I have always maintained that our well-intentioned ecclesiastical leadership remains somewhat clueless and uncritical about the incursion of commercial, generic "worship products," that make their way into our lives. Our laity, even more so.
Here's an article from a surprising source, with a valuable perspective on the corporate muscle behind the stream of Contemporary Worship Music that now flows freely in our churches.
"Is anyone else staggered by the sophisticated marketing methods the modern Christian leaders use?"
Two important points to remember:
- The folks at this conference weren't necessarily Christian, but they emphasized the business/marketing angle, and
- The author notes an unabashed emphasis on self-promotion and marketing, particulary by "celebrity evangelical pastors."
Like all good marketers, they aim for the emotions--they target people's sense of vanity and/or insecurity:
I next visited the Zondervan booth and was told that for $149, I could purchase ('Limited Offer!') 'The Story,' a curriculum kit featuring a new quasi-Bible: " 'The Story' is helping people in churches everywhere experience Scripture like never before. Carefully selected verses from the Bible are organized chronologically. From Genesis to Revelation, your church members will come to understand God's story and their stories intersect with it."
Will they? Will they come to 'understand God's story,' if it isn't really God's Word? And would they even have the chance to do that while they are focused on how their own stories intersect with God's story?
Do you see how self-absorbed today's American evangelical culture has become, and how the marketing gurus have tapped into the narcissism?
To my surprise and delight, the author ends by proposing his own "revolutionary" Bible study, which consits of the Bible, a notepad, and a pencil. He closes (wonderfully) with Romans 10:17 ("So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.")
(warning: the comments are a bit disturbing...)