Thursday, 10 September 2009

Advertising Jesus

The SMH has a report on it here. It's not bad.

Paul Harrison, a senior lecturer in consumer behaviour at Deakin University's Deakin Business School, said Christians should not place too much faith in an advertising campaign to convert non-believers or entice lapsed Christians back to church.

He said the subtle messages were likely to confuse and the churches would be better off putting money into understanding why people were turning away from them and what could be done in response.

Well yes, it did occur to me that there might be a significant problem here. I reckon the best potential impact of these campaigns is brand awareness ("Hmm, there are Christians out there, if I ever wanted to find that out") and the worst potential impact is for those who aren't believers to realize how out of touch we are, and for the Christians to feel mildly embarrassed. So the best is not really that good, and the worst is reasonably bad.

Spend the money on feeding the poor I say.


geoffc said...

I couldn't be in more aggreeance with you. a hearty Amen!

Spend the money on letting Christians be Christians in their communities, which should involve caring for their community and the poor (of course keeping in mind the poor outside their community)and proclaiming Christ as they do so.

It feels like a much more biblical approach to spending our money and time. I also think it is more pragmattic for gospel witness (probably because it is more biblical). My opinion is, the whole advertising campaign is hard, expensive work for a lazy option, and also a less effective one.

Your move on lexulous, too.

Lee Herridge said...

Since our churches aren't overflowing with non-Christians, I'd say it worth it. Our church is involved in the Jesus: All About Life campaign in WA and it is a great opportunity for the quiet Christian to be given encouragement to get off their arses and do something.

Gordon Cheng said...

Lee, doesn't your comment assume that the problem (churches not overflowing with non-Christians) will be solved by advertising?

If that is your assumption, it lacks evidence.

Lee Herridge said...

That's not my assumption at all. My view is that the media is an area that Christians have had very little input into and I don't think it would hurt try to see how we can use the media to make an impact on our evangelistic efforts.

The Jesus: All About Life (JAAL) campaign isn't about giving a gospel message in the media, as the creators of the campaign say repeatedly in their material. It is to stoke a bit of interest and hopefully find a way for Christians to more easily share the gospel in their own sphere of influence.

It has to be part of an overall evangelistic strategy to be effective (again something the creators emphasize), including training of Christians to share the gospel and getting churches to put on events to give you something to bring your mates to. It is a silver bullet but just one more option that Christians should have to bring the gospel to our communities.

Al Bain said...

Well said.