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Goodbye Jesus

How Churches Are Trying To Be Relevant


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I've noticed that a lot of churches in my area are taking modernizing approaches to doing church.


wedochurchdifferent.com implies that you won't be bored, and has pictures of smiling happy families of various ethnicities. They do service in Russian and English, which is interesting (I would have gone there a year or so ago prior to deconverting if it had been available). Other churches are sending out slick adverts implying that they are just having a great time and how God adds so much. Another church has a banner hung up outside "Let's talk about SEX" Whooo boy! All about how God will make your sex life ...proper.


I remember a brief TV advert from a local pastor talking about "the great glorious gospel of the kingdom of our God and Savior Jesus Christ". Even when I was a believer, ads like this seemed to come from a different planet. He may as well have been a multi-tentacled alien squaking "Glorb foony gahowny waplando pffft!" It had the opposite effect from its intent, but to that man he was really reaching out to the lost.


I see a parallel between church culture and my being a computer geek. Technology is advancing so quickly these days that I barely know what Twitter is, and its been out for 3 years. I don't have and don't want a Facebook or MySpace page, though many have said I ought to. In the same way, church seems to be falling behind the regular culture and what people are gravitating towards. I think it is becoming increasingly irrelevant and the methods they are using are diametrically different than the methods used when our parents were growing up. I guess that isn't 100% true, since the preachers were a form of entertainment to some, and some like Aimee McPherson had a Hollywood appeal to them.


Anyway, what marketing methods do you see churches using in your area?

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Occasionally I get a slick brochure in the mail from the local Alliance Church. I don't read it, but it says something to the effect of "come visit your neighborhood church". Like we are all friendly automatically because we are close geographically. I would sooner gouge my eyes out than visit them.


Someone in this area of the country put up on a billboard one of those sex advertisements you are referring to. It made the paper but I didn't see it. Just a shameless attempt to pander to the modern culture to get paying people in the door.


I see these attempts to copy and fit in with the culture as symptomatic of the decline of Christianity.

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What cracks me up is church growth is a zero sum game. None of these guys are attracting new unwashed members. They are just steeling membership from other churches.


One church I went to declared it their mission to save the city in which it resided. As the church grew the pastor would froth at the mouth telling membership that we were indeed fulfilling the mission. I never met one new member that wasn't already a xian and that didn't come from another church in the valley. And this was a church that did street witnessing and door to door ministries.

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Guest Marty

I agree that all the ads on TV do nothing to attract unbelievers. In fact it makes them look even weirder and more out of touch than they would be viewed otherwise. Especially when their ads are sandwiched between a trailer for the new Star Trek movie and a erectile dysfunction drug. It shows it for exactly what it is; just another product to sell in an already saturated market.


As for the OP question, a few years back, in an attempt to get me to go to church again, my mother told me that my old church now has a "praise band" at the 11:00 service, and they need either a guitar or keyboard player. She suggested I join the band so I could keep playing music (I was in a dry spell at the time).


I laughed out loud pretty hard and reminded my mom that the very same church/school told me just a few years before that ALL rock and roll was evil and from the devil, even the overtly xtian bands like Stryper or Whitecross. If god is forever and unchanging, I asked, how could he have changed his mind on rock and roll in under 10 years?


Gives new meaning to the phrase "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"


As I was typing this a thought occurred to me, this is just par for the course in xtianity, right?


I mean, 2000 years ago, they couldn't convert the Jews, so what did they do? They stole all the popular Pagan myths and rewrote them to feature jesus so they could steal the Pagans! They offered their own, watered down version of something they at first found disgusting and evil, but when no one would listen to them, the adopted the very same thing they condemned! FUCKIN' A!!! :eek:

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