Actions speak louder than words (the inevitable Da Vinci Code post)

25 May

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Discovery Christian Church in Cranberry, PA bought all of the seats for two evening shows of The Da Vinci Code at their local theater.

When theatergoers stepped up to the booth to buy their ticket for The Da Vinci Code, they were admitted for free and given a card explaining that the church had paid for their ticket. “We want people to enjoy the movie, no strings attached,” said pastor Toney Salva.

Evangelism is, of course, a type of marketing. Where I think it goes badly awry is when the church takes its cues from profit-motivated marketing, instead of drawing on its own character and strengths.

This action of Discovery Christian Church – which I really dig – reminds me of when one Episcopal church held a neighborhood car wash. They refused to accept donations. They didn’t preach. They didn’t even talk about the church unless someone asked them. They were just there to wash cars, for free, with no expectation of getting something in return.

This seriously weirded some people out. But it drew attention to the church in a way that said something vitally important about what “the church” is. It said, “We are a community that thinks and acts in a way that doesn’t align with the world’s agenda. Our purpose isn’t to make money, or even grow in numbers. Our purpose is to serve faithfully.” Not only was this message conveyed to outsiders, it was a way of teaching that message to the teenagers who participated in the car wash. It trained them to be disciples.

My feeling that churches should avoid secular marketing methods only goes so far, though. I mean, surely it’s not too much to suggest that the logo on a church’s Web site should match the one on its stationery, right?

Then again, in addition to being in marketing, I am Episcopalian – aka, the Church of Good Taste. I might be hopelessly biased.

(Via Christianity Today)

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