Should the mission of the church be more akin to a sales model or a marketing model?
Both sales and marketing are part of economics. Some Christians may think that economics is of the world system and Christians should not be part of the world system. This is a mistake. Economy, hence sales and marketing, are part of the social sciences which include: anthropology, communication, cultural studies, economics, education, history, human geography, international relations, linguistics, law, political science, psychology, social psychology, sociology, and social work.
How could rational Christians divorce themselves from the social sciences, just because the world system employs the same data? God’s commands are: love God, love your neighbor, Love mercy, do justice, walk humbly with your God.
What would the mission of the church look like if the church avoided learning about communication, education, international relations or history? The fact is they all describe action of human beings.
The fact is, understanding how people act, react, and think is invaluable in developing relationships.
Over time, marketing has been considered a one-way communication model, while sales is the two-way process to close the deal. Modern marketing models include more two-way communication models, which I think fits better with human nature.
Most people who consider themselves Christians have never explained salvation to anyone, and fewer have invited anyone to accept Jesus as Lord, Savior, and King. We are all be called to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you….” If every Christian would introduce one person to Christ, the increase would be more noticeable.
From this concern, I make the assertion that the Church, as a whole, is to be engaged with a marketing model. One may never lead another to Christ, but every day is a day to “walk humbly with your God.” “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (Approved October 2007) Marketing is disseminating value. Marketing appeals to the desires/needs. If you have a great dinner at a restaurant, you tell people. The Church has an offering of infinite personal value. This is why sanctification is vital. We have to value Christ in our hearts in order to convey that value to others.
When a person accepts Christ, that person becomes a child of God and receives justification (δικαίωσις – acquittal, justifying, justification, a process of absolution) immediately, ” 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” This is the sale, the closing of the deal. On the other hand, sanctification (ἁγιασμός – becoming holy, being set apart) is the work of the Holy Spirit living in the heart. This work benefits the believer. Jesus did that which He saw the Father do. In revealing Christ to the heart, the Spirit endows the believer with the ability to emulate the Son. This work brings life to the believer, for life’s sake. In bringing about life, the Spirit melds, molds, shapes the believer’s life toward the image of Christ’s life. The effects of sanctification transform the child of God’s being, until, in the end, our actions match the declared state of justification Christians have been given in Christ.
As the world look at sales, it sees the exchange of one thing of value for another thing of value. For the Church, here there is a divergence. Christ offers eternal life, love, and fellowship – a pearl of great price. The transaction diverges from the world’s values as Christ requests no payment for the value He offers. This is a big difference.
- 1“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
- 2“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.
- 3“Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
Our task is to yield to the Spirit in such a way as to display the “Imago Dei”, image of God in us. It is Christ who attracts. It is God’s work that we believe.
Our primary task is to yield/offer our life to God as worship, an acceptable sacrifice. The Spirit will bless this attitude and draw people to Christ, as in marketing. We still must be ready to offer answers to those who ask and to invite others to accept Jesus into their heart, as in sales.
Look at any research annotating what people say turns them away from the Church/Christ. Then look at research pertaining to what people site as drawing them to Christ. Or simply ask people yourself. You will find the actions of those who call themselves Christian play a significant role in both cases.
32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”