Sharing Jesus with a Consumer Culture
Author: Tim Sinclair
Branded aptly points out that Christians are losing their potency when it comes to “making disciples of all nations.” We have become antiquated in our strategies, comfortable in our own circles, and unmotivated to move out of routine in an effort to reach the unchurched. The Christian “brand” is experiencing a slump.
As the author, Tim Sinclair, aptly puts it, “Many people have no problem with Christ, but a big problem with Christians. Expressed in marketing terms, the product isn’t the problem – the spokespeople are. Instead of bringing people to Jesus, it seems we’re more effective at turning them away.”
Sinclair highlights the Christian proclivity for displaying our Christianity through our jewelry, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. Just like we take a negative view of those with the Darwin fish on the back of their car, an unchurched or non-Christian person would not want to approach one of us displaying these symbols. These symbols attract like people; they don’t encourage those on the outside to come on in.
So, what are we to do? Sinclair uses examples of marketing greats like Apple, Best Buy, and Google to show that it’s really all about relationship. When a Best Buy employee is knowledgeable, friendly and works to meet your needs, you buy their products. Were that employee unapproachable, speaking in terms you couldn’t understand and quick to move on to another customer, you’d be unlikely to develop a long-term commitment to that company. Much like churches – we need to communicate, be friendly, offer a relationship, and encourage the seeker to ask questions and feel comfortable so that he/she will stay.
The last chapter of the book focuses on radical ideas for change. What about not tithing to the church one week and instead giving the money to someone you know who is recently unemployed? What about visiting other churches of people who believe differently? Would they be more willing to visit our church is we had a willingness to visit theirs? I love that he is thinking outside of the box. It appears to me that the box is the problem – we are comfortable where we are, with our fellow Christians, worshipping the same way we have for decades with the occasional Christmas outreach or mission trip or Habitat house without ever having to really welcome those on the outside in.
Tim Sinclair gets us thinking. He takes seriously the mandate to “become fishers of men” and seeks to make Christianity relevant while maintaining the truth of the Bible.
***I received this book free of charge from LitFuse in exchange for my honest review…