Chuck Terrill: Are we a roar or a squeak?
A tiger met a lion as they sat beside a pool.
Said the tiger to the lion, “Why are you roaring like a fool?”
“That’s not foolish,” said the lion with a twinkle in his eye.
“They call me the king of beasts because I advertise.”
A rabbit heard them talking and ran home like a streak. He thought he’d try the lion’s plan, but his roar was just a squeak.
A fox came to investigate and had his lunch in the woods. And so, my friend, when you advertise, be sure you’ve got the goods!
This little bit of doggerel relays a good bit of truth.
We’re living in a day of one-up-man-ship and hyperbole. Every product on the market is advertised as newer, improved, bigger, better, giant-sized, super or deluxe. The packaging may be eye appealing, but inside, the product is the same.
Much effort is invested in catching the consumer’s attention. The goal is to redirect a customer to a product that is relatively the same as a competitor’s product.
There are many churches that are advertising new, improved, bigger, better, giant-sized, super or deluxe. They know that attractive packaging will bring new customers. Church marketing is the new goal of many churches. Rebranding a church is a popular phenomenon.
Inside the church, the pastors are the same pastors. The people are the same people. The denominational affiliation does not change. But the church is awarded a new, improved, bigger, better, giant-sized, super or deluxe name. And, consumers are being redirected by the trick.
There are many Christians who believe the roar that is just a squeak. They go for the gimmicks. The hype gets them. They consider the new, improved, bigger, better, giant-sized, super or deluxe church complete with complimentary gift card to be somehow better. Don’t they realize that the product is much more important than the packaging?
The gospel is not new. It cannot be improved upon. The Living Word has always been bigger than life, and nothing can be better than new life through Christ. You can hype the church as much as you want, but you can’t hype Jesus. He is changeless.
The message of the cross in truth, clarity, and power is what matters. While many Christians and churches are focused on methods, the unflinching message of Jesus must always be the focus of a Christ honoring church.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:25).
Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.