Mars Hill Seeks Sales and Marketing Officer

"The Chief Sales and Marketing Officer will not only have primary oversight of all client services roles such as account management, sales, and the customer experience; but will also give strategic oversight to all of the marketing, media relations, creative, event management, promotion, interactive web and electronic services, music, publishing products, and all campaigns and programs at Mars Hill." (link)

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=31318&picture=business-graph-successBusiness Graph – Success

When last we focused on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, we published a post entitled:  Enlarging Mark's Hill – aka Mars Hill.   That was almost six months ago.

In our post, we called attention to an April 2012 appeal from Mark Driscoll in which he queried

IS YOUR CHURCH INTERESTED IN BECOMING A PART OF MARS HILL?

If you haven't read the info at these two links, we strongly encourage you to do so because they will provide some background information for our current discussion. 

Driscoll's appeal must have been successful because it appears Mars Hill is banking on tremendous growth as indicated by the posting of a new position — Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.  Here is a portion of the job description:

"The Chief Sales and Marketing Officer (CSMO) bridges the gap between high-level visionary leaders and ground-level operations implementers by creating and managing effective organizational structures, communication systems, necessary policies, and strategic plans with a heavy emphasis on communicating the vision of Mars Hill in each of these contexts."

Did you catch some of the buzz words in the quote from the job description at the top of the post?

client service roles, account management, sales, media relations, event management, publishing product, campaigns

Just imagine how much more effective Jesus could have been if He had hired a 'chief sales and marketing officer'

This reminds me of one of my first positions in the business world.  I was a member of a Market Research and Planning Committee, and we hired a consultant to come and help us brainstorm on how to reach our target markets more effectively.  One of the projects I did as a member of this committee was to use market data to determine market potential versus market penetration.  (We're surprised Mars Hill isn't using that terminology…)

When we first learned of this position on the Mars Hill team, Dee and I remembered the Where's Waldo? slogan.  Given this job description, we have to ask Where's Jesus? with regard to the MH mega industrial complex?  

From our vantage point, Jesus appears to be a product that Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill are peddling, and they are attempting to do it as effectively as possible by hiring a sales and marketing guru. 

As Dee has pointed out in prior posts and comments, instead of 'making disciples', these mega industrial complexes often lure sheep away from other congregations.

Here is more information on this Executive Level position:

"The ideal candidate has a high degree of commitment to serve the church by properly managing the media and industry relations, advertising, interactive programs, communications, and market research. He or she will oversee conferences, trade show exhibits, printed promotions, and web and social media promotions. They will coordinate the distribution of resources to all clients managed by account managers such as local churches, Resurgence, MH network churches, creative content, and global development. This person must be highly organized, detail oriented, task focused, relationally motivated, have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be a strong leader and manager of people and processes.

As the overall leader, this individual is focused on incorporating the desires of the team into a vision that is implemented across all areas."

We would love to get your insights regarding Mars Hill's Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.  Since Mars Hill was birthed in Seattle, we leave you with this interesting video clip…

What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church?  A Parable

Lydia's Corner:  1 Kings 20:1-21:29   Acts 12:24-13:15   Psalm 137:1-9   Proverbs 17:16

Comments

Mars Hill Seeks Sales and Marketing Officer — 190 Comments

  1. I agree with your assessments in the post. It sounds less about Jesus and having church, reaching the hurting and so on, and more like a big corporation.

    Church goers become interchangeable cogs and not individuals. I guess members are valued only for the tenth they tithe.

    The “church as corporation” model is true not just with Driscoll but with a lot of churches today. 🙁

    Regarding this part of the job description:
    “He or she will oversee conferences blah blah blah…”

    I can at least say I’m pleasantly surprised that they’re considering a woman for the position, when one considers Driscoll appears to me to be very “cave mannish” in his views on the roles of women.

  2. I feel sorry for any woman who would consider it. She’ll have one uphill battle on her hands. Imo, they probably put that in for the sake of covering their behinds.

  3. A client is someone from whom you want money in exchange for a service or product you sell.
    The gospel (and I mean that in a much bigger sense than the altar call repenting gospel) is to be shared freely, and God will provide. Church people are not clients, but brothers and sisters and parts of the body, or when they are not saved needers of the gospel. They are not people to get money from.

  4. Retha wrote:

    A client is someone from whom you want money in exchange for a service or product you sell.

    “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! I CAN BEAT YOU UP! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!”

  5. If you can't make money off it, then it must not be true. Therefore, God is a vending machine and this new position is the guy/gal who stocks the machine. Everything is about money now and I'm not talking the necessary money to pay the electric bill and the water bill. As the Bible says, you can't serve God and mammon but it sure appears that some people prefer mammon over God while professing all to be in the name of God. I'm not buying that bill of goods. This is something I don't get as a Catholic looking into the evangelical world: this need to sell God as a product. Granted, there are Catholic groups that do that too but not to the extent I see in evangelical churches. I just don't get it.  I really don't.

  6. This reminds me of a Wittenburg door years ago where the cover was a fake wall street journal stock price page which listed various TV evangelists….

  7. Humour me for a moment here as I join a couple of dots in this part of the job spec:

    This person must be highly organized, detail oriented, task focused, relationally motivated, have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be a strong leader and manager of people and processes.

    As the overall leader, this individual is focused on incorporating the desires of the team into a vision that is implemented across all areas.

    “Strong leader” + “detail oriented” = the micro-managing boss from hell. This person will be incapable of incorporating the desires of anyone beneath him into a vision. Considering the context, he won’t have any autonomy in any case; only one man in a para-church organisation like Mars Hill has any ultimate right to make decisions, and he’ll be ready and willing to step in and overrule anybody at any point. I’ve experienced this kind of leadership.

    I say “him” – I can’t seriously imagine a woman being appointed to this executive-level leadership role. Presumably, local anti-discriminatory laws prevent Mars Hill from advertising overtly for a man.

  8. Sounds like their looking for a velvet glove to slip over that iron fist. And I guess it goes without saying: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY.

  9. Clay Crouch wrote:

    Sounds like their looking for a velvet glove to slip over that iron fist. And I guess it goes without saying: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY.

    Although I was surprised to see this that seems to imply the position is open to women.

    He or she will oversee conferences, trade show exhibits, printed promotions, and web and social media promotions.

  10. I know a lot of bigger churches have “communication directors” but the verbiage used in this ad is so odd and out of place for a church. Clients? Industry relations? Customers?

    I bet if you asked they would say they are just using standard verbiage for marketing positions and it shouldn’t be construed as anything more. Yeah right. Mars Hill is an empire everyone knows it.

  11. Makes me stressed and overwhelmed just thinking about going to a church like that. Also makes me thankful for my little, community church down the road where Jesus and loving your neighbor is not suffocated by all this extra stuff.

  12. I don’t think Mr. Driscoll will be featured in any upcoming conferences hosted by Piper, Dever, Mohler and the boys unless he rewrites the job description and includes a few “gospel-centered” requirements.

  13. I’m pretty sure that employment laws prevent them from excluding genders in a job posting.

    Also, “customer experience”… lol.

  14. To me it appears that Mars Hill is trying to become its own publishing company. Just as Zondervan and Thomas Nelson have created their own Christian conferences (National Pastors Conference and Women of Faith, for example) in order to sell their books to an eager audience, Mark Driscoll is realizing that conferences are a good way to sell books. Traditional means don’t cut it. Sitting on his hands won’t do it: His Amazon rankings are low and he doesn’t seem to rank very high on the Christian best-seller lists.

    Many other churches have become publishers/conference promoters at various times in their history: Willow Creek, Saddleback, Calvary Chapels, etc.

    But are aggressive bookselling conferences really the role for the local church? I don’t think so. The church should be the loving hands of Jesus in a hurting world.

  15. Kristin wrote:

    it shouldn’t be construed as anything more.

    As I keep saying to the Stephen Furtick video defenders, if it was a joke (I do not think it was but some say it was) then it was an epic fail. This advertisement is, in my opinion, a look at the real underside of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. This is not a church and this proves it.

  16. Using the term “market penetration” was a no go in the meetings. I hear Mark was concerned that part of his market was male, and ANY penetration = the dreaded sodomy.

  17. I guess it’s implied that this person is an Christian? Whoever they are, they best understand the doctrines of Mars Hill before they leave their current position. It seems like a very high demand position and almost a set-up for failure considering it sounds like the person would be the go between man/woman between Mark and everyone else, including the pew sitters.

  18. No way will they hire a woman.

    Also, this really shows how the temple has once again fallen into the hands of money-changers. If Jesus were here, I’d bet He would be tearing the place up.

  19. I clicked the link and Mars Hill is also advertising for a “Lead Pastor” position. The quotable from this one is:

    “As this new location will be the broadcast site for Pastor Mark Driscoll, as well as the host-site for many Mars Hill events, the opportunity to lead this church is one of great honor.”

    I’m not sure if I should LOL or barf at this one…

  20. Kristin wrote:

    the opportunity to lead this church is one of great honor.”

    I always thought it was an honor to serve Jesus. It now sounds like it is an honor to serve Mark.

  21. This isn’t unique to Mars Hill, of course. They’re just caught in the same mindset as most mega churches these days.

  22. I guess I’m going to dissent here a little and say that I see nothing objectively wrong with using strategies of the world in the management of a church. I’m not a fan of mega churches and this kind of approach, but I hesitate to say that using market speak and such necessarily means a pushing aside of Jesus. It looks a bit off to me, I admit, but by the same token I’m sure my small church that meets in a school might look off to someone from a third world country if they were to see all of our sound equipment and comfortable chairs we haul out every week.

    I’m more inclined to say these kinds of things are up to individual congregations and to let then be. If a church is doing a great job of preaching the Word, creating a great atmosphere for genuine Christiab worship, and making Jesus focused disciples, I honestly don’t care if the have a bunch of buzz words in their job descriptions. And if a church isn’t doing all of that, then I don’t care either, because dropping the buzz words isn’t going to save them (except for maybe removing a distraction- but if it’s a core issue, distractions aren’t the issue).

    I’m no fan of Driscoll, but my criticism is that he is an abusive bully in his sermons, encouraging others to be like him. Is that attitude linked to this kind of a job hiring? Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

  23. The church, the gospel, the Christian life, the christian faith, have all been turned into a commodity to be bought and sold. Churches (that follow this model) are simply corporations that sell the above mentioned commodities. Actually, they’re more like MLMs, where the people at the top make all the profit, the people at the base get to pay to be a part of it all and receive various “bonuses” for their labors, and the real product being sold is actually the privilege of becoming another distributor.

  24. Deb wrote, in the post: “Just imagine how much more effective Jesus could have been if He had hired a ‘chief sales and marketing officer’
    “Every time I look at you I don’t understand why you let the things you did get so out of hand. You’d have managed better if you’d had it planned. Now why’d you choose such a backward time and such a strange land? If you’d come today, you would have reached the whole nation. Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.”
    Modern Day Judas, in Jesus Christ Superstar

  25. Victorious wrote:

    Clay Crouch wrote:
    Sounds like their looking for a velvet glove to slip over that iron fist. And I guess it goes without saying: WOMEN NEED NOT APPLY.
    Although I was surprised to see this that seems to imply the position is open to women.
    He or she will oversee conferences, trade show exhibits, printed promotions, and web and social media promotions.

    “Kingly” (not Sovereignly) Is one of the official job qualifications.
    So is “Humility”. WTH!!! (Actually, I’m not swearing but thanking Anonymous on Wenatchee the Hatchet ‘s blog for pointing this out.)

  26. Jeff S wrote:

    I guess I’m going to dissent here a little and say that I see nothing objectively wrong with using strategies of the world in the management of a church. I’m not a fan of mega churches and this kind of approach, but I hesitate to say that using market speak and such necessarily means a pushing aside of Jesus. It looks a bit off to me, I admit, but by the same token I’m sure my small church that meets in a school might look off to someone from a third world country if they were to see all of our sound equipment and comfortable chairs we haul out every week.
    I’m more inclined to say these kinds of things are up to individual congregations and to let then be. If a church is doing a great job of preaching the Word, creating a great atmosphere for genuine Christiab worship, and making Jesus focused disciples, I honestly don’t care if the have a bunch of buzz words in their job descriptions. And if a church isn’t doing all of that, then I don’t care either, because dropping the buzz words isn’t going to save them (except for maybe removing a distraction- but if it’s a core issue, distractions aren’t the issue).
    I’m no fan of Driscoll, but my criticism is that he is an abusive bully in his sermons, encouraging others to be like him. Is that attitude linked to this kind of a job hiring? Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

    My issue is not that they are using the same buzz-words or even strategies. My problem is that they are becoming more like a business, they are running it as a business, instead of a church.

