Thus Spake the Head of MarketingBlog / Produced by The High Calling
A quick survey of local church signs reveals the usual: “People Who Care” “Where God’s People Gather” “A Light that Shines for God”
Ever wonder if the lives of people who are these churches bear any resemblance to their roadway signs? Because, let’s be honest; church committees meeting to design signs aren’t soul-searching—they’re marketing.
Just as virtually everything we consume is marketed, the church has become a consumable. Commercials and billboards can lie, we know, and so can church signs. At issue is not quality or truth, but the bottom line: how many people join our church this year and how much money they put in the offering plate.
Of course people most attracted to slogans and signs often are the same people enamored of sound-bite theology, doctrines of catchphrases, and poorly defined labels. Lure these people into church and you better deliver what they want or they will take their business elsewhere.
On Sunday mornings, we pay homage to a liturgy of orthodoxy mouthed by people nodding in the pews, their senses dulled and their minds saturated with marketing messages.
“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, blah blah blah.”
For many churchgoers, Sunday words are no more than ad copy to comfort and assure ourselves that we belong to the demographic column of people who identify with Christianity.
Maybe when this life is over we will say to God: “Lord, remember me now as I enter into your Kingdom, for I was a member in good standing of a church that said some very nice things about you.”
Old Testament prophets lost their lives railing against such religion. Now their messages—as painful and relevant as ever—lie safely tucked behind the Song of Songs in a Bible section of odd lists and unread names: Micah, Amos, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, to name a few. Yet the Lord hates our unlived orthodoxy just as He hated their rote sacrifices. Ten thousand gallons of oil did not appease the Lord then. What can ten thousand words do for us now?
An over-marketed, cynical, and wary culture is deaf to hollow words. If the living Word of God takes root in our culture, it will be because He first took root in our lives and especially in our daily lives. The Church of Jesus Christ is not made up of those who cry out, “Lord, Lord,” but of disciples filled with the Holy Spirit, standing ready to bring God’s presence and love to a needy world.
The only liturgy that counts is your life—your life and your willingness to take up the high calling of Christ.
Our Father in heaven, set your people on a mountaintop and let the light of Your Spirit shine in our lives. Let our hearts be both humbled and unafraid. May the promise of grace give us courage even as our obedience gives us power. May the living Word of God cut a swathe through our culture and make a straight way into our hearts. Amen.