Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Great Sex: God's Way (Church Marketing 101)

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. ~ 2 Timothy 4: 2-5

The marketing of church continues. Churches doing whatever it takes to draw the "seeker" in. What happens when these so-called seekers do come into the church, what are they hearing? Unfortunately, they're probably not hearing the Gospel or why they must be saved or even how (at least not biblically). What they are hearing is the social gospel. How to live a better life. How to be happy. How to be moral. How to be good. Apparently, the mega-church marketing experts think that simply coming to church will get a person saved. At least that's how it appears according to all the Barna & Pew Research polls. A great number of people claim to be Christians despite their positions on topics such as abortion, homosexuality, hell and a number of other issues rarely preached in churches today.

But sex sells.

'Great Sex: God's Way' sermons draw ire in rural Ala.
(another edgy promotion by a church to draw attention to itself)

What better way to draw people into church than to promote it with sex. Now, don't get me wrong. The bible has much to say about the topic of sex, especially when it comes to things like lust, fornication, adultery & homosexuality. Basically, the Word reminds us often to not live like the world. This includes sexual behavior. So the question is, should we be preaching on the topic of sex on a Sunday morning in Church?

I would say the real question is the motive behind the message. Is this simply another silly method of the seeker-friendly churches to look cool & relevant to the world or, is it a legitimate issue that needs to be addressed? There is no question that sexual immorality is a major issue in the world today. That's a no-brainer. What should be understood however is, if the church is so concerned about reaching the seeker and saving the lost, shouldn't we be preaching the Gospel? Doesn't it make sense to put salvation before the cleaning up of one's life? The problem is not that people need a more fulfilling sex life or that they need to do it "God's Way". No, the real problem is sin and that must be dealt with first otherwise, we're spinning our wheels trying to clean up the outside of someone when the inside is still wretched.

Save the sex series talks for the small group studies of genuine believers. Marriage enrichment groups. Men's Groups, etc. To broadcast to the world (with provocative methods & signs) that you're having a series on sex at church is nothing more than cheap marketing to make the church look appealing to the world. Didn't Jesus remind us to NOT be like the world or to desire to be loved by the world? (John 15: 18-19, 1 John 2: 15-16)

What should churches be teaching & preaching? Here's a simple response from the above article:

Evangelist Roland Belew, a self-described fundamentalist and former trucker who now preaches at a truck stop, said the whole idea goes against the teaching of New Testament apostles. "Paul said preach the Gospel," said Belew. "Talking about sex ain't gonna get nobody to heaven."

Communicating the gospel is the primary goal of the church. We can talk about having a better life, being good or doing good all we want to, but unless we address the heart of the unregenerate, we're simply making life more comfortable for them on their way to hell.