  27. @ dee:
    I don’t know. Really, this whole idea of doing church this way is foreign to me. I would hope that everything a church does would have Jesus at the center, but I don’t know how overt that looks in a job posting of this nature. Of course, in this case you know I have a lot of negative things to say about MH, but we are talking about the principle of this kind of job posting and whether it is inherently problematic. It would be interesting to see a similar type of position from a church that I respected and trusted. Maybe that doesn’t exist, which says something.

    I’m just hesitant to criticize things that I don’t understand because I fear people criticizing ME when they don’t understand me.

  28. Jeff S wrote:

    It would be interesting to see a similar type of position from a church that I respected and trusted. Maybe that doesn’t exist, which says something.

    Have a looksie through this site for more examples: http://jobs.cfcclabs.org/. I am not against churches have this type of position. There is just something about the tone of Mars Hill advertisement that bothers me.

  29. @ No More Perfect:
    So here’s the thing I struggle with. There ARE legitimate reasons to run ministries like a business, or to at least combine the two. Take, for instance, my work as a musician. Now it isn’t a PROFITABLE business, but I do charge money and work at it. I do marketing. I do some things that aren’t very overtly Christian, but all with the goal of reaching people and ministering to them (but only I know that for sure, because you can’t see into my soul to know my motivations). Now I’m not a church, and honestly I don’t owe anyone an explanation because it is my time and effort I pour into this, but there are definitely aspects to the whole thing that are very secular in nature. I would love it if I could just write songs about my faith and let that be the end of it, but it isn’t. If I want people to hear the songs, I have to engage in marketing and business (things which I loathe).

    I think there’s always going to be tension when ministries get involved in promotion and marketing. But where is the line? I think the real line is in people’s hearts- why are they making the choices that they are? Are they building up kingdoms for themselves, or are they earnestly seeking to use the tools and talents God has given them in a way that makes sense in the culture.

    I struggle with this a lot. I have a CD coming out in less than two months and I’m trying to make decisions about where to spend money in marketing and promotion. I’m talking to a lot of secular folks as part of this, folks whose only goal is to make money, not to see people lifted up and encouraged (which is my goal). I’m all the time having to check myself and see if I’m just getting too wrapped up in the “game” of it all.

    So I’m sympathetic to folks who are attempting to combine secular and sacred with the goal of doing ministry. I’m sure people get it wrong all of the time (and I have no trust for MH), but I also would hate to start taking stances against using techniques and ideas on which scripture is silent.

  30. Leah wrote:

    Actually, they’re more like MLMs, where the people at the top make all the profit, the people at the base get to pay to be a part of it all and receive various “bonuses” for their labors, and the real product being sold is actually the privilege of becoming another distributor.

    “Multiplying Ministry” a la Campus Crusade.
    AKA Amway with Jesus instead of soap.

  31. Dave A A wrote:

    “Kingly” (not Sovereignly) Is one of the official job qualifications.
    So is “Humility”. WTH!!!

    Remember Cee Jay Mahaney (Humbly, of course), with liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets to announce how Humble He Is.

  32. dee wrote:

    I always thought it was an honor to serve Jesus. It now sounds like it is an honor to serve Mark.

    Mark is God, don’t you know that?

    WHOSE face appears larger-than-life on every franchise campus’s Telescreens every Sunday?

    Who Can Beat You Up? (Or at least sic his Enforcers on you.)

  33. @ Jeff S:
    I do not think the problem is that the ad is using buzz words borrowed from the mainstream marketing culture. They use the language of that culture because they are a part of that culture. They have become a corporation and therefore they market themselves and their wares as such and that is the problem.

    The gospel of Christ, and even Christ Himself (as the church is His body), has been reduced to something to be marketed to generate income, power and prestige. The members of His body are each vying for their own share in the market and to promote their own name rather than Christ’s.

    If this is not so, then let those churches do their good deeds for the community and not disclose the name of their church, not use these deeds in advertising for their brand. Let those churches have an entire service without mentioning the name of their church, without advertising themselves, but rather just talking about Jesus and exalting Him.

    The words they use in that ad are simply a reflection of who they are.

  34. Kristin wrote:

    “As this new location will be the broadcast site for Pastor Mark Driscoll, as well as the host-site for many Mars Hill events, the opportunity to lead this church is one of great honor.”

    Oh for crying out loud.

  35. The problem with this formula is if the product isn’t something worth having? You will always be losing clients, and you are going to have to continue to be creative about your marketing plan. Look for those untapped markets, because you have dried up most of the others.

    I can see some marketing at the beginning of a ministry, because you need to let people know you are THERE!

    Problem is if you product isn’t worth investing it? No amount of marketing is going to help, and your numbers will go down. You will always have hills and valleys if you continue to market, but it will never be consistent. In business you always have to market somewhat, normally to show off new aspects or additions to your product. You tend to get repeat business, and word of mouth helps with costs.

    Perfect example of marketing with a ugly product is Kevin Trudeau. Notice once he dries up one market, because people figure out what a fraud he is…he finds a whole NEW product line to use his marketing skills with. I think he started with some product based in coral to cure something. It didn’t cure anything, and he dried up the market. Then he moved on to ‘natural cures’, and due to them NOT being natural or cures…also add in fraud? He moved onto ‘debt cures’. He is a marketing genius, but also a fraud. He will never have a constant flow of new clients, because he burns the current ones…and has to seek out new markets.

    Mars Hills it going to have to come up with new products to keep their clients interested. They will also have find new markets once they dried up. Good luck to him, but this could be his downfall.

  36. @ Leah:
    I didn’t see the other comments between posting this.
    When you market your music, even if your desire is to minister to people through it, you are still selling a cd that took time and money to create and you obviously want to get it to many people. I don’t see this as the same thing as marketing a church. How you market yourself, your music, and how you manage your proceeds is up to you.

    The church is the body of Christ on earth, the family of God, a natural organism with Christ as the head. To try in any way to run it like a business, a human institution, will alter it from it’s intended purpose and will result in pastors who behave like CEOs and value the “brand” more than the members as individuals.

    I help run several small businesses. I would never take those business concepts and employ them on my family. My family is not a business and neither is the church.

  37. anonymous wrote:

    Kristin wrote:
    “As this new location will be the broadcast site for Pastor Mark Driscoll, as well as the host-site for many Mars Hill events, the opportunity to lead this church is one of great honor.”
    Oh for crying out loud.

    Maybe it’s a good thing they’re hiring a new PR person, lol

  38. @ Leah:
    Personally, I am with you on the church front In fact, I think of what I do with music quite distinctly from “church”.

    My only (self) caution is that there are lots of ways to do church that are not mine or comfortable to me, and I don’t want to jump to conclusions just because something is unfamiliar to me. I’ve heard of folks from third world countries coming to a church like mine and being VERY judgmental feeling like what we do is so commercialized and secular, even though I know that Jesus is at the center of it all.

  39. Kristin wrote:

    anonymous wrote:
    Kristin wrote:
    “As this new location will be the broadcast site for Pastor Mark Driscoll, as well as the host-site for many Mars Hill events, the opportunity to lead this church is one of great honor.”
    Oh for crying out loud.

    Maybe it’s a good thing they’re hiring a new PR person, lol

    Ha! One who knows what a great honor it is to work for Dear Leader! 😀

  40. TW wrote:

    The album from which it comes can currently be downloaded for free, or for whatever you wish to pay.

    I’m reminded of Keith Green, when he started giving away his albums for free, or whatever you wished to pay. Ironically, he’s now just about the ONLY CCM artist from the day whose albums are still being SOLD in any quantity. And the only one my kids listen to.
    I understand where JeffB is coming from. I had a friend (now with Jesus) who wrote, sang, recorded, and gave away numerous beautiful albums. But since he was not independently wealthy, he couldn’t afford professional production and distribution. Perhaps many folks missed out, not having the opportunity to learn about and purchase the music.

  41. @ Jeff S: I hear you, but at the same time, the ad sounds like they want someone to do promotion for a chain of used-car dealerships (or whatever).

    When I was in my teens, there was a meme (not called by that name at the time) showing a pic of Richard Nixon with the words “Would you buy a used car from this man?” in bold black caps underneath. The Nixon poster was meant to be funny but also sum up what so many felt – and it’s one of the 1st things that came to mind as I thought about making a comment on this thread.

  42. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    “Kingly” (not Sovereignly) Is one of the official job qualifications.
    So is “Humility”. WTH!!!
    Remember Cee Jay Mahaney (Humbly, of course), with liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets to announce how Humble He Is.

    I’m reminded of my “Prophetly” predictions that Mars Hill *Church* would soon outgrow the SGM “family of churches”. I still stand by those. Pastor Mark as chosen a much more efficient business model– preaching at every campus every Sunday and consolidating the *kingly* oversight back in ’07. Poor CJ shared power for a long time with Larry and other humble aPostles and opened business before the advent of the Multi-location Big Screen.

  43. No More Perfect wrote:

    No way will they hire a woman.

    For all his excesses, one thing Mr. Driscoll is not, is stupid. Women are proving themselves over and over to be the equals of men in the corporate marketing world, and in some cases even superior. Potentates throughout human history have been known to let an ideological tenet or two slip if it can improve the bigger picture for them. Mr. Driscoll may show some pragmatism here after all.

  44. numo wrote:

    @ Jeff S: I hear you, but at the same time, the ad sounds like they want someone to do promotion for a chain of used-car dealerships (or whatever).

    Some commenter (maybe on this blog) related long ago that in his area the number-one career for ex-preachers was used car salesman.

    When I was in my teens, there was a meme (not called by that name at the time) showing a pic of Richard Nixon with the words “Would you buy a used car from this man?” in bold black caps underneath.

    I also remember a proto-meme showing a three-dollar bill with Nixon’s face on it. (To those outside North America, there’s an expression “phony as a three-dollar bill.”) And the story that the Secret Service and Federal Counterfeiting charges were unleashed on anyone who spread that meme. Nixon was not known for a sense of humor, especially when he was the butt of the joke.

  45. anonymous wrote:

    Ha! One who knows what a great honor it is to work for Dear Leader!

    Until you outlive your usefulness and get thrown under the bus.

    Because that’s the kind of pointy-haired boss The Face on all the Telescreens is.

  46. Dave A A wrote:

    Poor CJ shared power for a long time with Larry and other humble aPostles and opened business before the advent of the Multi-location Big Screen.

    I prefer the term “Telescreen” to Multi-Location Big Screen. I think you understand the reference.

  47. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Multi-Location-Big-Bother? Your term is more efficient than mine as well! Telescreen is your Mark to my CJ.
    One last image I can’t get out of my head.
    da Interview:
    Pastor Mark: Tell me about your kingly accomplishments…
    Candidate: I increased revenues blah blah blah I supervised blah blah minions, I right-sized, downsized, and grew the potentialities blah blah blah….
    Pastor Mark: Tell me about your humility…

  48. RB wrote:

    they probably put that in for the sake of covering their behinds.

    It did occur to me, after I hit the “post comment” button, it could be just for show.

    They may have no intent of hiring a woman but just put the ‘or she’ phrase in there to look good. You could be right.

  49. Retha wrote:

    They talk not of church members, but clients? Wow.

    That was another thing that caught my attention too.

    The “clients.” Not “other Christians,” “fellow believers,” or even “reaching the unsaved,” or “people in our community,” but “clients.”

  50. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! I CAN BEAT YOU UP! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!”

    I prefer the other scare tactics, that try to be a little more suave and under the radar, such as,

    “If you don’t give the church your ten percent, God will not put a hedge around you! The devourer will devour your health and income.”

    That is summarized in this picture from FBC Jax Watchdog originally, from The Steam Tunnel, I think, pretty bluntly:
    Tithe or You’re Dead!

    Version “b” of that is, “If you don’t give God ten percent, you are robbing God! Malachi 3:8! Malachi 3:8!”

    That was the more negative spin. The positive one is what you will get for giving the preacher man your ten percent:

    “Give us your ten percent, and God will give you great health, all your atheist uncles will believe in Jesus, and you will wake up tomorrow to find a brand new BMW in your driveway.”

  51. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “Strong leader” + “detail oriented” = the micro-managing boss from hell.

    That boss I’ve mentioned before, who harassed me? She was definitely a micro manager, and to make things even more painful, she was totally ignorant about our field (which was kind of tech related).

