I very well could be the most legalistic person I know. And you don’t know just how annoying that is.
The prevailing theory these days is “well, Americans see approximately three thousands advertisements a day between the internet, billboards and television, so why can’t a few be church advertisements? It’ll take a few half naked women off the TV screen.”
The recent trend of churches renting out billboards in order to write shocking things that will grab drivers attention (hopefully not too much of course, always the danger in billboard marketing that an ad will cause such a stir that the driver has negative memory of it because of the accident it caused) is an interesting one. Using the two hand system – one hand applauds (itself?!) churches trying unconventional means and taking risks; while its alleged partner is greatly troubled by churches feeling the need to market and brand.
As Matthew Paul Turner notes, Jesus does in fact need some new public relations as the fundamentalists, most notably but certainly not single-handedly, have wrecked all of Jesus’ street cred. However I do not like churches succumbing to gimmicks and games as a ploy to put butts in pews. I do not like it because the gospel is best spread via love, not marketing schemes.
You could argue against me, because the churches who paid for the billboards I show here all report huge spikes in their website views. Gimmick successful. Who really knows what person does end up checking out a church after being won over by a billboard not declaring like the usual that they should repent or die in King James wording and font.
But nonetheless, I truly believe our marketing is much slower and subtler – evidenced through our love. I’m uncomfortable with gimmicks and schemes, and Jesus didn’t seem to mind having a relatively small area he “marketed” to, as he trusted love would spread more powerfully than catchy slogans or shocking messages.
The post isn’t over. I’ve made my point that we spread our message much more organically than viral marketing, however my condemning of church billboards is, well, legalistic. I’m simply black listing yet another thing fellow religious people do in their fledgling attempts at trying to be followers of Jesus.
To be sure, there is no shortage of other things that annoy me and earn my judgment and condemnation.
And the only thing that is really separating me from the fundamentalists is that upon realizing I was being just like them I nearly ended my post with a simple “dammit.”