Over the last year, beginning with our free gas promotion and the Miami Herald article done on our church, I have received a number of emails in the positive and the negative concerning the marketing and advertising Life Pointe employs. Recently, I have entered into a great discussion via email with a young, articulate seminary student by the name of Derek Knoke. I would like to carry that discussion on over to my blog because the content and discussion is good enough to warrant opening it up for others to read and participate.
First, marketing and advertising are two totally distinct practices. Andy Havens of Sanestorm says, "Marketing is the study and practice of better, faster, cheaper and friendlier. “Making things go more smoothly,” as I put it to my students. The product or service a company provides is the “what” of its existence. Marketing is the “how.” In a church setting, our “what” is the spreading of the Word of Christ.
Brian Norris says, "Marketing is the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a decision to purchase, use, follow...or conform to someone else's products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn't facilitate a "sale" then it's not marketing."
The Apostle Paul says in the most radically transparent statement, "I have become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some." I Cor. 9:22-23
I would propose to those of you trying to get a handle on the appropriate mediums for communication of the Gospel that it is not only acceptable to market Christ and the Church, it is mandatory to do so. Perhaps, the best marketing statement is found in Romans 3:13, "Let us walk honestly as in the day...". Obviously, the aim is not simply to pursuade people to also follow Christ. The aim is to live out Christ in us. Marketing as an event is not primary in this passage. But, it is certainly a by-product. In answer to some marketing/advertising concerns, it would express brand and image as an authentic expression of Imago Dei.