Marketing and the Great Commission
A year ago, the Rev. Scott Schlotfelt was weighing job offers from three churches smitten by what he had to offer.I have noticed this article "Churches seeking marketing-savvy breed of pastor" that is published in the Christian Science Monitor today. Frankly speaking, this sort of news does not surprise me anymore. Given the popularity of megachurches and the humanistic seeker-sensitive philosophy that is prevalent in many churches, it is no wonder that many churches does not trust in the sovereign will of God, but depend on men's efforts to convert the lost.
But they weren't talking about his preaching or counseling skills. What they were seeking, like a number of churches across the United States, was some savvy marketing. And like a growing number of pastors, consultants, and volunteers, Mr. Schlotfelt was eager to do some branding for the Lord.- Christian Science Monitor
Others, however, see marketing as a necessary part of Christ Jesus' great commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19, New Revised Standard Version).Marketing can be defined as "the process or act of bringing together buyers and sellers." People who studied marketing would know the term marketing mix, which consists of the four Ps: product, pricing, promotion, and placement. The marketing mix must reflect the wants and desires of the consumers in the target market.
"Marketing and the church, they go hand in hand [because] we're called to bring our message to a community," says Kristal Dove, operations manager at Church Marketing Solutions. But she says not all church leaders should be involved.- Christian Science Monitor
Is this what the Great Commission is all about? To cater to the wants and desires of the lost? The Bible explicitly tells us that "no one who seeks God." (Romans 3:11) Did the Apostle Paul market the one version of the gospel to the Thessalonians and another version of the gospel to the Bereans?
Nearly every pastor is a salesman or a marketer of one kind or another because ... we have a philosophy to sell," he says. "The best marketers and best salesmen will have more converts, will have more people, will take in more money.... Evangelicals are marketers because they're really passionate about their product."I would not be surprised if churches who embraced this marketing approach experience large growth in numbers. It is already evident from the megachurches that we find all around us. But does this mean that it is God's will for His Church to grow in this manner? How do we know what is God's will then? It is from reading His Word and "correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) For it is written: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)- Christian Science Monitor
The root problem of this marketing approach is that it falsely places the responsibility for conversion into the hands of men instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. It reduces the God-driven evangelism of the gospel into a man-driven cheap sales gimmick. Do people believe because of good marketing techniques or because of the work of the Holy Spirit in regenerating hardened hearts? Thus, marketing takes the glory of salvation away from God.
Let me end this article with the following words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
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