A couple of weeks ago, we wrote on the Wall about a quaint church in Beaumont, Texas making international news by calling themselves, “A bunch of jerks.”

They addressed the hypocrisy among the faithful, the stigma in the Church and the elephant dropping bombs in the room.

If it ain't broke, buy another one.

It was a bold move because the biggest cause of Atheism would be Christians who do not reflect Christ. Great idea, right? Apparently so, because it’s been cloned according to the Christian Post.

A megachurch [NorthRidge Church] in Southeast Michigan is making a lot of people uncomfortable with its new billboard campaign that proclaims that the church is for hypocrites, losers and liars.

Well, of course, they are making a lot of people uncomfortable… the formula worked once before. Why not do it again?

“The reality is all human beings are the same. They’re flawed. We’re all the same inside [the church] and outside. We too are failures, losers, … hypocrites,” [Pastor Brad Powell of NorthRidge Church] continued.

“Jesus didn’t put up higher fences in heaven to keep the bad people out,” he said. “Rather, Jesus came down to earth and dwelled among the people. When you look into God’s word, He never turns inward. He turns outward.”

Don’t get me wrong… he’s right. Regretfully.

However, just because the word changed from “jerks” to “hypocrites,” does not make this an original idea. There’s no such thing as an original idea anyway, but at least give it a few months before you poach it?!

It’s no secret I don’t have much affinity for stereotypical Christian marketing. I mean, how difficult must it be to take a well-known brand and make an evangelism hack job out of it?

Christian marketing usually means copied marketing.

Oh. The scripture. That'll make us forget about the familiar logo.

Consider God: There was nothing but his idea. He imagined with vivid detail, molded the earth with complete ingenuity and relished in the unique nature of his creation.

He didn’t copy a logo. He didn’t “borrow” an invention. Everything he did was an original.

And that’s why it baffles me that marketing and advertising professionals who love the Lord and have dedicated their lives to him can’t at least go about their trade with a tad more originality.

Brands like ‘Not of this World‘ have taken what ‘Affliction’, ‘Silver Star’ and ‘MMA Elite’ has done for the mixed martial artist crowds and brought it to the Church. Bravo.

And then, there is the status quo that believes take what is known, plaster a verse on it and call it “divine providence.”

We can do better. We must do better.

Pastor Brad (imagine, he doesn’t like being called that) understands this whole “jerk” thing is lightning in a bottle. Everyone is looking at this. Everyone appreciates this. Because everyone agrees with this… except for the folk who are this.

A thought for all pastors: Be unconventional. Be daring. And most importantly, try to be original. You tend to make more news that way.

Just ask the little church in Beaumont, Texas about that one.

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Comments
  1. [...] More Christian jerks? Seriously?! « T&#1211&#1077 Writing &#959&#1495 t&#1211&#1077 Wall [...]

  2. Hi Scribe,

    Rather than all this marketing and promotion the most original thing these folks could do is to preach Christ crucified…….what a concept eh?

    Phil

    • B.McKendry says:

      Response to Phil:

      And what makes you think these pastors are not talking about the Gospel in their church? I live in Michigan, so I know NorthRidge is reaching 15,000 or more a week and that they have a heart for reaching those who do not attend church or have given up on Christianity. I know they not only preach that Christ was crucified, but that He sacrificed Himself willingly so that we would be free from the binds of sin. I also trust that the pastor at Christ Covenant in Texas is doing the same. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, you’d know that church attendance is declining. Regardless of the quality of their messages, they are at least trying to bring people to the truth. Is it your suggestion then that churches just sit and wait for people to come through their doors or do they have a responsibility, as we all do, to be disciples of Christ’s message. Mother Teresa once said: “I was not called to succeed, I was called to try.” These churches are trying. What, my friend, are you doing?

      • B. McKendry,

        Thank you for your comments!

        I was merely making a suggestion and not an accusation. If you say they preach the gospel than I say “bravo”!

        Where is it written (preferably in the bible) that the church has to “do something” in order to win souls? I can’t seem to locate that portion of Scripture in the bible I own. Perhaps you can help me locate it? I was under the impression that was God’s job (John 6:44).

        While you are at it can you show me where the word “church” is in the bible and what definition would be. My Greek is a bit rusty but last time I checked the word “ecclesia” had nothing to do with a building but I could be wrong. Like I said my Greek is a bit rusty.

        My suggestion for churches would be the same suggestion the Apostle Paul made to the Colossians;

        Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

        And as well to the Ephesians….

        Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
        Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

        And Jesus had this to say (which I think you were referring to)
        Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
        Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

        “Go” being the operative word. Also, I would suggest that erecting a billboard in the hopes that people would show up to the church is “sitting and waiting” but I could be wrong…..

        Thanks,

        Phil

    • B.McKendry says:

      Phil:

      For some reason there was no “reply” option on your last comment.

      Admittedly, I’m not a scholar of original Greek text. But, physical or not, the word “church” is throughout the New Testament in the translation I read (NIV) and it does not preclude that a church can also be a building or a physical structure. (After all, Jesus and Paul spent time in temples of worship.)

      Probably the most often cited verse for the building of a physical church would be…

      Matthew 16:18 (New International Version)

      18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

      Again, the word “build” is probably more properly applied to the “go” and “do” attitude you have articulated. But I don’t recall text in the Bible that discourages holy centers of worship.