    I fit several of the Mars Hill job requirements on the list, including the “detailed oriented” one, but being detailed oriented is not really a good thing.

    I was detailed oriented because I was a perfectionist. I was not willing to take risks at anything, which is one drawback of being a perfectionist.

  52. dee wrote:

    I always thought it was an honor to serve Jesus. It now sounds like it is an honor to serve Mark.

    If you’re really lucky, Driscoll might let you wash his feet. 🙂

  53. @ Janey:

    “To me it appears that Mars Hill is trying to become its own publishing company.”
    +++++++++++++++

    hmmmm….yes….something reminiscent of “We’re gunning to take over Christian radio.”

    obnoxious as a steaming cup of cabbage water first thing in the morn’.

  54. Jeff S wrote:

    but I don’t know how overt that looks in a job posting of this nature.

    I guess it is how you view the church. Is building the church simply a sales and marketing technique? Is God’s economy based on income and bottom line management? Are we selling jesus to group of clients?

    I have an MBA. I took the classes and understand the method. But, perhaps I should just quote one of my classmates when we were graduating. When I asked if he was glad it was over he said yes. It was now time to get into the real world in which people loved one another and stopped thinking it was all about income increasing via sales increasing.

    I wonder how the early church changed the world without a marketing director and clients? They seemed to do a better job than us. We apply all these business models and we are losing in the court of public opinion. The early church, however, had nothing but love and a message and became the dominant faith

  55. dee wrote:

    The early church, however, had nothing but love and a message and became the dominant faith

    Dee — I’m with you. The church’s boss, Jesus, said the core vision was to share the Gospel, make disciples, love God and love neighbors. To do something outside of this is probably a bad case of mission creep.

  56. @ dee:
    I don’t think that God’s economy is based on bottom line management. I just think how we show love in this world can take on varying forms. People have different skill sets and God can use them in dramatically different ways.

    You assume that the thinking behind this is all consumed with bottom line management (and since it comes from MH in this case, I get that), but if we knew nothing of the source, would such a leap be reasonable? Cannot God use marketing skills and talent to spread his message to the world?

  57. Here’s a story that I think about, something that I experienced first hand. I was at a church once that was big into finding out what people’s talents were and using them for the Lord. A woman who was VERY talented at interior design and been told over and over again in her life that there was no place for this gift in ministry. But this church decided they would find a way to better reach people through her gift.

    The church had noticed a trend of people stopping by on Sunday mornings, dropping off their children for Sunday school, and then driving off. They’d go get coffee or have breakfast, then pick up the children later. So the church decided it would be easier to reach these folks if they stuck around, even if they weren’t involved in church activities. So they had this lady craft the old sanctuary into a coffee house, and they had other people with various talents contribute to make it really nice and comfortable. The goal was to give these folks (and existing members before and after service) a place to hang out. There was no pressure on them to talk about Jesus or go into the service, but the idea was you are still creating connections with members of the church.

    You know- it worked. We had a lot people who would stay out and drink coffee, and some of them eventually did form relationships and wander into the service. Now on the outside this might have really looked like manipulation and a “bottom line” secularization of the church (in fact, they had a nice little coffee shop going on- I don’t know if it made a profit or not), but I know the hearts and goals behind it all, and while it might have looked secular on the outside, the idea was a new and different way to show love to the world. And a woman who had never been able to use her God-given talent in church was now able to do so.

    I realize this is different than hiring some corporate marketing person, but it impressed upon me that ministry can look different than how we usually think of it, and what is important is the hearts behind the choices, not the choices themselves.

  58. Jeff S wrote:

    Cannot God use marketing skills and talent to spread his message to the world?

    Not if he is left out of the equation. Besides, Jesus was a terrible marketer.
    Take up your cross; I will bring enmity between brothers, Sell all you have and follow me, In this world you will have troubles, You may be martyred,The Son of Man had no place to rest his head (salaries were poor), His buddies were tax collectors, dumb fishermen, prostitutes, etc. Really bad networking companions, All of his followers, except for John (who spent years isolated on an island, died horrible deaths, Do not lay up treasures for yourself here on earth-it comes later (bad for the 401 K)

    Now, if Jesus only had a sales manager, He might have gotten in with the movers and shakers and really done something special.

  59. Daisy wrote:

    Retha wrote:
    They talk not of church members, but clients? Wow.
    That was another thing that caught my attention too.
    The “clients.” Not “other Christians,” “fellow believers,” or even “reaching the unsaved,” or “people in our community,” but “clients.”

    I was trying to figure out who the clients were. Good grief.

  60. @ dee:
    Anything where he is left out of the equation is not honoring to him; marketing is not unique in this aspect. The real question is water marketing can be used with Jesus at the center of the equation. I am open to that possibility, even for churches.

    Look, I HATE marketing. For me, marketing is a lot about trying to create a desire in people for something they do not need. It taps in to the idolatrous parts of ourselves. It goes against my nature and sense of integrity. But that’s not all marketing is- it’s just that part of it that really gets me worked up.

    If it was up to me, yeah, marketing would be thrown out entirely. But what does that say about my brothers and sisters in Christ who are really good at marketing and want to use their talents for The Lord? I am grateful to those Christians that can help me design a great CD cover, or create a great promotional add for a concert. My hope is that these materials are used not to create desire, but to direct desire that is already there by creating awareness. Can a church tap in that way just as I hope to? Why not?

  61. Jeff S wrote:

    A woman who was VERY talented at interior design and been told over and over again in her life that there was no place for this gift in ministry

    I am in a similar situation as hers.

    I am not an interior designer, but a niche field which is not typical church-y stuff for a woman. My career background is a little on the technical side.

    Though I have offered my skills at a church or two I attended, they didn’t take me up on it. What I do can be very expensive, some people and firms charge big bucks.

    You’d think a church would jump at the opportunity to use my skills (for free!), and I’m quite good at what I do, but no, that is not the case.

    Author Julia Duin discusses the same problem in her book about why people stop attending church. Duin has never married, and did not have a child, until she adopted a little girl when Duin was around the age of 50.

    Even though Duin worked professionally as a journalist for years, was a book author, and I think a harpist, etc, no matter what skill set she offered to put to use at her church for free, her church refused to put her to work at anything.

    A lot of churches are really bad about this, with unmarried women who don’t have kids.

    If you’re not married with a kid and don’t fit the “Martha Stewart home maker” profile, and you lack interest in baking cookies or in baby sitting, churches don’t want you.

    They will not work at finding a way to put your talents, giftings, and skills to use. I think the church loses when that happens.

    Churches need to be more creative at finding ways to use the talents of every one who walks through their doors, and stop trying to peg all women into ‘Mom and Homemaker’ type roles, because some of us just don’t fit that.

    Other people seek me out for this particular skill set I have, some asking me for pro bono work (if it’s for a charity type thing), the rest offer to pay.

    Other people want to use my skills, even if it means paying for them. It’s funny that churches I have gone to, though, haven’t seem interested in using my abilities, not even for free, and it’s quality stuff.

  62. Becky Thatcher wrote:

    one thing Mr. Driscoll is not, is stupid. Women are proving themselves over and over to be the equals of men in the corporate marketing world, and in some cases even superior. Potentates throughout human history have been known to let an ideological tenet or two slip if it can improve the bigger picture for them. Mr. Driscoll may show some pragmatism here after all.

    They have already done so in at least one case. The children’s pastor (man and wife team) who dedicated years of their lives to build the organization’s children’s ministry at the main campus were canned after it was pronounced from on high that (paraphrasing here) ‘the job had outgrown his level of competency.’ And who was then appointed as the new children’s ministry pastor? A woman. Except she was not called a pastor or elder. She was referred to as “Director.” So we can expect to see more “Directors” for sure. So long as they are “humble” and “submitted.”

    Also, thanks to Dave AA for his reference to the WTH website where the marketing issue is also being addressed:
    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/06/mars-hill-is-looking-for-chief-sales.html

  63. @ Daisy:
    Yes, churches are TERRIBLE at this. I am a decent worship leader, but my greatest skillset is in songwriting and encouraging others with my songs. Do you know how many churches I’ve been at that have 0 interest in tapping into that part of what I so (sometimes even working against it, in fact) all the while other churches will hire me and pay me money to go out and minister? And that’s with the gift of music, something the church actually acknowledges as beneficial to the body. Now take some other skill like interior design- forget it. You are out of luck.

    That church I spoke of before really made a big deal about trying to find ways to use the natural gifts of folks, and I thought that was important and very community building.

    And this is all tied in to the point I’m trying to make. I’m really hesitant to say what can or can’t be done in the context of church. I agree Jesus must be at the center, but there are so many gifts in the body and we all have something to bring. I hate to see someone else’s gifts not being utilized because it doesn’t fit other people’s notion of what church is it what is appropriate.

    If you knew me closely, you would know that there are a lot of popular church ministries that I don’t like (and secretly think are missing the point), but I try to be gracious because I know a lot of what I don’t like may be more due to my personality than anything else (for example, door to door evangelism handing out tracts is something I’ve been known to criticize, though I should hold my tongue).

  64. @ Daisy:

    A Post Script to that.
    What grates me is when I hear preachers complain that they “can never get anyone to volunteer! Why won’t people volunteer in church? Why is it so hard to get volunteers?”

    Myself and other unmarried/childless women, and other types of people who don’t fit the “Ward and June Cleaver” (traditional family, married with children) demographic, volunteer out the wazoo (or at least occasionally), but preachers don’t want to use us or our skill sets.

    Maybe they need to think outside the box, or stop trying to stick a round peg in a square hole. Get over your square hole project; you have a round peg. How can you put the round peg to use? Think of something.

    (Even when I tossed out suggestions on how my talents could be used, the church didn’t take me up on it.)

    Anyhow, if you’re not going to take up the volunteers on their efforts to volunteer, please, preachers of America, stop complaining how every one lacks motivation or won’t volunteer.

  65. Jeff S wrote:

    But what does that say about my brothers and sisters in Christ who are really good at marketing and want to use their talents for The Lord?

    Go and work in a marketing company that sells sneakers and use that talent as a way to reach the lost in this world. Why is using it in a church somehow more “godly” than using that talent where the lost are?

    The latest stats on churches show that churches are not attracting the lost. They are merely causing people to shift churches. We need to go where the people are. That is why Matt Redmond’s book, The God of the Mundane is so profound. He left the pulpit to go work in a bank.

  66. @ Jeff S:

    I’m in the middle on the subject. I see where you’re coming from, but also where Dee is coming from.

    I don’t think marketing is inherently evil (I took a marketing class in college, it was interesting), and maybe a small amount is okay or needed for larger churches, but I do think some churches go overboard with it, to the point they appear more concerned about numbers, funding, and branding than they do spreading the Gospel and helping people.

    On Mark Driscoll in particular (this specific post), I have to side a bit more with Dee.

    Given Driscoll’s history, how he uses people to get his own consolidation of power, his sexist views of women, his strange preoccupation with all things sexual, and other things I’ve read here and on other sites, I have a harder time giving him the benefit of the doubt on something like this.

    The one time you’d think a Neo Calvinist guy would go nuts with the lingo (“biblical,” “winsome,” and “gospel centered”) for a church related position, it’s oddly absent.

    It’s true if your career or talents aren’t stereotypically churchy, (such as organ or piano playing or Sunday School teaching), and given most church’s discomfort at dealing with adults who don’t fit the “June and Ward Cleaver” mould, you and your talents will get dismissed.

    I bet laziness is at play, too. Churches cannot be bothered to figure out ways in which unusual talents can be put to use.

    There’s a Christian show called “Building a Difference” where Christian contractors re-build and repair dilapidated homes of seniors and other needy people, and when they are done, they get an interior designer lady to decorate the whole house.

    There is a way a church can put unusual gifts to work, including interior design as that TV show demonstrates (or what I do, which is in another field), but I think churches choose not to.

  67. Jeff S wrote:

    for example, door to door evangelism handing out tracts is something I’ve been known to criticize, though I should hold my tongue)

    Although I do not believe that it is the way to go, I do give them one point. They know that the lost are not coming to church so they are trying to find them.

  68. Yea, but I always say if it were as easy as handing out tracts the world would be saved by now.

  69. dee wrote:

    I wonder how the early church changed the world without a marketing director and clients? They seemed to do a better job than us.

    Back then, the Trinity had three Persons. And at least One of them was present all the time.

  70. @ JustSomeGuy: Totally agree. We must be out in the world, freely sharing our lives and talents instead of hiding out in our churches, paying the pastor to do our job.

