Summary: Christ's presence in the house of one of his friends reveals the impact He has on the culture, from the inside out
I think that it is safe to say that while the church is a spiritual entity it is also a business. There are two sides to the church. There is the organism, that is the spiritual reality of the church. Then there is the organization, which is the infrastructure of the church. Anything that is a business will tell you that one of the things that you must have in order for business to flourish and be successful, is that you must have a good business plan. Apart and parcel of that business plan has to be a good marketing strategy. Because, if you don’t market your product, it doesn’t say much about what you think about your product. You must have a marketing strategy so that you know who it is that you want to target, who it is you want to draw, who it is that you think is drawn to you. In many circles, now, when you read books about marketing in this new day, they call it ‘having your brand’. What is your brand? What do you stand for? What do you specialize in? What is unique about your business that will make people come to you and not other people. Even Burger King, though it isn’t true, is you can ‘have it your way’. Everybody has a brand. The church should have a brand. There is something different about every church. Not every church looks the same. Not every church has the same corporate makeup. Not every church has the same gifts. Not every church has the same kind of uniqueness. Not every church has the same kind of angle. Not every church is after reaching a certain kind of people. Every church, as a business, ought to have a brand, your hook, that which draws people to you.
But one of the dangers in this new day of church competition, is that sometimes you can get so caught up in competing, that you substitute MARKETING FOR MINISTRY. You can spend so much time in competition, that now you spend all of your time marketing your church, and not ministering to the masses. It can now, because of entertainment and the challenge of competition, now we set up church to be an entertainment center and venue, where people are entertained and no longer enlightened; where people are touched but no longer transformed. Where people are excited but there is insight or equipping. So that we develop a group of people in the church who know how to sing and know how to shout, run, dance, hoop and holler, but they are miserable in managing life. Because now we don’t teach people how to manage life in the church; we teach people how to feel good in that moment in the church. But the problem with feeling good in the moment…is just like a Jacuzzi. You get in a Jacuzzi because your muscles are tight. And while you are in the Jacuzzi, you get the feel and sensation that the tightness of your muscles has gone away. The problem is that when you get out of the Jacuzzi and the cold wind hits your body, you quickly discover that the looseness you felt in the Jacuzzi, has returned to tightness outside the Jacuzzi, because you weren’t doing anything outside the Jacuzzi to help your muscles feel better.
Casual church and Christendom can be a lot like a Jacuzzi.
- We teach people how to shout
- We run and dance
- We clap
- We sing
- We say hallelujah
And you feel like all of your problems have gone away. But when you extract yourself from your seat and exit the sanctuary and the winds of life begin to hit, if you’re not doing anything outside the church, then the problem you thought was gone when you shouted comes right back to you. Because, at the end of the day, what grows you is not how you shout; but what grows you is how you do outside the church with a prayer life, reading the word of God, how you treat your neighbor, with the development of your character and the strengthening of your integrity. And too many churches today are now marketing entertainment instead of managing the lives of other people.
We have not what is called the seeker-friendly church, where we develop our church to be friendly for folk who are seeking a church.
But I never read anywhere in the Bible where the church is called to solely be a social club, where you come and socialize with your friend…like you’re eating popcorn at the movies with your row dog, like you’re at a movie, rating and critiquing everything from the praise team, choir, preacher and the deacon like you are Leonard Maltin or Roger Ebert.