Marketing Religion

  (01 January 08)
  by Greg Spearritt

It seems to have worked for Coca-Cola and KFC. Why not for the Christian churches?

The Sydney Morning Herald cites IBISWorld industry analyst Edward Butler as saying young people these days are used to marketing. He attributes some of the success of Pentecostal groups like Hillsong to media images of "lots of young people having a good time in a community environment".

But doesn't making Christianity yet another 'consumer experience' to be had rather contradict its message of selflessness?

(And that's quite apart from the issue of truth in advertising: a significant minority of young people will come away from church involvement not fulfilled and radiantly happy, but scarred - as Tanya Levin's story about leaving Hillsong attests.)

And yet... word of mouth doesn't seem to cut the mustard for the churches either, these days. Is it really advertise or perish?


Marketing religion is really dangerous stuff. People need to be warned that it is not unlike snaky mortgage selling where you can be taken for life and not end up owning anything. You can be paying for the rest of your life! Buyers of real estate are beginning to find out that the mortgage they are paying out is for a product that is far less than what it is worth. The same with religions that are marketed in the same way, beguilingly attractive with promises of happy eternal lifetimes.

Posted by robert halsey

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