  71. Dee seemed somewhat taken back by my British understatement, though I was trying to be charitable 😉

    I’m probably in a similar boat to JeffS here – I’m trying not to be too critical of things I don’t totally empathise with. (Jeff, I hear you re marketing one’s music…. luckily our frontman is very good at that side of things!).

    I think however there is a difference between Christians in the body using their gifts and skills in the church and in their Christian lives, and thinking that the church’s work can somehow be enhanced or even implemented by using a human technique regardless of whether there is any spiritual power in it. (In 1 Cor Paul actually points out his own weaknesses so that the cross of Christ should not be voided of its power). In that, I have a lot of sympathy with Leah’s point of view.

    On the other hand, I don’t think it is especially spiritual or blessed to be deliberately amateurish either. We should offer our best to God. When leading worship, singers and musicians should strive to keep in time and in pitch, simply because not to be so is distracting from worship.

    Just my two cents/pence/kopecks worth.

  72. This is an interesting subject, as are the comments.

    In my former church, my ‘title’ was Leader of Publications. In essence, I was in charge of creating all print media – bulletins, flyers, posters, postcards, newspaper ads, pamphlets, etc. I was also in charges of recording and editing audio only and audio/video recordsings of all services – getting them trimmed, editing out things the pastor didn’t want on the ‘for sale – distributed’ product. I also designed and assembled sermon series DVD and CD sets. The whole point was to market the brand. What was the brand? Faith Heights Church. Why was it better? It had the REAL Jesus. Oy.

    The leaders claimed to be marketing to the unsaved – their primary goal target was the unsaved ‘celebrities.’ But the only people our marketing efforts ever drew in were Christians. Since I left there, I have talked to a lot of people – some who were friends before I went into the koolaid vat – and remain friends now that I’ve come out the other side (they say they knew I would). And so many unchurched people in my community say they wouldn’t go to that church if you paid them….and by the way….that is a ploy they used with the youth ministry – pay your friends to come to church with you. Ugh.

    The general marketing theme was (and still is as far as I can tell) – come to our church and we will teach you how to live above the storms of live and be successful and happy…..blech. Doesn’t work. Never did. It only draws in those Christians (or churched but not Christians) who are desparate for a formula to a quick fix – or to a perfect life. Trouble is, these types of churches don’t offer teaching and support and friendship that will help in healing and growth and maturing into a solid life regardless of the storms life brings. They don’t want to hear what your problems are – lalalalala – shhhh – just follow our formula and your life will always come out right.

    Kripes, I could go on about the ‘dark underbelly of ministry’ as my narcissistic mother calls it – of people who volunteered to come and help the church move into its new and improved building – who didn’t have enough money to feed his family and by his medication, so he fed his family, worked all day in the church, went home and laid down on the living room floor and died…..the inner workings of churches that have this kind of mindset are as ugly as the inner working of corporate America…..

  73. “Clean Sweep: A Religious Southpaw Methodology, Perhaps?”

    What?

    From the Post above: “The Chief Sales and Marketing Officer (CSMO) bridges the gap between high-level visionary leaders and ground-level operations implementers by creating and managing effective organizational structures, communication systems, necessary policies, and strategic plans with a heavy emphasis on communicating the vision of Mars Hill in each of these contexts.”

    huh?

         Deb,

    Hey, 

        Have you considered that you have possibly touched upon the continued outworking mechanics of the Church Growth movement, a movement that has provided some helpful insights to Christian missionary work in the past, but is currently so controlled by pragmatism, commercial marketing, and sociology that it has veered very far from traditional, orthodox Christian teaching and practice, taking a large segment of evangelicalism with it?

    Mark Driscoll, possibly he boxes with a type of religious southpaw methodology?

    At a price?

    Is Driscoll possibally implementing  one of Peter  Drucker’s  core concepts—“management by objectives”, perhaps.  (which has never really been proven to work effectively in a religious environment.) Specifically, a system that is precarious to implement, and that churches who make the attempt, often wind up overemphasizng control, as opposed to fostering, and encouraging a movement of God’s Spirit, and scriptural creativity as well, to meet its goals.

    hmmm…

    If so, I’m afraid he is not alone.

    Sopy
    ___
    Definition: ‘Southpaw’: Antonym of orthodox, a stance whereby the left hand is further forward than the right, whether because the person is left handed or because they prefer thier main hitting hand forward.  -snicker-

  74. @ Daisy:
    I am in total agreement that in this case it is problematic. But I’d say that about a lot more things coming from MD than just marketing.

  75. dee wrote:

    Go and work in a marketing company that sells sneakers and use that talent as a way to reach the lost in this world. Why is using it in a church somehow more “godly” than using that talent where the lost are?

    I didn’t say it was more “godly”. But this “don’t use it in church, use it at your job and serve God there” is the same kind of thing that the lady who did interior design was told, and it pained her, especially when she could see places she could be used. When we are given talents by God, it’s painful to feel we have to leave that part of us at the door. I understand serving through our vocations. I’m a computer programmer and that’s not something I’ve ever used “in the church”, but I don’t feel it’s off limits. If an opportunity arises, that part of me is ready to go and be useful.

    The whole issue of churches not attracting the lost is not the point I’m trying to make. I agree with you. In fact, in general I’d agree with you about all of these churches being run like businesses and being bottom-line focused (where the bottom line is anything other than the glory of God); however, I don’t see hiring a marketing person as a cause or even symptom of the problem. The cause and symptoms are in the pulpits where preachers like MD lift up a pattern of behavior that is antithetical to the Christian faith. Everything flows from that- whether it’s hiring marketing people or doing good works in the community, everything is going to be tainted by having a bully in the pulpit.

    If my church told me they were going to do some marketing tomorrow, I’d have no problem with that because I feel like I know and trust the people in my church that the source of their choices is a place where Jesus is honored. I might ask questions (and I’m confident beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would listen and be willing to answer any that I had), but the idea of this group of people being bottom-line financially motivated is just not consistent with what I know of them at all.

  76. Watz dat Buzz: “improving Da Proverbial Marzhill Mousetrp, Pehaps?”

    hmmm…

     * Je le vois venir avec ses gros sabots…

    “Even the best religious 501c non-profit mousetrap isn’t going to work without improving da cheese.” -Sopy

    -snicker-

    …da mice are on ta their proverbial jailer.

    (grin) 

    Clomp! Clomp!

    Even in the face of trial, the Marzhill mice remained faithful in their fight for religious liberty. To this day, we commend  their willingness to stand up for what’s right.

    ** Mettre en Liberté !

    Yahoooo!

    Sopy
    ___
    * Fr. I see it coming up with its large hooves 
    **Fr. set at liberty! 

  77. There are a couple of other job listings open. If you scroll through them by way of indeed.com the salary range is 160,000+.

    The Resurgence actually is the Mars Hill publishing arm, if memory serves.

    The lead pastor opening at Mars Hill Downtown is to be expected, it was announced that AJ Hamilton was going to be interim Lead Pastor at MH DT until a replacement was found in the wake of Tim Gaydos’ resignation. There have been a few resignations and terminations in the last two years and it would take too long to list all the guys who have left.

  78. Jeff S wrote:

    “don’t use it in church, use it at your job and serve God there” is the same kind of thing that the lady who did interior design was told, and it pained her,

    That is my situation as well.

    If you’re not a cookie baker, or aren’t comfortable around children and you are a woman, there’s not much for you to do in churches. I’ve heard older single childess Christian men say the same thing; churches only want married guys with kids and bar singles from serving in positions of leadership.

    (Ironically, though, a lot of churches do use my particular skill and need it. I guess they’d rather hire outsiders and pay them big bucks instead of using a professional who’s offering her services for free.)

  79. Just remembered when we used to be in a mega church years ago, and later finding out that the leader’s friends had been mentored by Peter Drucker, the economics guru. His vision of Communitarianism, utilizing the Hegelian dialectic process, was to include the Church. Has worked out that way, hasn’t it? Then I remember Jesus’ words, “My house is a house of prayer for all nations!”. How much does prayer cost??? What’s the price tag for the Holy Spirit? (Simon, the sorcerer) This stuff makes me sick.

  80. Good point, Jeff S. The mindset is critical. And just because a church is a mega, doesn’t necessarily make it money driven or that the person in the pulpit is a bully.

  81. Jeff S wrote:

    But this “don’t use it in church, use it at your job and serve God there” is the same kind of thing that the lady who did interior design was told, and it pained her, especially when she could see places she could be used. When we are given talents by God, it’s painful to feel we have to leave that part of us at the door. I understand serving through our vocations. I’m a computer programmer and that’s not something I’ve ever used “in the church”, but I don’t feel it’s off limits. If an opportunity arises, that part of me is ready to go and be useful.

    I think part of the difference in perspective is in how one views or defines “church”.
    It could mean
    1) the specific non-profit organization, the building, the “brand”- basically your specific 501c3- Anytown Community Church, for example, or
    2) all the followers of Christ worldwide, individually and collectively, or
    3) the gospel message of Christ.

    If I’m wondering how to use my talents to contribute to the church and I’m thinking of definition #1, then maybe I don’t have much to contribute. If I’m an expert horticulturist and Anytown Church isn’t interested in any gardening projects, then I may be left feeling like I leave my giftings at the door. (And this may be especially painful when the church makes such a big deal about and even exalts those with traditional ‘churchy’ giftings.)

    But if I envision #2 when I say ‘church’, the possibilities are endless. How many fellow believers in my very own community (even in my own 501c3), not to mention the world over, could benefit from my expertise? How many small business owners in the church could also benefit from some marketing advice as well? Interior design?

    So if we’re talking about furthering the brand of Anytown Community Church, yes, there are limits. If we’re talking about serving the church (#2), all talents have equal opportunity to bless others and share the love of Jesus as we serve one another.

    It seems like so much time, energy and resources are wasted on marketing Anytown Church, ‘getting our name out there’, ‘letting people know who we are and what we’re about’, etc. (I’ve been on many a committee.)

    What if we channeled that energy into honestly loving one another and our communities? The church is built on relationship and you can’t market or manufacture that because then it’s not genuine.

    So all that to say, using your talents outside the church (#1) may be the best way to serve the church (#2) and further the gospel. The gospel is always spread through love and the power of the Holy Spirit.
    The message of Christ cannot be marketed. Individual 501c3s can, and that’s ok to do that, but I just think it’s important to note the difference in marketing a great organization and marketing the church and its message.

  82. dee wrote:

    Jesus was a terrible marketer.
    Take up your cross; I will bring enmity between brothers, Sell all you have and follow me, In this world you will have troubles, You may be martyred,The Son of Man had no place to rest his head (salaries were poor), His buddies were tax collectors, dumb fishermen, prostitutes, etc. Really bad networking companions, All of his followers, except for John (who spent years isolated on an island, died horrible deaths, Do not lay up treasures for yourself here on earth-it comes later (bad for the 401 K)

    Now, if Jesus only had a sales manager, He might have gotten in with the movers and shakers and really done something special.

    Yes, He really seemed to go out of His way to make it as unattractive as possible to be His follower. He was after those who solely wanted HIM and His love, no other attractions/amenities/perks needed.

  83. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “Strong leader” + “detail oriented” = the micro-managing boss from hell.

    Bingo. And right again that this person will not be leading anything. This person will be Mark’s sycophant.

  84. @ Leah:

    If you look at this from the church goer’s side, and not from the church that may or may not be trying to market itself…

    If you are gifted at “X” and looking for a local community (a body of believers) to join who meet at “123 Elm St” in a brick building, and you want to serve with them (and put your gift of X to use), and they won’t let you use X at their church or through their church, it is very frustrating.

    They will (if you’re a woman) inevitably try to steer you back to the kiddie nursery and tell you to babysit.

    If they’re not going to use my awesome widget building capabilities, the only other outlet I can think of is to put up an ad on Craigslist advertising myself for I don’t know who, other churches? Individual Christians who need widgets?

    I really should be able to find some local church who is wiling to use my gifts IMHO. Unless I’m just supposed to show up each Sun. morning to listen to a preacher drone on with a sermon and be a passive audience member of said church? That seems awfully boring, or unfulfilling and a waste of whatever my talents are.

    I thought God gave me a widget- making talent precisely so a local body can use it?

  85. @ Daisy:
    Yes I can imagine that this would be very frustrating and I am sorry that you’ve not been able to share your gifting (a very cool one at that) with your local church.

