Have you ever been approached by a salesperson who is trying too hard to sell you something that it is so obvious you almost feel embarrassed for them. They proclaim how excited they are to present their product, the miraculous benefits, blowing their trumpet of how great and wonderful your life will be once you purchase what they are selling.
For way too long this is exactly how many churches have presented themselves to the world. We look like a bunch of desperate salespersons, who seemingly are under tremendous pressure to sell God and meet our quota or else be sacked by the owner.
Just scroll through social media platforms and notice how many churches market themselves as the most exciting, relevant, community minded, and greatest experience yet known on planet earth. They will have pictures and videos to back it up. There are smiles on every face, laughter filling every heart, everyone is having the time of their life. Clips of musicians in their deepest moments of feeling. Photos revealing an atmosphere that is always energetic, powerful, playful, fun, unbelievable, guaranteed to offer an experience a person simply cannot resist.
I know, we all have done this to some degree. We all have been caught in the trap of our culture in one way or another, but really?
Are we that willing to pay the high cost of misrepresenting what being a disciple of Jesus really is? Will we continue to spend ungodly amounts of time and money to re-brand a Jesus that people can relate to?
Are we going to leave it up to our Christian brothers and sisters in persecuted nations to show the world what it really means to follow Christ? Are we going to continue this marketing madness that makes us look like desperate fools in the sight of the world?
Dear church, it is time to stop. Stop making promises that even the bible cannot support. Stop presenting a gospel that entertains, is always smiling, without hardships, and doesn’t demand anything. Stop trying to present the Kingdom of God as a community blinded by pride and the idolatry of success, thinking that God’s blessing is a large congregation and failure is a church with empty seats. Instead, present it as a family of faithful and obedient people who are devoted to growing in spiritual maturity.
Will you stop? Will we stop?
This is what the Lord says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths, “Which is the way to what is good?” Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But the people protested, “We won’t!” ~ Jeremiah 6:16