In January, Fellowship White Rock will begin its hard launch and move from developing the core team into being more intentional about engaging the community. As Gabe and I and the rest of the team begin to make preparations for the shift in our church, I’ve been forced to wrestle with this idea of advertisement in the church? If you asked me a year ago what I thought about advertisement in the church, I would have probably went off on some rant about the commercialism cancer eating away at the organ’s of God’s precious church, found a Christian bumper sticker to flip off, and then storm away. But now that we are in the position to try and get the word out about our churches, I am realizing the need to think more deeply about this issue.
America runs on advertisement. And yes, there is a part of my soul that mourns this reality. The manipulation of man’s depraved tendency for stuff for the sake of profit seems like a system built on exploitation. However, that is just the cynical way of looking at it. Events don’t happen the way they do in the “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, you need to tell people that it’s there if you want anybody to show up.
When it comes to advertisement in the church, there seems to be two different extremes:
1. Go all out! Buy the billboards, the radio spots, hire the best web guy, social media guy, get the best gadgets and shout from rooftops about the presence of your church or ministry. Nevermind the money it costs, ignore who is really profiting from the money spent, and hope that through advertisement, the world comes to know Christ.
2. Run away! Hide yourself in your rooms. Pray. Fast. Hope that people will somehow find their way to your gathering through visions and that the world will just be convicted of sins without our witness in the public.
Obviously, the above are extremes. But it nevertheless does need to be thought through. I found this interesting blog about church marketing called Church Marketing Sucks if you’re interested in further discussion.
What do you think? Is there an appropriate element to advertising in church? If so, what is the too far?
I’m looking forward to hearing your input and hope that it can help our team through our decisions about the issue as well!