by Stan Bennett

by Stan Bennett

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Can't Market this Crap Anymore

A masters of divinity is twice the size of most masters degrees and you'd think it would make us better ministers, but some of the very best students become the worst pastors. A studious demeanor is not attractive to the masses--they think we're dull, and maybe we are. Perhaps we'd be more successful if seminaries taught us how to sing and dance, tell jokes, create a budget, raise money, deal with staff issues, and develop marketing ploys.

Rick Warren is a nice man and the truth is I kind of like him, and a year after his son's suicide I don't want to be ugly toward him.  But he didn't grow one of largest, wealthiest churches in the United States based on his deep theology. And his book did not sell a jillion copies because he's a great writer (I'm sorry, but he's not). He accomplished all this because he is a great marketer.

In my current denomination, I'm sent by leadership to the churches I serve.  But in my earlier years, I would be hired outright by congregations.  Search committees would interview me and they were interested in how funny I was, how much energy I had, how well I got along with others, and how good a speaker I was. They never asked questions about goodness or morality or theology or mission. They asked about how we could get new people, while keeping the ones they had.  And that's all.  

Some churches do well with ministers who are less educated and trained. Often they come from other occupations, and people say they're good because they've had experience in "the real world." Especially in sales.

I am a thinker, a teacher, and I take care of people.  That might make me a good minister, but it won't make me a success at marketing churches.

In fact, I suck at marketing because I don't believe in the product. Churches don't make people better, they make them sicker.  They preach about truth, but no one is allowed to think. They speak of spiritual growth, but they make people infantile. They speak of freedom in Christ, but they brainwash through intimidation.

Even if I was a good marketer, I can't sell that. Not anymore.


  1. There's a reason Apple sent their people to evangelist school, sales and modern evangelism are one and the same. I have little stomach for either.