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Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

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The story of stuff is a short 20 minutes infomercial on the consumer model that is trashing our planet. (ht) It’s very provocative and I would highly recommend watching it. It really made me think of how I can begin participating in a sustainable way of living. The thing with the pillow really scared me (you have to watch it).

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One of the things we talk about in the emerging church is a move away from the attractional church. And to a certain extent, I get this. The question behind this motivation is often that the attractional model is flawed and missing something. And my wonderings made me ask, “What is the attraction? Is it love, discipleship, community, grace? Or is it something else?”

Recently I’ve been in some interesting conversations with a few friends about church in general. Part of these conversations included what attracts us to church. And today when I got the mail, I got one of those flyers for a new church in the area. It was advertising the specific attributes of the church. You know the stuff. It had a contemporary service AND a traditional service. It had a killer kids program with games and crafts. It had a picture of the most beautiful family in the world, with all of their life problems solve. Joy abounded. I’m actually not knocking any of these tactics. To a certain extent they work and are trying to communicate what we hope happens in church.

So my question is, “What draws you to church?” Do these things work for you or is it something else? And if so, what is it?

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This is update number two of WWJD…WTC Synchroblog.

I’m a marketing guy. I spent some of my younger years working at my own agency with some of the best companies in the world. I lived the dotcom bubble. I was in the middle of it all. Good companies with good products would come into my office asking me to help tell the world about how their product would transform people’s life. I learned many superlatives and hyperboles in the process.  And to a certain extent, part of my role was to temper the language of the plan.  Everybody wanted to be the “leading this” or “best of class at that”.  Most of the companies had glorious views of their capacity to transform the marketplace.

The very nature of marketing is to communicate an idea in some way. But anyone who has ever stepped foot in a marketing conversation, cubicle, wing, or department knows that there is always the promise, and then there is the delivery. Marketing gets the easy job. We get to make the promise. It’s up to someone else to deliver. Thus the nature of marketing requires considering the limits of the promise. This was my job for seven interesting years in Silicon Valley.

Jesus promised abundant life, which is an astounding thought when you think about it. To some extent it has the potential to sound like a marketing scheme. Over promise and let someone else deliver. But the truth is, Jesus delivered. And He did so by employing a simple strategy of discipleship. Come follow me was the mantra. Three simple yet incredibly powerful words. Which for me is kind of cool. I like that simplicity of it. Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus. Oh, I get it…love and be loved. Engage His mission.

And what was more interesting is that Jesus didn’t stick around to run the show. He gave us His Spirit and said, “Now you go change the world.” He put it into our hands, which alludes to the idea that He believed we could do it. All we had to do was follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and engage His mission of restoration with love.  We didn’t have a building.  We didn’t have pastors to do it for us.  We didn’t even have a great marketing plan. In fact, some might suggest Jesus was crazy for doing it this way.  But He did.

But at the same time, I can imagine some crafty tax collector or market seller standing from afar wondering how he could profit off of Jesus. In fact Simon the Sorcerer even tried. “This transformation business could be huge.  I could make some serious bank off of this”  Steve Martin made a movie about this. Elmer Gantry was another.  Holding this type of power, even the illusion of this power, can be intoxicating.

And this is the allure of the promise of transformation. Just the idea holds so much potential for compromise and fudging with its intent. See here for further example. The very same principles apply. Someone promises and someone else delivers. As long as you buy that transformation is possible, I only have to produce limited transformation, or enough to convince you that it is possible.

But there is enough evidence to posit that we are no longer delivering. Willow Creek’s study suggested that what we are doing is actually driving away those who are trying . We get the pulling in part. We just haven’t mastered the follow part. And worse, when we buy in to the old structures that pull us in and then don’t see experience what Jesus was talking about, we’re likely to become embittered about the whole process.

And to a certain extent, this is one of the things that I would change about the church. I would stop placing so much emphasis on pulling people in.  Because if my interest is in pulling people in and keeping them there I am not likely to engage people in something that would make them leave.  And the allure is to create an organization that serves itself, not the Gospel.  But Jesus turned up the heat all the time.  In fact, He let people leave.

Instead, I would focus on the the follow part. I would immediately tell people what it means to follow Jesus. And to a great extent I think people are wanting this.  We’re craving honesty.  Tell me its hard.  Tell me its going to change my life in ways that are not comfortable, but that are really worth it.  Lead me into what actually will do what Jesus was promising.  Help me connect with my Father like Jesus did so that I can gain His Spirit.  Help me learn what it means to trust so that I can stay intimately connected to love.  Help me learn how to tear down the walls I’ve created that keep me from relationships.  Help me learn how to forgive so that I can help restore the world around me.  Help me learn stewardship so that I can give when the Spirit is calling me to.

I want to know the fullest extent of what Jesus means when He says, “Come follow me.”  Let’s create a structure that supports that.

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Other WWJD…WTC Updates

Erin Word

Gary Means
Update 1

Alan Knox
Update 1

The Refuge

Nate Peres

Sally Coleman

Barb
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3

Rick Stillwell
Update 1

Jeff Greathouse
Update 1

Dan
Update 1

Barbara Legere

Jonathan Brink
Update 1

Jason Ellis

Rainer
Update 1

Cynthia Clack

Glenn Hager
Update 1
Update 2

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