Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
(540) 473-2325

Marketing The Church in The 21st Century

To find out what many churches believe today you have to get through all the flashy web sites, all the personal stories, what amazing music they have, how cool you can dress, where they have been, and what social programs they offer. But to find a doctrinal statement that is thorough and biblically documented is extremely rare. The word of God is typically not the selling point on getting you to come to their church. Expecting a soft and fuzzy feeling when you enter their doors is emphasized. As advertised that warm and inviting glow is supposed to translate into increased numbers for the church and your personal happiness. Effervescent, well dressed, physically fit and trim personalities are plastered on the web sites and mailings. Doesn’t this description of how churches are advertised today look just like the advertisements you see on T.V. for such places as Disney World and other entertainment destination places?

But where is the substance that makes them a God centered church? If the word of God is the centerpiece of their ministries why don’t they put it out front for you to inspect; after all, the power is in the word, not in the method or the gathering of people.

Has God been hollowed out? Is He just the shell that is used to draw people into the church or is there real substance to God? We only come to find this out through the sound teaching of his word, so why don’t we advertise the real substance of our churches instead of the fluff?

Jesus Christ said to the church at Laodicea, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Rev.3:15-16.

Cool up beat messages and cool music doesn’t make you a hot church, the word of God makes you a hot church. The churches who emphasize the content of the word of God are the hot churches. It is easier to get along with someone who is openly opposed to the word of God than with someone whose beliefs are foggy. You never know what you’re going to get with a person or a church that hides the word of God in its advertisements. Paul said in II Tim.1:12... “I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed...” The Gospel of Christ, I Cor.15:1-4, is the power of God unto salvation and this is why we must advertise to the community and the world the word of God unless we are ashamed of it. The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness as Paul said in I Cor.1:18. And there is no way we can advertise our churches honestly if we try to hide that fact. A New Testament church is not a real New Testament church if it is built on the opinions of the general public. A N.T. local church is a body of blood bought born-again believers dedicated to honoring God through obedience to his word; who gather to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. It is not a gathering of curious market driven folks drawn to entertainment and polled ignorance. If churches cannot draw folks with the word of God, even alleged born-again folks, then this is simply the fulfilling of God’s prophecy of the end times of the Church Age as given to the Apostle Paul as noted in I Tim.4:1; II Tim.4:3-4. If preachers know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to the lost it is not the fault of the churches', it is the individual unbeliever’s fault. If preachers know Bible doctrine is offensive to believers it is not the fault of the churches', it is those believers’s fault and both the lost and the negative believers will answer for it. But if preachers hollow out the meat of the local church to draw and keep a crowd then woe to those preachers. Whether believers like to believe it or not it is us against the world, Jn.15:18-19.

I Pet.2:6-8 reveals to us that Jesus Christ is a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense to them that stumble at the word, because they are being disobedient.

Jesus Christ himself said in John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” How can we abide and demonstrate his love if we are being introduced to a hollow God, a God whose substance is made obscure by preachers failing to expound upon His commandments. And if we say we love the Truth why do so many churches give the preacher so little time to explain that Truth? Are preachers straining to keep the attention of disinterested parishioners to the exclusion of the few who really want to know the Truth? The service can start at 11:00 sharp with twenty-five or thirty minutes of singing and promotions and the preacher is fighting the clock to get the people out by 12:00 less some disgruntled attendee complains as he or she passes the preacher going out the door.

Do we think we will not be held accountable on our judgment day because we are ignorant of the Truth? Do we go to churches that barely skim the meaning of the passages of the Bible because we do not want to know what God is like or what he commands? Do we think we are not being disobedient to God because we don’t know what we should be? Thank God that people are still being saved today, but Jesus Christ’s local churches are in peril. The church’s identity is being lost through men’s attempts to keep folks coming in its doors.

If believers are going to establish a strong personal walk with the Lord that walk must be based on thought, not emotion and experience. And those thoughts must be grounded upon sound Bible doctrines. True unity in the local church will only exist if sound Bible doctrine is communicated, Jn.7:16-17; Eph.4:13. Biblical unity is not based primarily on people getting along with one another, but the people getting along with God’s word. Getting along with one another in the work of the Lord is secondary to our obedience to the word of God. We are primarily commanded to get along with God and it takes a strong infusion of the word of God mixed with obedience to the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit for this to occur. An infusion of a high-energy, feel good worship service, must not be mistaken for the presence and power of God, but it is today. The church must promote the mantra of living by faith, not by feeling.

Fellow saints, let us not be of those who are guilty of forsaking unity with God in order to make peace with the world. For all the things that are being introduced and brought into the churches today, to get people in them, we must heed God’s word as given to the Apostle Paul. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what harmony hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? II Cor.6:14-15.

If the word of God is not popular with folks today, then it is what it is, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking something else will make God more popular with the people. What marketing schemes you win the people with is what you have won the people to. As a local church we must keep trying to draw people to the Lord and his word. Yes, we do keep it simple here at this church and that’s because God made it simple. It is only when we try to please people into getting them and keeping them in the church that church becomes complex and confusing.

The Pastor
June 2008