ChurchMarketingSucks

Came across the Church Marketing Lab Flickr pool today, via its parent, the ChurchMarketingSucks blog. What to say…

pluged in

Some of the designs here are amazing. There is such a wealth of creativity on display here, and I have to admit a lot of respect for the people who come up with these great ideas. But…

OK, take these T-shirts. These are great looking T-shirts. I would even think about wearing one of those, and I’m notorious for my no-branding clothing stance… But, well, they’re advertising a church!

 t-shirts

Why do you need a T-shirt for your church? What does that say? “Look at me! I go to the cool church that makes great T-shits!” Huh?!?

I’m really pulled in two directions over this stuff. I know we live in a visual culture, where brands and image are dominant. And churches are often, well, pretty crappy at presenting themselves in a catchy, visual manner (check out my own churches website if you don’t believe me). So part of me likes the craftsmanship that has gone into these images (and the many, many more in the pool), and appreciates the effort that the churches concerned are making to reach out into the world around them…

lamp

 I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with the idea of churches as being brands you market, especially not competing brands. “My church is cooler than your church” is a really dangerous sentiment; we are meant to be one body, after all. It also commodifies church too much; buying into wider societal norms more than I’m comfortable with. Why do we need ‘Christian’ T-shirts and CCM artists anyway?

I don’t know how to resolve this particular tug-of-war… Perhaps you have an opinion that could sway me either way?

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