Nashville Baptist Association
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Building One Another Up

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church marketing phrases

This line from a church promotional piece grabbed my attention: “A church where you can worship in jeans, shorts, and sandals.” I wondered, “What do jeans, shorts, and sandals have to do with the quality of one’s worship experience?”

I once put this message on a church marquee: “No coat, no tie, no problem!” I’m still not sure what I was communicating, or to whom.

I read this on a church website: “A church where you are a person, not somebody’s evangelism project.” I understand the intent of the phrase, but does this church sincerely perceive evangelism as a negative Christian activity?

Pitting Believers Against One Another

These promotional phrases possess an alarming commonality. They pit one fellowship of believers against another. They compare one church’s perceived positive attribute against another’s perceived negative trait. Such approaches can have serious consequences.

Initially, they have the potential to create animosity within the community of churches. I was among the first in my community to venture into transitioning a church from a traditional to a contemporary format. Some of our promotional lines painted churches different in style from ours in a negative light. I faced the justified negative reactions of some of my fellow pastors. They weren’t angry because we were doing innovative things; rather, they were upset because we suggested that what they were doing was wrong and what we were doing was right. That animosity could have been avoided with a simple change in our approach.

"They weren’t angry because we were doing innovative things; rather, they were upset because we suggested that what they were doing was wrong and what we were doing was right."

We also run the risk of creating an undue infatuation with a preferred style of worship and methodology of ministry. The Corinthian believers in the first century elevated the spiritual practice of glossolalia to preferred status, looking down on anyone who didn’t practice it, even if the other gifts were abundantly present. When we make our way the best way, we face the danger of making it the only way.

Finally, we run the risk of creating competition among churches instead of developing a spirit of cooperation. Why tear down one church to build up another? God placed us all here because it will take all of us to get the job done. Let’s work as colleagues, not competitors. Let’s build one another up with our advertising and promotional efforts.

 

Jack Carver
Church Strengthening Strategist
jcarver@nashvillebaptists.com

Ben Adkison