Sorry to bring him up, we get hung up on his name and miss the point. But I’ll try anyway…
One thing I appreciate about Rob Bell is that he doesn’t do the hype thing. All of his books have come with virtually no self promotion – he’d do a press release and little more. Surely you’ve had to endure a near steady barrage of hype around a book propelled by the author and a legion of followers. But Rob has no blog on which to promote every week and no e-mail going out begging people to check out his latest thing. There’s been no machine cranking the gears of sales trying to get people interested. No campaigns.
Yet we are all aware of his books. And this is because he wrote something that people naturally had to talk about (and as they say any press is good press).
So my Lutheran reader won’t get much out of this post, but for the rest of you I think the church can learn from Rob and/or his PR team. Let our work stand on its own. Bell didn’t hype up his films, books or tours because he didn’t need to – they spread the old fashioned way. I know some churches I’ve been apart of had big hype machines churning behind everything they did, making epic videos and employing an army of chipper people to act as though this were bigger than Michael Jackson in the 80’s.
Is hype really covering up insecurity?
We live in an advertising culture. I get it, you can’t rely 100% on word-of-mouth – you do have to do some sort of advertising. But we are constantly being sold something, and so we one-up the competition through the age old game of hype. And often what we’re selling doesn’t match up to the packaging. If you haven’t learned that lesson yet with fast food hang overs then you’ve got high cholesterol, greasy fingers and the gullibility keeping those restaurants alive.
Maybe we should let what we’re selling (man I hate that language) sell itself. If it’s naturally captivating then we have to do less work anyway.
Have you been to a church that has a hype machine? Did the burger look like the commercial? What do you think of Rob Bell’s marketing?