Church as Business (Driscoll)

 “The assumption that everyone is a customer to be marketed to is a great pitfall for those who proclaim the gospel, because we tend to cast God as a product, and as mainstream a product as possible.  After all, scriptural teaching about the curse, death as the wages of sin, the flooding of the earth, the killing of Egyptian babies, the slaughter of perverts in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the fiery torments of hell is a tough sell even for the best of marketers.”

“Yet today everything from sex to Jesus is pimped, since some preachers have traded in prophecy for pandering.  Meanwhile, people have become so seasoned from the years of direct mail, online pop-up ads, commercials, and the endless parade of advertising on everything from billboards to ball caps that they tend to view the church as just another business and the preacher as yet another huckster.”

“Businesses of all sorts shamelessly pander to felt needs, and customers love the benefits they reap from fierce competition.  People often take the same approach to God when they ‘shop’ for a new church that emphasizes their felt needs and offers more amenities for them to consume.  They expect God and his church to play their game by assessing their felt needs, marketing to them with a good pitch from a winsome salesman, and providing spiritual goods and services that beat the competition down the street, whether it’s a self help guru or another religion or church.  Churches that buy into this worship of humanity are prone to fashion their churches after malls, complete with departments or ministries for each family member in an effort to keep the shoppers happy.”

Driscoll’s response? “If we simply give people what they want, we will not be giving them what they need.”  Amen!

(Quotes taken from The Radical Reformission, p.171-172.)

shane lems 

sunnyside wa

4 Replies to “Church as Business (Driscoll)”

  1. Assuming you have read this book through, can you comment on the language and material covered? An Amazon review of another of Mark’s books complains about the foul language and even sexually explicit nature of some of the material – does this book too contain street language and content? I wondered about the interviews with the tattoo artist and the exotic dancer … although I and several members of my family are interested in reading this book from the content you present here and its Amazon reviews, we won’t knowingly import bad language or unsuitable language into our house.


    1. Jonathan:

      It is not a book for kids, that’s for sure. If it were rated, it’d be a PG-13 or probably R, depending on who you ask. I read it a year ago and I remember that though some of the content was really good, the manner of speech left me cringing at times. I wasn’t really offended, though, but I personally would not hand this book out to just any Christian (and some of the content I would not post on this blog!). My wife is reading it right now, so she’ll be a better judge than I. I’ll ask her in a week!

      If you decide not to get this book for your family to read, check out “The Gospel Driven Church” by Mike Horton or “The Courage to be Protestant” by David Wells – they cover some similar topics but with a “G” rating. Or, you may want to check out Driscoll’s blog or one of his later books – someone told me he’s cleaned up his mouth in the past year or so.

      Thanks for the comment.



  2. I don’t usually read books such as this one by Driscoll, but I did take the time to read it cover to cover for myself. I don’t believe Driscoll and Wells are really on the same page. Wells is a far wiser guide, as is Horton.


    1. Thanks, Dante. I was generalizing, to be sure (I said “they cover similar topics.”).

      And yes, I agree, grab Wells or Horton first.



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