We are just beginning to make a new video for Grace Lutheran Church. Since the last round of videos, Pr. Tiews was ordained as Associate Pastor, I was installed as the new Senior Pastor, some faces have changed and more.
In thinking about a new video for the home page, I watched the previous one, called “Stability.” One of the comments at Youtube jumped out at me, and it’s pretty perceptive. AlveusLacuna wrote, “If this church isn’t marketing like the other churches, then why is there a commercial? Isn’t it’s traditionalism a kind of marketing angle, at least as it’s presented here?”
We don’t market to you, we said in our marketing video. What irony. What emptiness. What lack of perception and insight.
At least at first blush, that’s what you’ve got. These consumerist churches out there marketing themselves, all flash and image and having a product and selling it–SELLING IT, BABY! and here Grace is just marketing something different. Same techniques, just a different flavor. Some friends of mine have criticized the Antiochian Orthodox Church for doing the same, marketing themselves as the traditional alternative.
But there is a great difference between marketing a product or a church and evangelism. There is a difference between the consumerist churches and their techniques and getting the word out, even if the video is well-produced and slick video. Consumerist churches market everything. They market themselves in advertising and web pages and youtube videos. But they also market the worship and the doctrine to appeal to their demographic. They are only marketing–nothing else. They are only providing the content that appeals to people’s natures–sometimes their basest natures.
Evangelism is getting the word out. Going and telling who we are and who Christ is. It is Philip going to Nathaniel and saying, “, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:43 ESV). It is Paul preaching at the Areopagus where all could hear him. Posting a video is not much different than that, friends. And more: Luther printed tracts in the vernacular. Translating the Bible and putting it in stores in Sixteenth Century Germany.
Making videos, putting up signs, having professional webpages, brochures and radio shows amount to getting the word out, crying out in the wilderness, preaching in the Temple Courts. We show what we are and who we are in Christ. We show people our tradition, our heritage. We do not do market studies to change our worship and doctrine and life in order to appeal. Christ and His forgiveness is the appeal, is the “attraction.”
So we’re going to make a nice video for our webpage. To get the word out that we don’t market the message, that we don’t entertain and appeal to your consumerist urges and base passions. No, we worship as the Church worships. We worship as Luther and the Reformers worshiped, saying the Prayers and the Liturgy Justin Martyr attested to, that the First Century Didache described, that the martyrs and saints of thousands of years prayed and lived and died for.
That’s what we do.