Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jesus, Inc.

I never read the magazine Christianity Today, but I did today.  The January 2009 issue with an article by Tyler Wigg-Steveson entitled: "Jesus Is Not a Brand: Why it is dangerous to make evangelism another form of marketing."  Yes, I too found it interesting.  

I have to be transparent here (note: I now avoid saying "I have to be honest" - the implications stink.  Semantics?  Maybe.), I didn't care for his writing style.  He was a snooze.  However, the subject so intrigued me that I had to read on.  

From what I gather his conclusion is as follows: Mere marketing without community does a disservice to the "C"hurch - that is, the worldwide body of followers of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, when the local church does market to the public, the public perceives Jesus Christ as a commodity to be consumed.  It's simply our culture.  The quest is to discover how to market without overtly "selling" the concept of faith in Jesus Christ.  

The excerpt below capsulized things for me.

"The problem with implicitly salesy evangelism is bad theology, not bad technique, and it requires more than a simple change in method. If you feel like a used-car salesman talking about Jesus, the solution to the perceived lack of authenticity isn't a smoother pitch—it's a renewal of the church. The potency of personal evangelism is, as it has always been, the simple and earnest retelling of what God has done in the lives of his people. Of course, this requires a community to back up our claims."

Life in Christ produces an overflowing heart and a mouth that tells the good news in love with sensitivity to timing.  By all means, focus the efforts of your gathering on some place and some persons.  But if I may simplify: No marketing savvy will ever approach the effectiveness of simply being the church everyday in our traffic patterns of life.

What do you think?