Monday, October 16, 2006

And What About That Guy in the Pink Princess Suit?

My route to work used to take me past several oil change stations. I recently noticed the trend of the sidewalk sandwich board guy. All three of the stations I passed inevitably had one of their mechanics out at the curb, dressed up in some crazy costume, waving at the cars and holding a sign for a $19.99 oil change. While it certainly got my attention, I couldn't help but wonder if I was really ready to trust my car to some guy dressed up in a princess costume, wearing a tiara.

Sometimes in our effort to come up with new and creative marketing strategies, we are faced with the possibility of damaging our credibility. While we would never consider someone dressed up like the Apostle Paul out at our curb and waving a staff and Bible, is it much better when we commit an act of service to the community only to plug our worship times or interrupt our sermon broadcast to promote an upcoming event? For the person who stumbled upon our TV program while flipping past a variety of more tantalizing shows, or for the person whose windshield got washed by a volunteer at a gas station, I wonder if that promotional plug somehow detracts from just showing and sharing Christ with others.

I am all for churches communicating effectively and marketing with the level of excellence that can be seen in the secular world, but I am also ever aware that our mission is far different than secular organizations and that the stakes are far greater than a bottomline. My hope is that the church, in its efforts to communicate in new and exciting ways, never loses sight of its mission, its purpose and the consequences of poor strategy.

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