    There are a few things in our contemporary church culture that probably contribute to that. Firstly, we limit church to what happens in that brick building for 2 hours on Sunday morning, rather than living life together as fellow believers. Secondly, we limit what we consider to be valuable gifts to be those that serve or promote what happens on Sunday morning. And thirdly, we emphasize ‘service’ over relationship. These combined leave us with the impression that we better serve in some way to make that 2 hour church service happen, or we’re not valuable to the church.

    I would first seek to be in a community of believers who values you, not for how you serve or what gifts you bring, but simply because you are a fellow child of God, a sister in Christ, a part of His body in whom He dwells. I would try to build relationships not based on your service, but on your personhood. I’m sure that you have much more to give (simply your friendship, your experience of Christ, etc.) in addition to your practical giftings. In that relational community should come a desire for others to see you use those practical giftings for the benefit of the body and an effort made to give you opportunity to do that.

    If God has given you a desire to serve others by making widgets, then I would be very open to what other possible avenues there may be for that, be it other individual Christians, small business owners, parachurch organizations, etc. You don’t have to be limited to that brick building on Sunday morning. And yes, sitting passively every week listening to a pastor drone is both boring and unfulfilling and quite unlike what was going on in the early church where all members were functioning in their giftings.

  86. @ Leah:
    Your arguments are coming very close to those given to women who are frustrated that they are not allowed to preach in church.

    When I talk about “church” I am talking about the small body that meets together on Sunday mornings for worship- that body of believers that is my local community. If I am not mistaken, the local body is usually what is in view in the NT when the body is discussed.

    And just because a body does not value me based on my ability to serve does not mean I don’t WANT to serve. I remember when I came to my current church that the first week I was there they were putting out chairs and I felt blessed to be able to help with that, almost to the point of tears. At my previous church there was no area where I could serve, and that was actually fine for where I was (they emphasized they just wanted me to be a recipient of their love and support, as I was going through my divorce and had been rejected by the church before that), but the desire to serve and be used was still there. I think that is part of our makeup and a healthy attitude when we get together with other believers.

    The local body goes way beyond a 2 hour worship service. So much of the “church” that happens in my local body happens during the week with community and such. It takes a lot of work to make those things happen with people from different skill sets, and I am glad there are people who go through the effort to do it.

    And there’s a nice sign that they put out in front of the school where we meet every weekend. Someone with marketing skills developed that sign, and it does a good job of letting people know the church is there. Good for whoever did the work- I wonder if it was a member of the church or something the church paid to have done. I don’t know.

    What I’m really reacting to is this: there are lots of people with lots of critical things to say about how gifts are used in the local body, especially if it doesn’t line up with their views of what the local body ought to look like. RC Sproul is very clear when he preaches about contemporary musical instruments and songs being something he considers to be bowing down to the culture and taking away from a Jesus focused church. Imagine how that makes me feel when I spend a great deal of time and effort using my musical skills to create contemporary worship. He accuse people like me of bowing to the culture, when in truth my heart is nothing like that. I make that kind of music because it is my voice- the one God gave me. I feel privileged to be able to use that skill in church. But once I heard him talk about someone coming into HIS church and accusing him because he has paintings in the sanctuary. Yes, everyone has their critics when they don’t line up with their image of what “church” ought to look like.

    Why do we need to criticize the methods people use to worship Jesus, when it is the hearts that matter? If people think utilizing direct mailers or whatever to worship and they are earnest, why criticize? If you don’t like that, then there are a gazillion other churches out there where you can go and be comfortable. In fact, I don’t like mega churches and I don’t like churches that utilize that kind of marketing, so I don’t go to one. But I don’t deny that God has used some mega churches or marketing.

    I totally get the idea that there are a lot of churches that do what they do because it is “cool” or “popular”. The prohibition against this attitude in scripture is very clear- check out Leviticus 10 for an example of what happens when people decide to worship for what they want rather than the exaltation of God. But how is an attitude like this revealed? I think this is where our difference lies. RC Sproul sees contemporary worship indicative of being an “Nadab and Abihu” type attitude, whereas his detractor thought it was having paintings in the church. To you it is apparently the use of marketing. For me I am just more hesitant to say, because I think all of those things can be fine or they can be bad fruit flowing from self-serving motives. Marketing can definitely be a distraction away from Jesus, as can contemporary music, as can paintings. It can ALL be idolatry. The road to fixing idolatry isn’t one of prohibiting which gifts are used in the context of the local body, but of aligning our hearts with Jesus and making our motives the same as HIS motives.

    I realize that we are probably at an impasse here- I hope this is a beneficial discussion and not one where we are just deadlocked and talking at each other. I’m totally fine with dropping this and agreeing to disagree if we think we are past the point of constructive conversation.

  87. @ Leah:

    I wanted both. Relationships and to serve in some way, but can’t really get either.

    I don’t fit in among Christians as a 40 something, never married, no kids person, since most Christians who go to church are married with kids and cannot related to an older lady with no husband or they do not want to relate.

    I have been thinking of leaving the Christian faith due to different reasons (which I’ve explained in older posts on this blog before).

    After my Mom died, Christians I went to at local churches for support and some Christian relatives judged, criticized, lectured, etc, even after I made it clear I really needed their emotional support. (Some of the relatives brushed me off.)

    That is one reason of several I’m giving up on the faith, the insensitivity I got from Christians after Mom died. Christians at most churches don’t seem interested in genuine fellowship or in helping people.

    Don’t know if I will stay a Christian or not or go to a new church. If I do go to a new church, they have to put my skills to use.

  88. Stuff Christian Culture Likes: #233 Giving Kiosks

    With the way tithing has been cramping our cyberactive lifestyles, we had to know we’d live to see the Giving Kiosk.
    Forged by Mother Necessity/megachurch-era capitalism, these glowing monoliths of conviction are humming in lobbies of evangelical churches across North America.
    You may now foist over your firstfruits anytime, anywhere. Your excuses have vanished ascension-style.

  89. @ Daisy

    hmmm…

    …sounds like a cry for help ta me.

    —-> it’s about Jesus silly, dump da proverbial pity party cr@p, say a prayer, n’ jump ta LIGHT speed.

    people can b  so full of escrement…

    You know dat.

    Get over it, already.

    …over forty, not husband, no kids, 

    And now  possibly no church, as well?

    All choices. YOURS.

    Life is not entirely about you, remember?

    Stop being silly,

    Jesus offered you eternal life.

    Who and the heck cares what other folk are offerin’

    tired of ponying up to da pew, perhaps?

    Find a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, or a community food bank ta give of your time. They will love you for it…

    JUST THE WAY U R.

    savvy?

    ATB

    (love cuz He most certainly does)

    Sopy

  90. Jeff S wrote:

    @ No More Perfect:
    So here’s the thing I struggle with. There ARE legitimate reasons to run ministries like a business, or to at least combine the two. Take, for instance, my work as a musician. Now it isn’t a PROFITABLE business, but I do charge money and work at it. I do marketing. I do some things that aren’t very overtly Christian, but all with the goal of reaching people and ministering to them (but only I know that for sure, because you can’t see into my soul to know my motivations). Now I’m not a church, and honestly I don’t owe anyone an explanation because it is my time and effort I pour into this, but there are definitely aspects to the whole thing that are very secular in nature. I would love it if I could just write songs about my faith and let that be the end of it, but it isn’t. If I want people to hear the songs, I have to engage in marketing and business (things which I loathe).
    I think there’s always going to be tension when ministries get involved in promotion and marketing. But where is the line? I think the real line is in people’s hearts- why are they making the choices that they are? Are they building up kingdoms for themselves, or are they earnestly seeking to use the tools and talents God has given them in a way that makes sense in the culture.
    I struggle with this a lot. I have a CD coming out in less than two months and I’m trying to make decisions about where to spend money in marketing and promotion. I’m talking to a lot of secular folks as part of this, folks whose only goal is to make money, not to see people lifted up and encouraged (which is my goal). I’m all the time having to check myself and see if I’m just getting too wrapped up in the “game” of it all.
    So I’m sympathetic to folks who are attempting to combine secular and sacred with the goal of doing ministry. I’m sure people get it wrong all of the time (and I have no trust for MH), but I also would hate to start taking stances against using techniques and ideas on which scripture is silent.

    I actually think I agree with you. 😉 However, the difference I see between what YOU do and what MH does is all down to what the purpose of the marketing is. You market because it is necessary in order to reach those who need your songs. Really, marketing is needed for virtually everything these days. IMHO, Mars Hill markets not because they want to reach the lost but because they need more “clients.” Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, are, in my opinion, spiritually abusive. So yes, I have a problem because in my eyes, they are marketing in order to bring more people under their wings in order to continue that abuse.

    Their really is no similarity in your use of marketing and theirs in that your bottom reason for marketing is to show Jesus and their reason for marketing is to use Jesus. Big difference!

    I do know of a few mega churches who use marketing in the right manner: to attract people to Christ. Unfortunately, I know more that use marketing in the way MH does. This really goes for any church, though. What is the purpose in marketing?

    I am not sure if this is making any sense. For some reason I tend to lose brain cells in the third trimester and so what sounds okay in my head does not translate well into comments. 🙂

    Bless you, Jeff, for your music ministry! I know God is using it for good!

  91. Leah wrote:

    But if I envision #2 when I say ‘church’, the possibilities are endless. How many fellow believers in my very own community (even in my own 501c3), not to mention the world over, could benefit from my expertise?

    I think it even goes further. Our gifts are meant to draw others to the faith. So many think that it must be done in the context of a church-Sunday school, church service, etc.

    Take your horticulturist. This person opens a business. People are impressed with her talent and she draws in many people. She uses her love of nature to start a small Bible study at her business which focuses on the creativity of God. Or, she finds out a favorite client is sick and makes a beautiful arrangement as a gift to cheer them up. Her ministry ay far exceed that of her church in reaching the lost. As we have documented on TWW, churches are not attracting nonbelievers-merely causing transfers between churches.

    I have come to find the institutional church a bit stifling although i attend church. My greatest expression of ministry is found outside of Sundays.

  92. In the church I am currently still a member at, though no longer attending, when I went before the elders to take my membership vows, they asked what gifts I had to bring to the church. I named several, ranging from computer savvy, website building, blog building, library resources, etc. I never mentioned anything having to do with children such as nursery or Sunday school because, while I love caring for my own kids, I do not enjoy watching the children of others.

    Two days later I got an email from the nursery coordinator. “So and so Elder called me to let me know you were interested in working in the nursery! When can we pencil you in to the rotation?”

    Sigh.

    It seems like because I am married and have children, I have “Can only work in the nursery” written on my forehead.

  93. @ Jeff S: I am going to disagree with you on this one-in particular the “sales manager” job at Mars Hill.

    The church is failing in America. We have lost our voice in the culture. People are fleeing the church. The harder we try to do it like Wall Street, the more we are finding that we are not attracting the lost, merely causing transfer of Christians from one church to another.

    I saw it in my own community. A mega (Neo-Reformed) moved in, advertised heavily, selling their product and then rejoiced at the “mighty work of God” because 1000 college kids turned up on the first Sunday. All those kids did was shift churches. So, said pastor merely decimated the college ministry of other churches who were doing a decent job but couldn’t compete with the hype. He has a great sales manager!

    We are not marketing a new brand of tomato soup here. We are not creating clients. We are not “selling” the gospel.The face of the church is being defined by the tactics of Joel Osteen and Ed Young Jr. Some of the Neo Reformed megas have studied the tactics of those that they denigrate, like Young and Osteen. Yeah, you get them in but what you get is a shallow faith, if there is faith at all.

    Go to the local Reformed megachurch. You can get your hip coffee, your adorable greeters, the “almost professional” music leader, etc. The vast majority of those folks were at other churches but are now at the cool church. They have been sold on a product.

    Oh yeah, while we are praising the Lord, we pass the plate of which 70%+ goes to support pastoral salaries and benefits and a new category I have learned about-retention money. Certainly don’t want the face of the church traipsing off to another city and building a rival church now. Another chunk goes to supporting ad campaigns, sales manager, cute coffee mugs with logos to give to visitors, postcards with semi- porn pictures telling us to come hear Pastor Fred talk about hot sex, and incredible speakers to blow the first three rows out of the church. I have saved a couple of postcards that that I have received which are downright ridiculous.

    The gospel of our Lord does not require us to “sell it.” The Holy Spirit does that just fine. The more we look like an ad for CarMax, the more we will draw in those who are looking for a great deal. When they don’t get it they will move over to the next great campaign like watching Ed Young sleep with Lisa on the top of the church building. Then, the Neo crowd will start their “We too have hot wives” campaign. I’ve been watching it.

