So although the market for religion hasn’t shrunk, market share is changing all the time. Its just like the soap aisle down at the supermarket. Both growing, and declining churches face unprecedented marketing challenges. Hence, words familiar from boardrooms – market research, customer satisfaction, takeaway value, positioning, asset management, brand equity – resound in pastoral and diocesan offices. “Pay attention to your brand or lose your business” has replaced “Tend your flock.” Often the most insight comes from brands that are being pushed off the shelves by inattention instead of those pulled off by consumer desire…” James B. Twitchell, Branded Nation: The Marketing of Megachurch, Collegen Inc., and Museumworld

Branding Jesus…

When we think of Churches branding Jesus, who do we think of?

When we think of Pastors re-symbolizing their labor, who do we think of?

When we think of Christians chasing after a particular created culture in their choices of Church, who do we think of?

If all your answers are directed toward people far outside your own community of faith, your own denomination, or those who you happily acknowledge affiliation then maybe you’re not taking the presenece of ‘branding’ seriously or honestly enough. Branded churches versus non-branded churches are a myth…

Every Church brands Jesus…

Every Pastor breathes the air of business culture…

Every Christian chases after a particular ‘brand’ of Church…

Twitchell, who to my knowledge is not a Christian, has some very thoughtful points throughout his chapter ‘One Market Under God’. Something I noticed as I was reading was my own reactions to point out there at churches or people rather than on myself or my community. I don’t want to look for a cheap answer to the marketing question, but maybe the problem of many churches (including mega-churches) isn’t marketing or branding, but doing so without a ethic particularly matured by a clear picture of who Christ is and what lifestyles the Gospel brings forth.

My concern in some of the critique out there about market culture in the church is that we often point to ‘business culture’ as the culprit of sin, as though as long as we don’t drink from the well of business we’re holy…isn’t this just another cheap sacred – secular division. Pastors who don’t live in the business world do this without effort at times, but what about all those believers who live day in and day out in the business world. My fellow pastors if we paint ‘busines culture’ with this brush and then constantly try to give Christians who work in business culture a vision for the holiness of the their vocation are we not giving them a terribly confusing message? Really? I want to ask you a very pointed question (I’m not sure we should seek to do this, but I’m also not sure we can avoid it entirely);

Is it possible to be market savy, to be brand knowledgable, while remaining focused on Christ and the Gospel?