does not represent a huge increase in value. Marketing sells something like that - it moves a product that would not otherwise move.
But Christianity is of the highest value! It should sell itself.
So why must we resort to marketing to produce results? Maybe becasue the product we are trying to sell is the cheap counterfeit.
Might want to think about that as you discuss the next move for your church.