    And now, my rant is finished. We will continue this topic today in a post as we look at more “job” listings.

  94. @ Anon: Quick note: WTH alerted us to his posts and we told him we would do some posts on it. WTH is the most accurate documenter of all things Mars Hill. His information is invaluable.

  95. @ dee:

    I always thought that all the money mega churches use on marketing and looking flashy could be used on the needy, poor, abused, etc. I’d be interested to see if a church did that and I would not be surprised if the church grew exponentially. If, as the Body of Christ, we are feeding and clothing and loving, we can win people over with actions alone. Thoughts?

  96. No More Perfect wrote:

    So and so Elder called me to let me know you were interested in working in the nursery! When can we pencil you in to the rotation?”

    I had the same problem. I did my time for a couple of years .Thankfully, I got involved in teaching church history. I find I can manage a class of 75 adults far better than 30 toddlers bent on creating mayhem.

  97. Dee — I’ve seen those postcards too. Outreach.com has some interesting choices if you search for Pure Sex or Porn Sunday.

  98. @ No More Perfect: I am with you. That is why we have shifted out giving away from the local church (9 Marks leaders are now having seizures) and put it towards parachurch ministries.
    I tire of the amount of money going to salaries in the church. Many of those functions could, and should be, taken over by the laity. Instead, we pay professionals.

  99. Janey wrote:

    Pure Sex or Porn Sunday.

    I wonder how much they paid the marketing manager and graphics specialist to print up this nonsense? And I am supposed to tithe for this garbage?

  100. @ dee:
    I don’t disagree with your overall view of the mega church and how the “gospel” is being commercialized. I’m just sensitive to judging a church based on what gifts it seeks to use. I don’t think marketing is inherently evil even if a huge number of churches abuse it.

    I’m also not against a church that grows past a core mission into other areas of ministry, including book publishing or whatever.

    I have to think that even the smallest, most humble churches in the US would probably look like extravagant palaces compared to churches in the past or in third world countries. A lot of this is just due to technological and cultural differences. I think we should be free to go wherever we feel the Holy Spirit is leading us, and allow others the same freedoms. If the fruit is bad (for example, stealing Christians rather than making new ones), then that is certainly something to criticize. But I don’t think you can draw a straight line between this bad fruit and the hiring of marketing people, as you are doing. The line between the bad fruit goes directly to the pulpit and the message that is being preached.

    Anyway, I’m cool with agreeing to disagree.

  101. And, FWIW, I appreciate the forum to openly disagree without people being hateful. My guess is that we really aren’t that far apart anyway.

  102. dee wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck: Kind of like the Holy Spirit being present at all times in the believers.

    Precisely. But we don’t need the Holy Spirit living in us today, obviously, because He is eternally present in the Scriptures™. Indeed, tbh, I’m uncomfortable with any discussion of the “Trinity” or with the “person” of God at all; belief in “God” as such could detract from a full and perfect reliance on the sufficiency of Scripture™.

  103. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Kind of like the Holy Spirit being present at all times in the believers.
    Precisely. But we don’t need the Holy Spirit living in us today, obviously, because He is eternally present in the Scriptures™. Indeed, tbh, I’m uncomfortable with any discussion of the “Trinity” or with the “person” of God at all; belief in “God” as such could detract from a full and perfect reliance on the sufficiency of Scripture™.

    Ha! Isn’t that the truth. Love your humor, Nick. Too bad there is such an element of truth to it!

  104. @ No More Perfect:

    This particular one was prompted by a short article in “Christianity” magazine (the UK one – not to be confused with Christianity Today). It simply posed the question: Are tongues for today? followed by two short pieces, one by someone saying yes and the other saying no.

    The lassie who does use tongues is heavily involved in a fairly large UK-based church planting movement here in Blighty. She gave a brief overview of her understanding of the bible on the topic, including addressing one or two common objections to tongues for today. She also described a particular episode where prayer in tongues was followed by specific results (though she used the more spiritual word “fruit”).

    The “no” article was by Doug Wilson. All he basically said was, tongues aren’t for today and I don’t like them because the idea seems to undermine the sufficiency of scripture. It’s easy to look down on reasoning that leads to a conclusion with which one does not agree, of course, but I’m quite good at seeing contrary points of view and I could see no substance to his answer at all. There might be a strong case against tongues (and I am quite convinced that a proportion of “praying in tongues” is just charismatic liturgical habit made up by the speaker), but he didn’t present it.

  105. Leah wrote:

    he church, the gospel, the Christian life, the christian faith, have all been turned into a commodity to be bought and sold. Churches (that follow this model) are simply corporations that sell the above mentioned commodities.

    Perhaps they should no longer be tax-exempt, then? I personally favor taxing the income of churches as any corporation, and giving a 200% tax-deduction for any true charitable activity, like running a church-sponsored soup-kitchen or homeless center. The point of the church tax-exemption was that churches often perform charitable activities that help society as a whole. How about rewarding them for that, instead of for building their new, multi-million dollar “worship center.”

  106. If those who run churches read their Bibles they’d see church is for Christians to meet together. It’s not to attract the unsaved, hoping to save them in the church buildings. Christians in churches (including those that meet in home groups and rented spaces)should be getting equipped to go out and reach others and if others become Christians, then they are invited to join the fellowship of believers that meet together.

  107. gimpi1 wrote:

    he point of the church tax-exemption was that churches often perform charitable activities that help society as a whole. How about rewarding them for that, instead of for building their new, multi-million dollar “worship center.”

    Great comment.

  108. Shannon H. wrote:

    It’s not to attract the unsaved, hoping to save them in the church buildings

    Well stated. In fact, statistics bear up the fact that relatively no one is getting “saved” inside the church

  109. @ Jeff S:
    @ Daisy:
    I really want to respond to both of you but will probably have to wait until a little later. My 4 year old just colored on her shirt with mascara and ate half a box of Altoids while I was reading your comments, so I’m not ignoring you; i may just have to delay the convo until I get a better chance to give it my attention. 🙂

  110. @ Sopwith:

    If I understood your post right, it contains a lot of the cliches and platitudes that hurt.

    I’m not sure if that was your advice to me, or if you were lampooning and summarizing the insensitive attitudes and comments I got from other believers during my time of grief and in regards to being a single in a church that idolizes marriage.

    I’ve tried the soup kitchen thing, and it was actually depressing.

    I needed a Christian to weep with me when I was weeping, as the Bible instructs Christians to do.

    Giving me cliche’s, telling me to pray, trust in Jesus, and all the rest was hurtful.

    Once church lady was really bad about that, too, even after I told her what I was going through – I got the “Just pray more!” and “Trust in the Lord” type comments from her and in a sickening sun shiney happy clappy voice.

    It’s these kinds of sentiments and reactions that keep me away from churches, and it’s not just me.

    I went to forums for Christians in grief and saw the same stories, churches and Christians who don’t help people who are in grief.

    I’ve also seen numerous stories from other older singles about being overlooked or insulted by the marriage obsessed Christian culture one finds in most churches. It’s not just me that notices this stuff.

  111. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    😯

    “The “no” article was by Doug Wilson. All he basically said was, tongues aren’t for today and I don’t like them because the idea seems to undermine the sufficiency of scripture.” Nick B

    In that case, I suppose scripture saves you as well? Scripture above all else! Actually, there needn’t be an either/or as in tongues or scripture. What a silly thing to believe. Well, on the other hand, Wilson can control the authority of scripture (through his own interpretations) better than he can control the Holy Spirit. Looking at it this way, I can see why “he” would prefer scripture. I think I’ll start praying for the Holy Spirit to be poured out in his congregation. Maybe some will speak in tongues 🙂

  112. dee wrote:

    Shannon H. wrote:
    It’s not to attract the unsaved, hoping to save them in the church buildings
    Well stated. In fact, statistics bear up the fact that relatively no one is getting “saved” inside the church

    Dee – I cannot agree with what I think you’re implying here. The great advantage of working exclusively to a model that involves people “getting saved” inside the church building is that the anointed man of God can lead them to the Lord personally, and set their salvation to the credit of his own ministry.

    If we encouraged the hoi polloi to demonstrate, and explain, good news about Jesus to their friends, it would undermine anointed ministries like Park Fiscal and convince any little nobody in the church that he or (God forbid) she had an evangelist’s ministry. This is the sort of nonsense that goes on in Bill Johnson’s church, and I’m sure you’re aware that he’s a heretic. Some of the great unwashed, lacking in the humility that comes from proper theological qualification, might think they were leading people to the Lord when in fact they were deceived through improper doctrine.

    As a friend of mine here put it: “I’ll stick with Mark Driscoll. He’s saved 10,000 people in Seattle alone”. How would great men like Fiscal save their tens of thousands if you had your way?

  113. @ Leah: I’m glad it was only Altoids (though I had to look up what they are as we don’t have them over here).

    My 10-year-old just washed up the glasses and my 13-year-old set the table for dinner. I remember the days when they were 4, though.

  114. BTW – I should explain that some of the flippancy of my comments this evening (at least, it’s evening in the UK) springs from the rather nice bottle of Cava that Lesley and I had with dinner. And I’d be lying if I said we’d shared it equally. In vino veritas, as the Romans used to say.

    In other news, my sports physio informs me that my shin splints are not serious enough to stop me from running and, indeed, said it would be counter-productive not to carry on. Result!

  115. Daisy wrote:

    Giving me cliche’s, telling me to pray, trust in Jesus, and all the rest was hurtful.

    Yes, this betrays the pain with a simplistic answer. Notice that the pattern in scripture is not for God to give us answers, but to give us his presence.

    Job never God answers, but he got God’s presence.
    The incarnation’s defining features is God giving us his presence.
    The Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended is again God’s presence with us.

    The whole “deny pain and trust the answers I give you” shtick that most Christians give (who, btw, have no idea what real pain is) is very hurtful.

    A chorus from a song I wrote years ago:

    “I still hope, and I still pray
    I’ll be holding on yet another day
    I still feel hurt and I still feel pain
    But only hope remains”

    And the bridge from that song:

    “They see purpose that I don’t see
    They give me reasons that I don’t need
    They tell me things that I should believe
    But I will only wait”.

    Now before you accuse me of more platitudes, my concept of being in that place where I “hope and pray” is one where there is REAL pain and the hoping and praying doesn’t make it go away. It’s the activity I engage in despite the pain because I do believe in the end that the pain will ultimately pass away and only the object of my hope will remain. So when I wait on the Lord, it’s not something that immediately makes everything better, but it’s an exercise of my faith.

    The beginning of the song:
    “At the end of my rope, I’m losing this fight
    I can’t see straight I’m stumbling and I’ve lost my sight
    I guess I should feel joy and rise above this mess,
    But I can’t lie and I won’t put on a mask of righteousness”.

    The whole point I’m trying to make is, the church often puts us into the position of wearing masks so we can live up to these false expectations of how we are to suffer. I may smile through the tears, but if I do it’s not because of platitudes or a quick fix- it’s that sometimes I do get glimpses of the end while I’m still in pain, and that view can bring me great joy. But whether I can smile or not is for me to determine, not some external expectation.

    If you are interested in hearing the song:

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/only-hope-remains/

  116. @ Bridget:
    FWIW, the idea that prophecy and tongues are no longer practiced because we now have the canonized scripture is a very common belief. I didn’t read the article by Wilson (who I do not support in any way), but if that was his justification, well stated or not, it’s not a fringe line of reasoning.

  117. dee wrote:

    I think it even goes further. Our gifts are meant to draw others to the faith. So many think that it must be done in the context of a church-Sunday school, church service, etc.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong for a Christian to use their talents outside the church. That is fine.

    However, it’s not just Non-Christians who aren’t going to church, it’s people who have been Christians for years.

    I referenced the book “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin in a post above. Duin mentions in her book that a lot of seasoned Christians, people 30 and older, who have been a Christian for years, have dropped out too, and they are not returning.

    The mature Christians who drop out of local, established, brick building congregations are forming “house churches,” while others are just staying at home alone reading their Bibles.

    One reason is that churches are not putting the talents of those people to use in the local church.

    For single women, it’s particularly bad. Women are already limited to what roles they can play in most churches, due to biblical gender role teachings, and prejudices against singles, so married women (who are considered more mature than singles) are, in some churches, permitted more roles to serve than a single (same is true for single men).

    The Duin book mentions that lots of these Christian women cease attending local church and start up their own charity organizations, or they join para-church groups to put their giftings to use – because local churches will not.

    That seems redundant to me, and a waste of time/ effort. A woman should not have to leave her local body to put her skill set to use.

