Stealing Eminem’s Bag of Tricks, Or How To Increase Your Church’s Web Traffic

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.”

This entry was posted in Christians Are Redeemed Yet So Very, Very Fallen, Wayward North American Church. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Stealing Eminem’s Bag of Tricks, Or How To Increase Your Church’s Web Traffic

  1. bethegospel says:

    Speaking of …(ahhem) “awesome” billboards. Have you seen the Jesus meet Terminator one?

    Its pretty epic if I do say so myself!

  2. Angela says:

    So I was a public relations major in college at York College where I met the author. In our Intro to PR book, one of the earliest examples of public relations was John the Baptist…and I think that’s the only kind that we should doing.

  3. David says:

    The real trick in spreading the Gospel is to know God, hear his voice and do it. Most Christians I talk to hear God’s voice about the same time they hit the lottery, have a healthy child, get a new car or get a promotion.

    Christians spend so much time on the culture war, politicking, opinion-ating and opining, that they are getting little done that is truly God. People who have received religion in place of Jesus often rebel. People who receive Jesus usually are undone to the point that they can’t stop praising His name and they tell anyone that will listen.

    In 1993 I got my eyes healed at a healing conference – Heavenly Lasik! You better believe I told people and I still am!

    Yesterday my friend Rich and I prayed for a woman that, when the service started, could not raise right her arm above her head. She’d been having physical therapy for it. After a few minutes of prayer she had it in the air with a full range of motion!

    I sort of like the advertising that God does where the word is demonstrated in power.

    Maybe we should just get drunk in the Sprit like the apostles did (Acts 2) and get rolling in the streets while speaking in tongues! Now that’s a good God – get everyone loaded and use it to bring 3,000 to salvation. That’s PR! I wonder what MPT would think of that?

    Or we could get some dirt and spit in it and heal blind eyes!

    BTW – I really like the Cedar Creek billboard. 😉 I wish I had thought of that.

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