Ask Abbie: I attend a church that recently hired church consultants that seem to be taking a secular approach toward building a congregation. Can your readers please offer advice? I have mixed feelings. If it brings people to Christ, that’s all good. My concern is that these men are very successful secular businessmen. They have a great track record of building churches, but it’s all about business to them. I’m not certain any of them are actually Christians. Should I speak up?
This is such a difficult question. Churches today are hard at work attempting to figure out how to get the community more involved. A wide range of information is available to churches. Everything from how to prevent the congregation from showing up late to having a special tuning of instruments which strike scientific frequencies that are considered to be more in tune with the frequencies of the universe.
I think it’s important for churches to consider all factors when bringing people into the seats for a sermon. We should seek to involve the community and proclaim Christ whenever we can.
The real question: can marketing bring people to Christ? How much can we strategically guide a congregation to become disciples?
Psychologists and church consultants can get people into the seats. They may strategically plan the aesthetics, define a marketing plan allowing your church to stand out among the crowd, and offer direction for the praise band and the set list. But can we as people strategically transform a human being into a Christ follower? Of course not. Only God can transform the soul. It’s our job as the Body of Christ to become His body, His leaders.
The genesis of your concern should be redirected toward an analysis of your church. Take away the consultants…are people being transformed? If you have no disciples, you have no ministry.
Standing Inside a Garage Does Not Make You a Car
Simply attending a church does not make you a Christian. Information alone will not change the souls of people. We live in a world overwhelmed with information, yet ignorance still exists. Too often people attend church each week, yet they are never changed or affected. They are often singled out as examples of Christian hypocrites to the secular world. Becoming a Christian is a commitment to change — not feelings or the psychological profile of a church consultant. The world — mostly outside the West — is full of Christians hiding in basements from hostile governments. Some have become so committed to Christ they no longer hide in shelter because they have been transformed.
My personal opinion: I think it is justifiable to use every ounce of psychology and marketing to get people into the seats. But if it’s all about the money, don’t fear the consultants; fear that God will judge your church like the market place in the synagogue. The church will never be blessed, and God will not place favor upon the leaders, the pastor, and the staff that supports such behavior. If your church is the rock of Peter standing for the glory of God, then support the consultants who are getting the community to attend; but also make sure the church staff is guiding them towards the gates of Heaven!