    I’m not against Christians using their skills outside the church, but they need to be used within a local body, as well.

    Church has become this spectator sport, where it’s run by a preacher and a handful of guys. The rest of the people sit there passively on a Sunday morning listening and not participating.

    Even if you try to participate, by volunteering to do thus- and- so, the preacher or staff smile but say, “no thank you.”

    There’s actually another trend going on in Christian circles the last ten, twenty years called “seeker driven” or “seeker friendly,” which is driving mature Christians away from churches or from Christianity altogether.

    In these seeker friendly churches, the preacher and the church staff only want to attract Non-Christians.

    They say church is for un-saved people, not for those already saved (I disagree).

    So they make Sunday morning church services and other church functions into entertainment spectacles, with rock bands and free coffee.

    These seeker- friendly pastors actually go on record as saying from their pulpit, or in interviews, that they want Non Christians at their churches and do not care about “feeding the sheep” (those who are already Christian).

    These preachers mock and ridicule spiritually mature Christians who approach them and say they need and want deeper teaching. The mature ones feel neglected.

    The focus on attracting only Non Christians results in very watered- down, silly sermons and teachings that sometimes emphasize the basics of the faith repeatedly (when the Bible says you are to eventually move beyond milk and into solid foods).

    If you are a 30 or 40- year- old Christian who already understands about sin and Christ’s atonement, then hearing the shallow sermons every week, either about basic theological topics, or the practical, tip- filled sermons (“how to be successful in your career!”) leaves a more mature Christian empty.

    (And actually, a lot of these seeker friendly preachers don’t even teach the basics of the Gospel. They prefer teaching life lessons based on clips they show during church from Hollywood movies.)

    So a lot of older, committed Christians have already walked out the church.

    These Non Christian people are showing up to such churches because these churches put on cool laser shows and rock band shows on a Sunday morning, and the preachers don’t mention uncomfortable topics such as sin, Hell, and the need for a savior.

    I’m not against entertainment in a church, or against laser shows or rock bands, or sermons with practical tips, or trying to attract Non Christians to a church, but I think there should be a balance between solid sermons and entertainment, as well as feeding the sheep, vs. only caring about reaching un-saved people. Too many churches fall into one extreme or the other.

    The seeker friendly guys, to attract the Non-Christians, get into tacky, bawdy stunts, such as putting beds on their church roofs for marriage sermons, or putting stripper poles in the church sanctuary.

    I sometimes disagree with Chris Rosebrough on some topics, but I tend to agree with him that the seeker friendly stuff is doing more harm than good, and he regularly highlights this on his daily “Fighting for the Faith / Pirate Radio” podcast.

    Rosebrough regularly broadcasts (audio clips) of sermons directly from preachers saying the most unbelievable things- preachers admitting they don’t care an iota about people who are already Christian, for example.

    He wrote this page, which summarizes the problem:
    For whom do pastors exist?

    The church exists not only to reach the lost (Great Commission), but also as a support group – for believers to help and teach other believers – as well as to do good works (feed orphans) and other things.

    The methods being used to attract Non-Christians to churches are the very same ones repelling mature Christians to leave churches.

  118. No More Perfect wrote:

    It seems like because I am married and have children, I have “Can only work in the nursery” written on my forehead.

    Yep, I relate, and I’ve never married and never had children.

    I am not comfortable around babies and children, so I’d prefer not working in a church nursery or teaching kiddie Sunday school.

    My interests and skills don’t match ‘Susie Homemaker’ interests, and most churches (based on my experience and those of other women I’ve seen) have no other services or roles for a woman to play.

    I don’t think most churches have caught on yet that we’re not living in 1954 anymore.

  119. @ dee:

    I do agree with much of what you wrote there. But I do think churches need to also be concerned with holding on to the already-saved too and not go overboard-nuts with obsessing on how to attract Non Christians or how to look hip and cool to Non Christians, as they have been doing with the seeker-friendly models.

  120. No More Perfect wrote:

    If, as the Body of Christ, we are feeding and clothing and loving, we can win people over with actions alone

    That, and Christians helping other people within their own congregations can do that as well.

    I heard a Non Christian lady (who is in a U.F.O. type religious cult) say she admires Mormons (she was at one time a Mormon) because “they take care of each other.”

    She said if you’re a single mother, for example, the Mormon church members of your local Mormon group will pay your rent, put shoes on your kids’ feet, give you food, that sort of thing.

    And that is one thing the Bible says Christians are to do for Christians in their local body, but many often times do not!

    If you are a Christian who goes to another Christian in a time of need (financial, emotional, whatever it is), you will often times, instead of receiving free food, money, or empathy, receive lectures, platitudes, you will be shamed, guilted, told you are too self- preoccupied go out and help others, etc.

    I’ve had this happen to me personally and have seen other Christians on other blogs say the same thing, whether they were in grief over a death, had to divorce an abusive husband, suffering from depression, etc.

    If Christians actually helped other Christians, Christianity might look very appealing to the un-saved.

  121. @ Jeff S:

    Thank you for sharing.

    In the first few years after my mother passed, I merely wanted someone to sit with me while I cried, to listen as I talked about the loss.

    But Christians didn’t want to do that; they wanted to offer advice, issue platitudes, or judge me. (My handful of Non-Christian online acquaintances were far more supportive and sensitive during that ordeal but some of them couldn’t get online to talk with me often.)

    Sometimes Non-Christians or secular resources are better at showing understanding than Christians, such as this page about grief (unless these people are Christians, but I see no mention of that on their “about” page):
    Supporting a Grieving Person

  122. @ Daisy:
    As the joke goes:

    Church Member: Man, I love this church- I know people here have my back, will listen to me no matter how insignificant my problem, and always show me compassion. I don’t know how I’d get by without you guys.

    Bartender: Yeah, but the problem is, you’re sitting in a bar, not a church!

  123. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Maybe some will speak in tongues
    Bridget – I would love to be a fly on the wall…

    I guess I’ll have to visit the Kirk once again… I can even interpret!
    10,000 people in Seattle alone? I was just there after several years away, and it’s remarkably unchanged. Seemed just like the “most unchurched city in America” it was pre-Driscoll. In fact, I drove by one of the Martians’ building acquisitions– an enormous, old (by Pacific NW standards,) urban structure needing millions in repairs. I’d worked there many years ago for the old congregation– now tiny and heretical but well-off. The building is as unchanged as a Hobbit with a secret trinket. No work has begun at all. The Martian Campus plant may be having trouble getting traction.

  124. @ gimpi1:

    ….and giving a 200% tax-deduction for any true charitable activity, like running a church-sponsored soup-kitchen or homeless center. The point of the church tax-exemption was that churches often perform charitable activities that help society as a whole. How about rewarding them for that, instead of for building their new, multi-million dollar “worship center.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    yeah!

    (too tired to come up with more)

  125. @ dee: Everything you just said has a LOT to do with why I went back to the Lutheran church… or why I might have chosen to become Episcopalian.

    To my mind, it seems that evangelicals are obsessed with “saving” the so-called ‘lost’ – but not with simply being the body of Christ, for each other and for everyone with whom they have any kind of interaction. This whole thing about “saving souls” really bothers me – is praying a canned prayer the answer? Nope. Is going to church service the answer? No, and no.

    Faith isn’t something that can be restricted like that. and I would have to say that even the faithful are “lost” at various times in their (our?) lives, often more so than many who have other beliefs – or none in particular.

    Who on earth would want to join a group of inturned, self-congratulatory people who act like they score points for their team when people “get saved”? Salvation is, I’d suggest, a lifelong process that never stops, and that, in so many case, can’t be pinpointed as starting at a precise moment in time. Not everyone gets knocked to the ground like Paul – in fact, I think he’s likely an exception in many, many ways.

    I do not believe Jesus ever spoke to people as if he expected them to turn up for an altar call or “make a decision” – or whatever other kinds of phrases people use. He did ask some to follow him, but following is also a process. Yes, there’s a point at which people answered his invitation to “come and see,” but I just don’t think that’s necessarily the same thing at all as what most evangelicals mean by “getting saved.”

    Maybe we should just be honest and strike the name “church” off places like MH – they’re In-Group Clubs for those who wish to be considered members of the in group. No less, and likely no more – though I wish it were otherwise.

    I’ll take Catholicism’s understanding of the Church Universal over evangelicalism’s “Say a prayer, behave and you’re saved” superficiality any day of the week.

    OK, I’m way off in rant territory and had better stop, though I have one other request or all you evangelical folks out there: please, please start using normal English and not church/religious jargon. It makes people feel like you want them outside your circle, whether you realize it or not. (A major step forward for me – that I can identify, at least – was to stop using insiders’ language. I had to shed a LOT of churchified stuff in order to get to a point where I felt free enough to know that God isn’t confined to charismatic/evangelical culture – even though, inside, I’d known that all along. But it sure was freeing to be able to set all the superficial badges of belonging aside!)

  126. @ numo: P.S.: No offense intended per all of you good people out there who are evangelical but *don’t* act or think like this. There are a lot of you, which give me some hope.

    fwiw, I do think that churches that practice infant baptism often have more balanced views about what it means to be part of a church (the body of Christ) and to live a life of faith, but your mileage may vary. I’m just throwing that out on the table so that folks can see that there’s more to it all that focusing on trying to herd people inside the doors and get them to “make a profession of faith.” If that’s the primary focus, you’ve kind of stopped yourselves before you’ve even gotten started, imo, at least.

  127. @ Jeff S: That’s quite true. Indeed, some variation on that theme (i.e. the manifestations of the Spirit have been superseded by scripture) is the reasoning that underpins most variations on the cessationist theme as far as I know. I’m sure many points on that spectrum are represented among the TWW regulars, since Deebs did not set the blog up in order to nail their colours to the glossalogical fence.

    It was interesting that Wilson made no attempt to justify his position from scripture at all. He seemed to take it for granted that his readership would know that tongues weren’t for today. Which raises a sad possibility: that he really doesn’t know who else is out there beyond his own circle.

    P.S. For any readers who are wondering: no, “glossalogical” is not a real word! But – and I say this as respectfully as I can – very few actual theological terms would be considered real words anywhere else.

  128. Jeff S wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    FWIW, the idea that prophecy and tongues are no longer practiced because we now have the canonized scripture is a very common belief. I didn’t read the article by Wilson (who I do not support in any way), but if that was his justification, well stated or not, it’s not a fringe line of reasoning.

    I’m aware that many people believe that scripture has replaced prophecy and tongues. I just don’t see where the scripture actually says that those gifts have ceased, yet other gifts should and have continued. I’m not trying to knock their view.

    Maybe we should look at the experience of people who do have those gifts and what it is like for them as they listen to comments and writings of a similar vein. They sit in churches that scoff at their gifts, without these churches even hearing their testimony of receiving such a gift, and it’s implied that the idea of prophecy and tongues undermines the sufficiency of scripture. I’ve heard this quite a bit actually. It’s not pleasant to be accused of such things, or of being “charismatic” (mostly used in a demeaning way these days.) John McCarther(sp?) is apparently putting on an entire seminar to refute these gifts. The Pyro guys constantly make fun of “charismatics.” FWIW – I don’t care for the term myself.

    I do believe the gifts of prophecy and tongues still exist, though they have been abused and misused. BUT every other gift has been abused as well, even the offices (as they are now called) of elders (which now includes pastors, ministers, priests, etc.) and teachers. At the moment, there is just as much misuse of the “elder” and “teacher” gifts as there was/is of the gifts of prophecy and tongues. Should we throw those giftings out the door as well?

  129. @ Bridget:

    P.S. I didn’t see Nick’s reply above before I responded. I wasn’t intending to “pile on” with my response. Please don’t take my comment that way 😉

  130. @ Bridget:
    I’m iffy about the label “charismatic” as well. In particular because, although time and time again the 1-Corinthians-14 gifts are called “the charismata”, this is completely wrong. Grrrr.

    Paul describes tongues/prophecy etc as manifestations (phaneroses) of the spirit. The real grace gifts or “charismata” are the ones in Romans 12 – prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading and showing mercy.

    In other news: Wee Laura has beaten Marina Erakovic (though, apparently, rather in the manner of England winning a football match – i.e. a bit jammily) and thus Britain are represented in the second week of Wimbledon in both the men’s and women’s singles for the first time since AD 214.

  131. P.S. I’ve decided I now believe that teaching is not for today and should be universally recognised as wrong in the church, because it challenges the sufficiency of scripture.

