It’s time to grab a bucket and start bailing.
I think it was D. L . Moody who famously quipped that the Church is like boat: in order for a boat to be what it was created to be, it must be in water. But if too much of the water gets in the boat it will sink. Similarly, in order for the Church to be what she was created to be she must be in the world. But if too much of the world gets in the Church, she will sink. Okay, so this analogy only goes so far and is admittedly flawed. Don’t miss his point, though.
James Twitchell’s Shopping for God: How Christianity Went From In Your Heart To In Your Face (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007) traces part of the problem to an idea conceived by a man named Mel Stewart. Actually, Mel just capitalized on an idea he saw while driving one day: a moveable type sign in front of a church. Heretofore churches did not typically have large signs since religion was considered private and signage was too public.
He added flourescent lights. He added larger letters. Twitchell thinks he turned American churches on to the idea of branding, the topic which the remainder of the book seeks to address. A fascinating study of the business of church marketing in America.