      On your point about winning souls, I don’t recall saying that it was the church’s responsibility to win souls — it is simply to be a place where discipleship occurs (but that does not mean it is the “only” place it should happen). Obviously, God wins souls.

      But I just wanted to end my dialog reminding you of this verse (sorry it’s not from Greek text)…

      Proverbs 14:8 (New International Version)

      8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
      but the folly of fools is deception.

      In other words, you’re only deceiving yourself with your cynicism toward me and the churches in question. Now, “go” fight some “real” battles for the Lord and use your wisdom more prudently.

      • Hi B,
        Thanks for the immediate response!

        B stated,

        For some reason there was no “reply” option on your last comment.

        That’s wordpress for ya!

        B Continues,

        Admittedly, I’m not a scholar of original Greek text. But, physical or not, the word “church” is throughout the New Testament in the translation I read (NIV) and it does not preclude that a church can also be a building or a physical structure. (After all, Jesus and Paul spent time in temples of worship.)

        I know you are not a Greek scholar but then again I never asked you to be one did I? Jesus spent time in the Synagogues and Temples debating their reason for being there. If you remember Synagogues and Temples were/are places people assemble who are looking for their messiah to arrive…..Jesus and Paul were there to inform them He had already arrived! I’ll get to your other point now….

        B Stated,

        Probably the most often cited verse for the building of a physical church would be…
        Matthew 16:18 (New International Version)
        18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

        What rock was Jesus referring to? Was it his statement of faith found in verse 16? Can buildings say “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God”? I don’t think so but people can and do every single day. The term “church” in the above verse is properly defined as “the totality of all believers” and not a building as you and those who “often” cite this verse suggest.

        B Stated,

        Again, the word “build” is probably more properly applied to the “go” and “do” attitude you have articulated. But I don’t recall text in the Bible that discourages holy centers of worship.

        Holy centers of worship? Are you a Roman Catholic? If not you sure argue like one! Buildings aren’t “holy” dude it’s the believers INSIDE the building who are.

        (1Pe 2:9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

        B Stated,

        On your point about winning souls, I don’t recall saying that it was the church’s responsibility to win souls — it is simply to be a place where discipleship occurs (but that does not mean it is the “only” place it should happen). Obviously, God wins souls.

        Thank you for the clarification but you did say they were “at least doing something” and according to the OP it was erecting a billboard. I’m still waiting for you to show me where that is a biblical means of soul winning.

        B Concludes,
        But I just wanted to end my dialog reminding you of this verse (sorry it’s not from Greek text)…
        Proverbs 14:8 (New International Version)
        8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
        but the folly of fools is deception.
        In other words, you’re only deceiving yourself with your cynicism toward me and the churches in question. Now, “go” fight some “real” battles for the Lord and use your wisdom more prudently.

        Thank you for the friendly advice! I’ll take it to heart and I’ll leave you with some that I feel speaks for itself without getting personal……from the ESV!

        (2Ti 2:15) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

        Thanks,

        Phil

  3. Tonyvawe says:

    You have step on some men’s tones and they do not like it. The words of Ghandi still sounds over the earth. Why is McKendry read your stuff if he had a problem with the contents. O please people get to Christ and read your Bible.

  4. B.McKendry says:

    There’s nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to Blog names and Blog content headings (i.e., “The Writing On The Wall” and “Another Brick In The Wall”).

    But not to distinguish the differences in execution and quality between NorthRidge’s and Christ Covenant’s campaigns shows a lack of understanding about advertising and marketing communications.

    That’s probably why you get so few comments on your posts.

    Pithy, I know. But so is your assumption that one idea inspired the other one.

    • hiscrivener says:

      Interesting. I admit there’s no such thing as an original idea, but then again I’ve read the Bible and understand “The Writing on the Wall” isn’t really something I invented. Read why this blog exists and you’ll find the inception is more original than you think. Along with your assumption of my understanding of advertising and marketing.

      As for the comments, if you have sage counsel, let me know. I’m all ears. Well, most of the time.

      • B.McKendry says:

        Trust me, I’m with you 100 percent on your lack of affinity for stereotypical Christian marketing — especially when Christian marketers plagiarize well-known corporate/secular brands for their own purposes.

        It’s unethical and it blankets Christian marketers with a shroud of ineptitude.

        My point in writing to you was that these two campaigns (NorthRidge and Christ Covenant) may be close in thematic elements (i.e., making people uncomfortable and letting people know they don’t need to be perfect to attend church), but they are world’s apart in execution and creative thought. And it is very likely that NorthRidge knew nothing of Christ Covenant’s campaign, so it is very likely that one did not inspire the other.

        So continue your admittedly snarky wage against bad Christian marketing, but also heed Jesus’ advice: (John 8:7) “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone …” Which applies here because I understand that the Book of Daniel inspired your Blog’s name, but it appears some of your Blog’s key subheadings had other inspirations (e.g., “Another Brick in The Wall’ from Pink Floyd). And, if that’s the case, you’re doing exactly what you’re challenging others not to do.

        Regardless, my point is, the NorthRidge and Christ Covenant campaigns were intended to be original. And, execution-wise, they as far apart as Detroit, MI and Beaumont, TX. And the similarity between the campaigns does not rise anywhere close to the level of forgery that you portray in your other examples.

        As for astute pointers on getting more comments, do as Jesus did — He asked a lot of great questions.

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