“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.)