Recently, upon entering my abode, I noticed a white-bag attached to my front door. I gingerly handled it, opened it and found a cleverly designed box spring open in my hand.
This was no ordinary advertisement. Of the six sides on the cube, four had religious jokes about Moses, Noah and the magi. The other two sides advertised for a young, energetic twenty-something church that will bring no demands upon her members.
It was an ad for a church inviting people to its "grand opening." I kid you not.
The church is meeting in a commercial center where another "gen-x" church used to meet. I suspect its the same church with a makeover.
The advertising did its job: I knew exactly what they stood for; and I wanted nothing to do with it.
I'm not interested in a church that tries to attract members through jokes.
Are they going to humor people to heaven?
I'm not impressed with their tag line either: "We think church should be something to look forward to, where children and adults can have fun."
Why not go to a circus--you get more "fun" for your money.
Of course, some might complain that I'm being too harsh, too heartless, and too...humorless? However, one's view of sin and the gospel will reflect itself in the church--even in its advertisement.
Does man avoid God because of "stuffy" church?--then advertise a "casual" dress code. Does man avoid God because of "slow" music?--then advertise "loud" music. Does man avoid God because of "irrelevent" sermons?--then advertise "relevant" messages.
However, if man's fundamental problem is his rebellious alienation from God (Rom. 1:18ff.), then the Gospel (and the church upon which it is built) will reflect that condition. A church will not even try to "advertise" itself but will stand boldly upon the Law and Gospel of the Word of Christ. Law to convict of sin; Gospel to cover sin. The church should be a comfort for believers and a challenge to unbelievers.
Church should not be in the business of reinventing the Gospel (or Church) but standing firm in the antithesis between the World and the Church. There are no "grand openings." If Christ is our model, he was a poor businessman, preaching conviction of sin and the realities of hell.
The only "advertisement' a church needs is its faithful adherence to the entire Word of God. And the only "reinventing" a church needs is a spirit-wrought reformation.