God Save Me from Christian Branding

I have seen this so often that I d0n’t even have the words for how annoying it is.

Someone starts out well, with some exceptional resources or great preaching and they get a following. Then, that following prompts them to write a book or create a video or something of that nature. Enough people then buy the book or video to justify a follow-up.

The publishing company then launches a massive marketing campaign for said follow-up, and it gets plastered everywhere. Suddenly, the author’s tweets become marketing-speak to sell the new resource. If the author is a blogger, everything seems to require a reference to said resource. The name of the resource (or marketing tagline) becomes a noun, verb, adjective and adverb. Every word of their mouth or keyboard is promotion for said item.

Then I tell Facebook and hide their posts and I click the unfollow button on Twitter.

Because you’ve become one dimensional and shallow, no matter how deep and powerful you once were. The only thing that matters is hocking the product, and that means that no matter how much you might protest of your commitment to people and such, the almighty dollar has just taken over.

Sorry. You might be awesome. Your new resource might be awesome. But I will probably never know because the marketing blitz and overblown, shameless self-promotion has forced me to completely tune you out.

I’m Not Sure How I Feel About This

Michael Hyatt recently blogged on the topic of Tribe Building – this idea that marketing is not as important as a community that believes passionately in your product.

To be honest, I have never been a big fan of marketing in the church in the first place. But I am also a bit hesitant to think of building community as a method of growing the tribe. It seems kind of repetitive to me – create a tribe to build the tribe? Which comes first? The product or the tribe?

The examples Hyatt cites built their tribes not by building a tribe but by having a superior product. The product itself united the tribe, and then once there was a tribe, they became rabid supporters of the product.

In the church, we are not in the business of building tribes. We are to commit ourselves to the glory of Christ. As he draws men and women to himself through us, they will in turn be used to draw other men and women to him through them. In my thinking, building the tribe is not the glory of God. The glory of God will build the tribe.

What do you think?