It’s been a while since I have blogged. Not because I have not had things to say but more because I have just been so busy. In the past three weeks I moved home, got married, went on a honeymoon, moved to Tennessee, took my husband to the ER, and started classes. I finally got some time to sit and write.
I just finished this great book called Branded by Tim Sinclair. It was all about how to market Jesus. Sinclair presented many fresh ideas. In the introduction he stated that the book was not to be used as an answer book but rather to challenge and begin thinking about these ideas.
I really enjoyed the book and the fresh perspective. I would definitely recommend it to everyone. Sinclair is a very entertaining author. I wanted to present some of his thoughts and begin discussing them. He made some very good points that I think we need to be aware of.
When I first told my coworkers that I was going to college to study marketing and that I wanted to eventually work in a church, one of them replied, “Oh, so you’re going to a Christian college to learn how to lie.” Sinclair realizes that many people will be hesitant to the idea that we should be marketing Jesus, since the term “marketing” presents negative connotations to many people. He makes the comparison, however, that marketing Jesus is much like evangelism. The definition of marketing is: “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” Sinclair stated that a good definition of evangelism is: “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing Jesus.” I was glad that he made that point. We need to remember the reasons and motives behind our evangelism/marketing.
Another point that Sinclair made that my husband and I talked about was the idea that “lack of competition breeds laziness. Laziness breeds apathy. And eventually, apathy breeds disaster.” For a long time Christians haven’t had any obvious competition, and now we do. Think about it, we’ve gotten lazy. “Coke wouldn’t taste as good without Pepsi.” Are we evangelizing like we are in competition?
Sinclair spent a chapter talking about how we try to change a persons lifestyle before we attempt to change their heart and their beliefs. Sinclair states that “Christians often try to change a person’s culture rather than let God change their heart. We try to force others to act like us, with the hope that they’ll eventually believe like us.” Wow, how true is that. We are often too scared to deal with the heart and beliefs that we just try to deal with the outside.
I really like one analogy that Sinclair used to describe what Christianity has become. He described religion and all the choices like a cereal aisle. There are many varieties of cereal and many boxes they come in. The religion aisle also has many choices like Methodist, Buddhist, Scientology and so on. “Christians have put themselves in a boring box.” We’re just a plain box holding something great, but all everyone else is seeing is a plain box next to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. At least that is what we are showing everyone. Isn’t Jesus better than a boring box?
In the last chapter of the book, Sinclair poses a series of “What if” questions to challenge us and to think about and question. Those questions gave me a lot to think about and I’d like to pass on a few to you to think about.
1. What if we spent a week with our family in Honduras or Haiti instead of Orlando or the Ozarks?
2. What if we didn’t write our tithe checks this week?
*What if, instead we gave it to the homeless (*=my insertions)
3. What if we went to the bar one Saturday night per month with our friends?
*It is one thing to always invite our friends to our church where we are comfortable. It is another thing to go to them where they are comfortable.
4. What if we started Grubby Sunday at church?
5. What if we removed the signs in front of our church?
*Then we would have to advertise our own church and communicate with everyone what it was about and when they should come. It would be completely our responsibility.
6. What if we chose not to pray before meals or bedtime?
*Then our prayers would become authentic
7. What if our churches gave coffee and doughnuts to a shelter each week instead of to the congregation?
8. What if we didn’t read our Bibles ever day?
*What if we spent that time to physically help someone or to literally be the hands and feet of God?
9. What if every church in America was open to the public seven days a week?
10. What if we decided to become homeless for a weekend?
What do you think? Have we gotten lazy? It is too late to change?