A Gospel that will change the world.
This morning I began reading The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips. Having been a regular reader of the blog, Pyromaniacs, I expected this book to be pretty crazy. The intro chapter was hard-charging and makes some pretty big claims. He opens the book with a look at the “blind panic” Paul and the disciples created everywhere they went. In spite of the fact that the modern church has amazing resources (social media included) that the early church lacked, the modern day church has lost the one thing that the early church had in great abundance: world-tilting power. He concludes that, “Whatever you can say they are doing, you can’t say evangelicals are turning the world upside down. In fact, you could make a better case that the world has turned the church upside down.”
With people leaving the church in record numbers and the fact that the church is losing it’s significance in mainstream culture, it looks like he might be right. He believes the reason for this can be explained in four primary barriers, but the two he tackles in the book are: (1) Modern evangelicals lack a biblical worldview that explains the need for and the nature of the gospel and (2) Modern evangelicals do not make the essential connection between believing and obeying. While he makes offhand remarks that the church doesn’t need better marketing, I think the primary barriers he aims to bust in the book have everything to do with marketing.
Know the Gospel and follow it’s calling.
The first barrier is a first principle to marketing. You must understand the product. In order to fulfill our Great Commission, we must first clearly understand the faith. At this point, I’m not sure whether I’m going to love or hate Dan’s description of the faith, but I know that we have to know it cold. As Christians, we have to have a clear understanding of Jesus and our need for Him. From there, we can tackle the second barrier, which is a requirement for selling (i.e. marking more disciples). Whether or not we obey what we profess to believe is a question of authenticity. If we aren’t living out our faith, we’ll never bring more people along with us on our journey.
A church marketing idea – help your church get the Gospel.
If you are looking for church marketing ideas, consider whether or not the people in your congregation understand the Gospel. Do they get Jesus and their need for Him? Perhaps this is a great place to start. In order for your church to make more disciples and fill the seats on Sunday, they are going to need a firm and clear understanding of the faith. Dan Phillips sums up what you might find in your church: “Cherished traditional notions they have in abundance; biblical truth in all its raw, intrusive, and transforming power, they lack.” If this is the case, consider ways you can help your church get the Gospel right. You might try:
- Preaching a series on the basics of the faith
- Church-wide small group book study that explores the Gospel and it’s necessity today
- Create a plain-spoken list, summarizing the essentials of the Gospel and print it in your bulletin
- Post the basics of the faith one by one on your Facebook fan page and encourage discussion
If you are interested in using Dan’s book as a jumping-off point to execute on these church marketing ideas, purchase The World Tilting Gospel (affiliate link).