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October 26, 2004



hmmmm... I like gritty and edgey things, and normally I'd be right here with you... I like the first few lines (especially about "our church sucks" ... mine is definitely sucky right now) the only thing that makes me uncomfortable about it is the line inviting people to "be confused with us"... yes, there is a lot about "church" that is very ambiguous and not very pleasing... But the scripture that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 12, 14?) comes to mind... I would prefer another tag line -- one that shows that while religious institutions "suck" there is hope because God wants to be found! God wants to be seen! We just seem to look at things that aren't God and build our religiosity around those things instead of pursuing the actual God-Being... we don't understand that its about relationship... I just get concerned that this might re-inforce the negative connotations (and often accurate) that people have of church but in the process further alienate them from the Lord... while "church" can't offer much, God can and does.... am I being too picky? Wow. It certainly does open up the conversation!


We have gone through some not so good church experiences, but I still know that it is supposed to be a part of our life. I think I have to agree with Pauline on this one - as much as I love the quirkiness of it, it may be too much - even for me.


I've worn that shirt on campus at seminary 3 times - makes people stop, think & talk


Was that YOU Bob? Sheesh. Sorry for the failing of my grey matter!

See this is why I like the "confused" part. Because it's honest. We *are* confused. Why is it that Paul says it's a shame for man to wear long hair and yet it was holy for Samson to never put a razor to his head? Why is it that the bible promises us victory, and I have to talk myself out of bed every single day? Why is it that Christians have Jesus, and yet, statistically speaking, according to George Barna anyway, we are no different from society at large? (Same divorce rate, infidelity rate, etc. etc.) That's really, really confusing to me.

See the Bible may have all the answers, somewhere tucked up inside those wonderful pages. But we are dust, fallible creatures who really don't have all the answers because if we did, our lives would show it, wouldn't it? Or maybe we DO have all the answers and still can't live by them, and well, for me anyway, that's REALLY confusing!

And that's where hypocrisy creeps in. I had an interesting conversation at Starbuck's Sunday evening with a 14-year-old self-proclaimed witch, a very cordial, shake-your-hand-my-name's-richare-nice-to-meet-you young man. We got into a faith discussion. I swear these discussions just open up around me like crazy. I never have to bring up faith, it's erupting everywhere which is so unbelievably cool! So anyway, Richard used to be a Christian (honestly, he's a really confused adolescent who's probably not really Wicca but likes the idea of an identity that's different from most of society). And one of his comments as he railed on Christians and I sat calmly sipping my pumpkin spice latte was, "They always tell everyone what to do, but they don't do it themselves." This poor guy had so much anger inside of him I just nodded and agreed with most of what he had to say, because it's true. Most people who don't have a regular faith practice say the same things Richard was saying.

So here's the thing. I'm not going to come down on Christians or the Church here because I *do* love the Church. I wouldn't be so agreeable to moving my family away from home so we can steep ourselves more deeply into the faith. But the Church is broken, our marketing has been horrible because the product (which is not Jesus, dear friends, but *us*)isn't what anybody wants anymore. We simply cannot allow ourselves to give ourselves the excuse anymore that, "Well, I'm not perfect, just forgiven." IOW, I can be a really lousy person, but hey, I'm a goin' to heaven when I die!" Jesus, the prophets and Paul and hey whatever verse you'd like to mention gave us all the marketing help we need:

- Love God, love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies.
- Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.
- Visit the widow and the fatherless in their afflictions.

I truly believe that followers of Christ can really live this out! God's promised us the strength. Imagine the revival/spiritual revolution that would take place if we all took Jesus seriously. It's possible to really be Christ to people, and that, to me, is good news.

Nancy Nordenson

Seeing that "invitation" on the shirt is the first hopeful thing I've seen in awhile. My church is currently imploding, with significant numbers of people bailing. I wouldn't be surprised if we have to close, or at the very least, find ourselves one month from now as only a small huddle wondering who would ever want to join up with us. That "invitation" may indeed be the reality.


Hi, Lisa. Thanks for commenting on ChurchMarketingSucks.com and furthering the conversation. Brad has posted about the shirt on our site, continuing the discussion (http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/archives/2004/11/lisa_sampson_ha.html).

But I just wanted to respond quickly to your reaction to marketing and the church. I'd point you to my post Is Marketing a Dirty Word? (http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/archives/2004/09/is_marketing_a.html) I certainly echo your queasy feeling when the church uses marketing wrongly. But marketing happens whether we do it poorly or do it well, so let's just get it right. Christians have been screwing it up for too long.


rick luoni

In Matthew 25 Jesus said, Church Marketing Sucks.

Okay, I am not serious, and I own an advertising agency. I obviously believe in the power of advertising, however, I just wonder if we (the church) really believe we have a product that is worth advertising.

We are inviting people to die. Not to live comfortably in the suburbs, but to die to self and all that stands in the way of the Reign of God.

Good advertsinig can sell a bad product once, but never twice. When they show up at our door will they buy what we are selling? Are we selling the Jesus message?

Thanks for the post, you really have me thinking about this. :)


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