I received the following on twitter today from @courageous, The Courageous Church in Atlanta.
Wow! What is your reaction?
At first, I was appalled. I thought, "Man, I am all for a church marketing itself, but this crosses the line." And I do believe in church marketing. I think most people believe in church marketing. I think the big hang up is in the definition of "marketing." Richard Reising spends about 30 pages defining marketing from a biblical perspective in his book Church Marketing 101. If church leaders would read that, just the first 30 pages even, I think all would agree that your church IS marketing whether you know it or not. Your church IS making an "impression" (i.e. marketing) either good or bad.
Churches market themselves for what reason? To reach the unchurched or get new members, however you define your objectives. So, in the case of The Courageous Church, they are trying to reach the unchurched and get new members, correct?
So why was I so taken aback by the approach? To me, it would motivate the Courageous body in an improper way. But then I asked myself if I would feel differently if the "prize" had been a nice dinner with your spouse or a family night out valued at $100. And, yes, I did feel differently about that. But not sure I should have. I felt a different emotion, maybe wrongly so.
I checked out The Courageous Church website. They have a couple sites so check all the links if interested. You have to hand it to these guys, whether you agree with them or not. Creativity and boldness abounds. They are not afraid to offend. Personally I don't think that can always be called courageous, sometimes it's just stupid. But take a look at some of their ideas. I really like the FREE BREAKFAST CHURCH. Where they serve free breakfast every Sunday right there at the church. It's timely, relevant and fills a need of many hurting people. And I'm certain that lives may be changed along the way. Look at SERVOLUTION! A week devoted to simple acts of kindness through serving. Then you have Pastor Shaun King's blog with posts such as Weed Smoking Volunteers and Banning Women from Ministry is Sin. Controversial to say the least.
Shaun King and Courageous Church, to me, are almost like a "shock jock" on the radio. He certainly got my attention with the tweet above. Do I think it's right? I've stated my mixed emotions. I felt my opinion shifting as I wrote this post. Shaun is offering $100 bucks to encourage people to focus on evangelism. But when you really think about it, isn't a pastor paid to do the same thing? I realize it's much more complicated than that. But when I first started, I wanted to criticize and bash Courageous for its methods and now, I don't feel so critical. Not a method I would use. But is it biblical? Would love to hear some feedback here or on twitter @davidamoore. I bet @courageous would jump in as well.
David Moore is managing partner of Advantage Printing – The Church Printing HQ