I’m not sure exactly why I am fascinated with Seth Godin’s blog, which is mostly about marketing. Marketing at it’s worst is dishonest, exploitative "selling". But marketing at its healthiest is honest, servant-hearted story-telling, getting an important message out to people in a compelling way. So maybe that’s why.
According to the healthy definition of marketing then, (warning: potentially controversial statement coming) preaching the gospel is always going to involve marketing. Not in a selling-Jesus-with-a-wink-and-a-smile way, but more of a telling-the-story-of-Jesus-in-a-compelling-way way.
Anyway, Seth did three posts on marketing potholes recently, and the last one seemed to relate to how many Christians are having a hard time dealing with the new expressions of church that are emerging.
Marketing pothole #3 (from Seth Godin):
Great marketing pleases everyone on the team, sooner or later. But at
the beginning, great marketing pleases almost no one. At the beginning,
great marketing is counter-intuitive, non-obvious, challenging and
apparently risky. Of course your friends, shareholders, stakeholders
and bosses won’t like it. But they’re not doing the marketing, you are.
I think part
of what is going on in this "emerging church debate" is that the old guard just doesn’t like the new
marketing of the gospel.
Bob Harvey says
I still have my “firewall” up regarding much of the emergent church stuff. However, the marketing the gospel theme sparked a thought. There is a concept of “customer-back” marketing which relies on knowing your customer and what they want/need/feedback. This is different than selling them what you make or just invented, etc. Thus it implies being in community and conversation with them (knowing your customers/market). Similarly, part of spreading/sharing the gospel is discerning the needs/hurts of the audience be it one or masses. SO, I agree with you: healthy preaching of the gospel is healthy marketing and vice versa, unhealthy marketing makes for pushy preaching.