    …I’ll get my coat…

  132. @ Bridget:
    Yeah, people are not very gracious on this subject. I don’t really have a belief on this. I don’t practice these things, but as I’ve tried to establish already, I try really hard not to form my opinions based on my own preference and comfort level.

  133. @ Jeff S:

    On the church marketing issue: Yes we may just agree to disagree. For the sake of not repeating talking points, I second the sentiments expressed in this comment: @ dee:

    I agree that sometimes we are too quick to criticize the methods of others simply because they are different than our own. I have to disagree with putting it in the same category as criticizing how others worship. This is not my particular pet peeve, but just another of the many ways that the church is turning more into a business rather than a family. I also would point out that there is a big difference in a church having a nice sign and one aggressively trying to recruit ‘clients’.

    Concerning the desire to serve the church with our personal giftings: I really do think that our different perspectives on who is the church and how is the church to minister to the greater community are probably where our paths originally diverge on this issue. I think serving individual christians, whether members of my own 501c3 or members of others or nonmembers of any, IS serving the local body. I see no difference. It is not JUST AS important as serving my own church, but actually the whole point. So to say that some gifts are best used outside of the church (outside of your own 501c3) does not mean that they are less important; it is not a placation.

    It is not like the argument given to women who want to teach in the church. There is a culture there that has exalted the Sunday morning ‘service’ and the teaching gift to prime importance and then restricted those who can exercise that gift in that setting, telling them they can use that gift in another, not quite so important or prominent setting. (In fact, I think the reason why so many church members are unfulfilled and searching for how to incorporate their gifts into their church life is because almost all the members are stifled and prevented from using their spiritual gifts in the corporate meeting in the church- only the approved teachers and the musicians on stage get to do that- and therefore everyone else feels useless, but that is another conversation.)

    At the risk of being offensive, I think most of our practical gifts are wasted on the churches. The institutional church sucks up so much ‘service’ from the members for itself that there is nothing left for the actual people or community. How many hours a week and dollars are put into building maintenance, salaries, programs, marketing etc. that could be going into the community or into the homes of individuals? The troubling thing is that the trends are for that institutional machine to just keep getting bigger and suck up more and more resources.

    For example, I’m pretty good at organization, as in objects and systems. I have spent countless hours helping set up Sunday School systems, reorganize classroom set-up, clean out and organize the dreaded supply closets, etc. I have also spent a Saturday with my friend, an overwhelmed mother of 4 littles, and helped her come up with a laundry system that would make her life a little easier. Next month, I’ll be helping a family moving into town figure out how to function in a much smaller house after losing their larger home due to job loss. To me, those last two examples, better serve the church, impact lives, and are personally more fulfilling. We all only have so much of ourselves to give and there are churches full of people in need who are being neglected and communities full of unsaved people who are not being served in a relational, genuine way.

    Btw, I listened to your song that you linked to and I thought it was very talented and touching. Thanks for sharing your gifts for those who need them. 🙂

  134. From the job ad:
    “Mars Hill Church’s mission is to plant churches and make disciples.”

    Disciples of what?

    At least they should make it look like they are serving Almighty God and have the ad read “disciples of Christ.”

    The golden calf lives on…

  135. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    very few actual theological terms would be considered real words anywhere else.

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

  136. @ Daisy:

    I’m really sorry that you have not been cared for by the church. Many churches and Christians do not accurately portray the love of Jesus. I know that you have not encountered any yet and they may be rare, but there are groups of Christians who meet together and are made up of families, couples and singles of all ages. I am part of such a fellowship. These fellowships may be hard to find and may also not fit all the ideas of what traditionally have about church.

    As far as your personal faith though, the way you are expressing your struggle is a little confusing to me. Are you deciding whether the Christian religion is something you want to continue to be a part of or are you trying to determine if Jesus is who He said He was? If you do not believe His claims then that is one thing. If you do believe Him and in Him and in His story, then please don’t let the actions of misguided followers prevent you from knowing Him in His fulness and don’t give up on finding a body

  137. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    (though, apparently, rather in the manner of England winning a football match – i.e. a bit jammily)

    Is this an example of the gift of tongues in action? Because I need an interpreter! 🙂

  138. @ Leah:
    Thank you for the kinds words about the song 🙂

    Regarding all the rest, we will have to agree to disagree, but I will say that overall, our perspectives and values aren’t all that different.

  139. While I think it can be useful to use some elements of a business model into the church, running a church on a business model is never “productive” unless it actually is a business.

    I don’t even like to allow that much, but being aware that it is one of the few things we can still do well in the US, I am graciously willing to make a straight path for our business-lamed feet. 😛

    Driscoll runs a business called Mars Hill Church. I see little difference between his methodology and say, Nike’s. He attracts people with his brand, hires/uses workers in a big corp manner and fires them in the same way. He makes them toe the line of his vision for expansion and profit. Even his physical plant grows like that of a business.

    Driscoll would have done well establishing a genuine business. I believe he missed his calling.

  140. P.S.
    Football: A game where the ball must be propelled by foot (see American Football, a game in which a ball is propelled by hand)
    England (football): A national team that believes itself among the world’s elite despite manifestly mediocre performances over many decades

  141. @ Leah:

    At this point, I believe the bare minimum of the faith (Christ is God [second member of the Trinity], died on the cross, was resurrected, He paid for the sins of humanity, there is a Heaven and a Hell, and the only way to Heaven/relation with God is through Christ alone).

    This page sort of describes my current feelings about being a Christian, about most other Christians, Christianity itself (which is not to say I agree with every single point the author makes, but with the overall point being made):
    The Best Argument Against Christianity

    Here’s a quote from the page, and he spends the rest of the page expanding on this:

    If I were asked to present the best case possible against Christianity, my argument would have nothing to do with the existence of evil per se, but would rather zero in on one very sad observation that I’ve made over a number of years:

    The best argument against Christianity is sometimes the life lived out by a professing Christian.

    I do have one or two theological concepts that trouble me, which may eventually even cause me to question Christ (I don’t know if they will or not), but I’d say for the past few years, what that article describes has been the major sticking point for me.

  142. Patrice wrote:

    Driscoll runs a business called Mars Hill Church. I see little difference between his methodology and say, Nike’s.

    I, too, have been involved in a church like this, and there’s one crucial difference. Churches like Fiscal’s pay only a small proportion of their employees. The remainder are expected to fund their service themselves.

  143. Leah wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Good point.

    To me, anyway, it’s inconsistent to “teach” on the “sufficiency of scripture” so strongly yet dismiss sections of those very “scriptures” that teach about the gifts of prophecy and tongues . . .

  144. @ Jeff S:

    I see that, Jeff.

    May I propose that asking for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and even give you the gift of tongues is not something that one needs to be wary of.

  145. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ anonymous:
    Jammy: lucky, fortuitous (usu. in a one-off endeavour)
    Jammily: in a jammy manner

    Ah. Thanks! I see what you mean now.

  146. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    P.S.
    Football: A game where the ball must be propelled by foot (see American Football, a game in which a ball is propelled by hand)
    England (football): A national team that believes itself among the world’s elite despite manifestly mediocre performances over many decades

    Right. So for example in a football match (we call it soccer) between say England and Chile, for England to win would be “jammy”?

  147. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    there’s one crucial difference.

    Yah, it’s a cruc(ifix)ial difference to the bottom line. Add social obedience rivaling the most efficient Japanese corp and success is guaarrannteeed.

    Obviously Driscoll IS smarter than me. Why become a business man when all this is added unto him? 😈

  148. @ anonymous:

    Don’t get me started… but since you have, here’s how it would be.

    England would start as favourites on paper (due to world rankings an’ a’ tha’). We would sneak a goal at some point and spend the rest of the match running away from the ball, or else giving it away as soon as we got hold of it. Eventually, Chilean pressure would tell and they’d equalise midway through the second half. But if we managed to fluke a winner in stoppage time, then yes, we’d have beaten Chile jammily.

    Curiously, we somehow managed a 2-2 draw with Brazil (info if required: Brazil are good at football/soccer) in Rio a couple of weeks ago. This match demonstrated two arts of which England are masters, and of which neither is rightly considered a strength in the modern game:
    1) Making the opposition look really, really good
    2) “Drawing ugly”

  149. @ Leah:

    On a less frivolous note than my last dozen posts, I think you’re onto something important here. My own blog is named “God’s Job-Centre” after the concept of the Job Centre – not sure what the equivalent would be in the US but it’s kind of a state-run employment agency. In practice very few people would actually get a job there and very few decent jobs are advertised through it; but that’s the theory. The point is that I’m about seeking, and helping fellow-believers to seek, a meaningful outlet for all of our gifts that we can truly experience as ministry. God works, and does so by choice; thus work is good, and uplifting work is a part of the Good News. This must be all the more true in a time of financial difficulty and rising unemployment (and under-employment).

    And here’s the thing. Jesus said that the worker is worthy of his wages. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to believe that, as a rule, that which God calls and equips us for should be that at which we earn our living. And that in turn means that far more Christians should be educated to see their “work” as a true ministry, of which God is interested in every part and in which the Holy Spirit actively participates with them. As several folk have observed here, Sunday Church actually provides few opportunities for meaningful involvement. Your ministry can’t occupy you for 30 minutes a week.

  150. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    And here’s the thing. Jesus said that the worker is worthy of his wages. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to believe that, as a rule, that which God calls and equips us for should be that at which we earn our living. And that in turn means that far more Christians should be educated to see their “work” as a true ministry, of which God is interested in every part and in which the Holy Spirit actively participates with them. As several folk have observed here, Sunday Church actually provides few opportunities for meaningful involvement. Your ministry can’t occupy you for 30 minutes a week.

    Amen to that, for sure!

  151. ‘Preachers of LA’ Trailer Teases With Lavish, Dramatic Lifestyles of Six Mega-Pastors

    Fast cars, lavish mansions in swanky neighborhoods, infidelity and angst-filled episodes are on full display in the prosperous lifestyles of six megachurch pastors featured in a trailer for the new reality show, “Preachers of L.A.,” slated for the Oxygen network this fall.

    “The Bible says I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. I believe that,” declares Bishop Clarence McClendon, one of the stars of the show in the trailer posted to YouTube on Thursday.

  152. @ Daisy: It’s the slight and subtle misquotes that are the most dangerous, isn’t it?

    John prayed (not quite the same as wished) that in all things, his friend Gauis would prosper and be in health even as his soul prospered. God’s response isn’t recorded.

    That said, I don’t begrudge our megachurch friends what TV might call an “angst-filled episode”. I don’t doubt that it would be easy, with the slightest bit of editing, to broadcast angst-filled moments in anybody’s life.

    Years ago now, in the early days of the “house-church movement” in the UK, an independent TV company did a two-part miniseries on “fundamentalist religion” in the UK. Part 2, which sounded interesting but which I didn’t get to see, investigated an Islamic community (the advance billing described the community as “progressive, not aggressive” and I believe the program was very favourable to them). Part 1 dealt with a “Christian fundamentalist” (i.e. house church) organisation. Incidentally, the house-church movement never used that label for itself, though it did push the authority of the Bible somewhat more than did the traditional denominations here. The program took an openly, aggressively hostile stance towards the organisation right from the start. It presented a particular, somewhat liberal, academic theologian as its yardstick and set up his comments uncritically as being “the truth” at numerous points. The program team, it later emerged, on top of the aggressive and cynical approach to direct interviews with the pastors involved, had actively doctored those interviews post-production; in the interview, they asked one question to get a desired response – then broadcast a completely different question dubbed over the interview so that the response was presented dangerously out of context. They followed groups of Christians around in door-to-door and open-air evangelism, but it later emerged that they had placed “plants” in several of those situations and had contacted individuals in their homes between visits to try to make them raise particular objections or throw other spanners in the works. The program, in other words, was cynically dishonest and presented elaborate and calculated deception as investigative journalism.

    The Oxygen Network may be purer than this, or it may not – I don’t know much about it. But I’m sceptical.

  153. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ Leah:

    The point is that I’m about seeking, and helping fellow-believers to seek, a meaningful outlet for all of our gifts that we can truly experience as ministry.

    This is needed in the church. I’ll check out your blog. 🙂

  154. @ Daisy

    HowDee,

    Leah said it best: “If you do believe Him and in Him and in His story, then please don’t let the actions of misguided followers prevent you from knowing Him in His fulness and don’t give up on finding a body of believers to be a part of.” – Leah

    Hope ya getz bedda and find a real ‘church ‘ pretty soon,

    …with ma prayers…

    ATB

    Sopy