Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Controversy is Stirring!

Okay, so Granger Community Church in Granger, IN put this billboard up to advertise for a new series on sex that they are doing at their church. I found out about this ad thru ChurchMarketingSucks.com. This is one of my favorite sites becasue it so often makes fun of really lame church ads. So, they asked for comments on the ad. You can check out the entire discussion here. The first response says this (among several other points):

"Another question is, do the billboards use deception? This church knows that signs saying "sex talks next week at Granger" won't work, so have they resorted to a form of trickery to get people to visit their website? Is God happy with this kind of "sneaky evangelism"?"

No big deal, that's his opinion, right? So, I responded with my opinion:

"man, come on. Did Jesus use billboards? Did Jesus even go to church? It's all your opinion what you think God would do. Here's the truth...Jesus "advertised" by word of mouth. He would do a miracle, preach a sermon, etc. and people would talk. Here's the deal now. Everyone has heard of who Jesus is. Now we have to spread the message by marketing. Even if a huge miracle happened in your church there are still people who wouldn't come because they would be skeptical, or just wouldn't care about us crazy, weird Christians. I love the ad and would be proud if my church put out something like that."

So, you can disagree with me if you want. But, here's what someone wrote in response to me:

"Pretty ironic that some of you have no problem with Granger's billboards, and then we see pictures like this on your own blogs. What should that tell us about your morality standards and your credibility on this issue, Brian?"

The picture referenced was of Los' head with the boob statue from my Vegas post. I found this hilarious that someone would pull that out of context and try to tear me down with it. My response to this guy (Not sure if it really is a guy or girl, because they didn't sign in when making their comment):

"I think it's pretty ironic that "Ironic" would attack my character but not even list his name/website. At least I'm willing to put myself and my beliefs out there for people to see. If you can't stand behind your own words, then the weight of those words isn't much. Also, in terms of my morality... wow, that is a big statement to make. I'm not sure if you can judge that. James 4:11 says, 11Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. Also, when speaking of "credibility" on the isssue, I'm not sure what to say to that except that everyone here has about the same credibility level since we are all viewers of the ad. All these people have their own opinions and that is what we are giving. So, I don't see how that becomes a credibility issue unless you are more saved than I am. And since I am the worldly one, and therefore the target audience that needs to be more moral, my opinion would probably hold more weight."

So, what do you think of that? How do you feel about the billboard? Oh, and please sign in so we know who you are.

5 comments:

James said...

Great post, Brian. I think as Christians most of us we take OURSELVES way too seriously. Unfortunately, most of us don't take CHRIST seriously enough.

I just added you to my blogrole. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Magnanimity said...

Blogging is an odd thing.

We want our own place to play and express self and vent...and yet we want to build and maintain a credible voice-- even, I think, to those who may be more sensitive among our readers. Sometimes they crop up and we think, "My word! Somebody is reading! I didn't mean to offend! Who is THERE anyway?" It's teaching me how to be real and be more and more sensitive to whoever may be watching my life, and I think that's a good thing. We don't want to go overboard, but sensitivity isn't a bad thing. Jesus didn't say to stop excercising our freedom. He said, "no way! Don't be stuffy...just don't cause anyone who may not understand to stumble in doing whatever God has freed you to do." quite a rough paraphrase, but I think you know where I'm coming from.

A hard balance to acheive for anyone in leadership doing anything.

Secular media tells us we can get away with both at the same time. In Christianity? I don't know. I think of that one time Jesus was just saying to excercise your freedom and not go back to some stuffy legalism...but, at the same time, to be sensitive to others who aren't where you are, or don't "get" your brand of fun...letting your hair down stuff.

AS I read this, I was challenged to consider that the more we want to grow in authority, the more sensitive we have to get to the other guy...something hard , especially in blogging. Good luck finding the balance.

You all were obviously having a fun and silly time. Those private, wild or wacky moments are something that builds and holds friendships together--sometimes it's hard for the general public, or others on the outside of that corny moment looking in to shake just the impact of the image and just appreciate the silliness for what it was. Images have a lasting and powerful effect beyond the context intended many times.

Christians want others to know they are cool, fun, human, and just enjoy life. Not a bad thing altogether. But, just important to not be a stumbling block to others who are more sensitive and "don't get it". We don't have to advertise our coolness to be cool. We are just cool.

----
I saw the same church's ad today on another blog. Loved it! Appreciated the church's attempts to advertise in a relevant way to hook people.

People expect a lure from advertising, so I don't think it's "sneaky"...it's just GREAT advertising.

We're finally catching on to something that we all know works and using it! Bravo, church!

--

You don't know me and if you read my blog, you will find plenty of inconsistencies to critique if you want! I hope not. Just seemed you have a thoughtful discussion going on which deserved some thoughtful response.

I guess some people are hesitant to give their name at times because they don't feel like a cat fight...I've had some nasty replies due to that at times and so, therefore post anonymously at times to give input without wanting the backlash. Maybe they just wanted to leave food for thought, and, in all reality, it was effective here...I think you are thinking things through. (No, it was not me who wrote yours!) :)

I imagine most Christian blogger leaders want their own space to be free to have fun and vent and speak without being evaluated or judged, and at the same time, at times, they enjoy a good challenge to stretch them.

I do!

Keep having fun. Hope that stirs the pot some for you.

me


Keep having fun...

Tim said...

I would agree with most of what you said. But I have to disagree with you saying that everyone has heard of who Jesus is. I am sure there are still remote parts of third world countries that are set apart from all technology and modern civilization that have yet to hear the name Jesus. However, lets leave that alone. I think the bigger problem, and I think it's more evident in the United States, is that most people have heard the name of Jesus, but have not heard "who HE is." The church has misrepresnted who Jesus is on many levels and left the world with a crippled view point of "who" Jesus is This is somewhat off topic however, I think the church would be better served if we depended more on advertising by word of mouth through lifestyle and love and prayer and not through catchy billboards and commercials. However, I do think they have their place.

tim said...

After entering my last comment I started thinking about this whole church advertising business. Who is church for? Isn't church for the Christians? If that is the case, then who is the church advertising to? If you follow the logic that church is for christians then the church is ultimately advertising for church hoppers? I don't know. But sometimes I think we put to much weight on getting a non-believer to church thinking it's like taking a car to a car wash. More has to happen then just getting to church.
- Slight tangent.

Hale-Yeah! said...

I did mean the US when I said, we'd all heard about Jesus. But I do agree with you that He is misrepresented a lot. That is why we need to get people to church to hopefully convey the love of Christ and to show people who He really is. Also, I agree with the church thing too. If we all lived God-centered lives, then people would be attracted to Jesus and want to know more about what we are all about.

I heard this quote by Graham Kendrick once. It went something like this: "If Christians would learn how to worship, then we wouldn't need to go evangelize." Maybe I'll look up the quote later, probably not...