The New Gospel: Marketing Purpose & Passion

Because the “heart is deceitfully wicked” I do not know the cause of my blood boiling. Is it jealousy or righteous indignation?

A friend sent me an article about Greg Stielstra’s new book titled: Pyro Marketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life. The book outlines the behind-the-scenes reasons for the success of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.

I had heard most of this stuff before, but somehow seeing it in print really gets to me.

” Stielstra tells how Warren began his book-selling campaign in October 2002 by getting 1,200 ministers to preach sermons based on the book to their congregations and providing the members of those churches copies of the book and asking them to read a chapter from it every day for 40 days.
Those readers formed groups of eight or 10 who met in homes once a week to discuss the book. Some of them bought more books to pass on to friends and relatives. Within two months a small fire, one that began with a ministry program to just twelve hundred pastors, spread interest in The Purpose-Driven Life beyond the walls of the church to produce a No. 1 bestseller with two million units sold. And that was just the beginning,” Stielstra writes.”

Who knows how to discern one’s own motives in “getting 1200 pastors” to use YOUR new book in a sermon series? In the 90’s Ralph Reed tried to co-opt the church as a distribution outlet for the Christian Coalition voter’s guide. Is this new co-opting for the sales of books and promotion of movies any different? All are driven by alleged good motives and ALL end up catapulting products and their creators to new positions of fame and power.

I recently posted, without comment, an article about a church looking specifically for a pastor from a marketing background! I hope everybody knows I think this is outrageous, though understandable in this whacky popular Christian subculture in which we live!

In America we know how to grow churches through marketing, but how much do we know about growing deeply devoted disciples of Jesus Christ?
Is the church being reduced to a marketing outlet for the gospel, movies and books? I visited a church where the pastor broke into his sermon to announce they still had a few cases of Warren’s book available at a discounted price! What’s This? Does anybody else think this is nuts?

Having said this–I wish my books sold better and if I could get 1200 pastors to preach from my “Christian Wisdom of the Jedi” book it would sell better, more people would listen to me with all my wisdom and I could be on Larry King for the glory of God!

There was a time when writers wrote books and readers read them. Today people with distribution networks write books and market them to people in the distribution chain; are they worth reading? DO people read them?

All is vanity says Ecclesiastes. “Of making many books there is no end and much study is the weariness of the flesh.” Only one thing matters: “Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of everyone.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 12&13).

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in October 25, 2005 by | No Comments »

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