We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Problem of Marketing Megachurches

In architecture and style…the megachurches are a gigantic mutation in the churches’ age-old “edifice complex.”  They are natural counterparts of megamalls, super-super-markets, and multiplex cinemas, and resemble a cross between shopping malls and theme parks—modernity’s ultimate in people-moving selling-machines.  The result is “spiritual emporiums” or the “malling of religion”—grand cathedrals of consumption, one-stop church complexes premised on controlled environments with multiple-option boutiques catering to diverse needs.  Through cars, their “local church” catchment area becomes citywide; through television, worldwide.  Or in its public appeal, niche-marketed church growth threatens to reduce the gospel to the level of what Phillip Rieff calls the “rubber nipple therapies” on the great “anxiety market.”

But for Christians the most important impact of marketing is always on the message itself.  One church-growth marketer claims that the difference between “growth” and “evangelism” and “marketing” is only semantics.  He is absolutely wrong.  As historian David Potter pointed out in his penetrating analysis of advertising: once marketing becomes dominant, the concern is not with “finding an audience to hear their message but rather with finding a message to hold their audience.”  After all, when the audience and not the message is sovereign, the good news of Jesus Christ is no longer the end, but just the means.

Os Guinness, Dining With the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts with Modernity, pg.77-78

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is only a fraction of the problem with mega churches. In churches that large, the pastor and elders simply cannot get to know the sheep... there are just too many people. So if you think about, a mega church really is not a local assembly. It's a group of Christians (and often unbelievers, since the leadership is often "marketing" to appeal to the world) gathering for a weekly conference.

Our Lord has no problem with small assemblies, where the pastor and elders have the time, energy, and resources to truly know and care for the congregation.

It's only sinful man that wants "bigger" to mean better.