Archive for July, 2012
In this week’s Sunday Times an opinion piece was written analyzing the decline of the Episcopalian church. This article comes after the Episcopalians have within the past week decided to write special rites for gay weddings and ordain transgender clergymen. The presumption of the article is that if the church were to align itself more with the thoughts of the people, especially the younger ones, then the church is making an investment in the future of itself because it will attract younger people to fill it’s pews for years. Unfortunately, as the article points out, this idea has not worked out for the Episcopal church or most of the other mainline denominations. The problem with the set of presumptions is that it misunderstands the market, what people need from spirituality, and the authority of the church.
The churches competition, especially in liberal circles, does not come from other churches but rather from other organizations and groups that come from outside the church. If I open a McDonalds my competition is not just from other fast-food hamburger places, but all other eateries including grocery stores, because we all market the same thing: food. If church markets liberal theology chances are they are marketing along the lines of self-esteem, acceptance, and community. Such ideas don’t sell in traditional church markets but actually expand into the larger world. Clubs sell the same idea, so do bars, teams, television shows, and movies. Almost everything in America today is sold based on the idea that it creates community and makes you feel better about yourself. (more…)