Keller On Marketing In The Church

I’m doing some reading along with my fellow pastors here at IBC, and in that process I came across a helpful thought I felt I should share. Here’s a slice from Tim Keller’s conversation with Christianity Today about his ministry and the ideas he puts forth in Center Church:

CT: What role should marketing play in the church?

KELLER: The critique is that the church has overused, maybe unconsciously, business marketing techniques. And I think that critique is probably half right. Whenever people talk to me about marketing, I say, “Tell me what marketing is.” Some of what they usually describe seems like common-sense, wise communication. Some of it seems like manipulation. I commend wise communication, not the other parts that make me cringe.

I appreciate that clarification. As I’ve opined several times in the last few years, the ends never justify the means. We, church leaders, of all people should know that. In other words, the manipulation side — anything less than honest and authentic communication — ought to make us cringe too. We ought to crusade against any hints of manipulative communication in our churches, regardless of the medium or the cause.

If you have time, read the entire CT piece. It features really interesting thoughts from both Tim Keller and Andy Stanley, two brilliant communicators with very different styles and church communities.

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