Why We Use ‘Sucks’

March 1, 2005 by

Some people take issue with our use of the word ‘sucks’, and we understand their concerns. Growing up, some on our team weren’t even allowed to use the word, and our moms still don’t like it.

Looking to the Bible, we don’t find a list of ‘naughty’ words to stay away from. In Ephesians 4:29, Paul admonishes us to watch the way we talk. This doesn’t refer to specific words, but to the character of what we say. Looking through the book of Job and the book of Psalms, there are some pretty choice words used by men of God. In Job 3:8, Job says “May those who are good at cursing curse that day” (MSG). There’s plenty of precedence when it comes to being authentic in our emotions and feelings—that includes the words we use.

Which is exactly what we’re doing with the name Church Marketing Sucks.

We’re being authentic. We’re being real. We’re doing the same thing we’re asking the church to do when it comes to communicating and marketing who they are.

Profanity is culturally and contextually defined. There’s nothing inherently bad about any word. In our changing culture previously profane words are losing their original unwholesome associations. ‘Suck’ no longer references a sexual act in today’s context. Instead, it means something disagreeable or offensive (some might say our defense of the word ‘suck’ sucks). Likewise you could be just as profane and unwholesome using clinical language—it’s the context that makes the difference.

In the end we’re trying to help the church. We have better things to do than argue word choice, and we think the church does, too.

Many recall a familiar message by Tony Campolo where he uses the four-letter “s” word. Iterations exist all over the place (including the Internet), but the context goes something like “[This many] children have died of hunger today and you don’t give a s–t! In fact, you are more concerned with the fact that I said ‘s–t’ than [this many] children died of hunger.”

While this story may be a little harsh to those of you who don’t like our word choice, the point remains. Too often the church gets distracted by lesser things and misses the point. Our point is that church marketing is lame and needs some help. We’re using strong language to get your attention and make that point, but the point isn’t our word choice—it’s church marketing.

Read through the site. We hope what we’re doing pleases God and is helping churches around the world, and that isn’t lessened by a word thought to be vulgar once upon a time. If you don’t think so, we apologize for offending you.

In fact, we understand your concern and have made an alternate url available: ChurchMarketingStinks.com. It will redirect to ChurchMarketingSucks.com, but if you have a problem printing the word ‘sucks’ we’d encourage you to use this less offensive alternative. (read our press release Church Marketing Sucks Provides Alternative Address)

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

116 Responses to “Why We Use ‘Sucks’”

  • Sita-pati das
    March 1, 2005

    When I thought about the name, I thought it could be understood in the sense of “Church Marketing Attracts”, or “Church Marketing Stinks”. I thought it was a good double entendre. I still think it is. If you play up the “Attracts” angle of the word “Sucks” (along with the vaccuum cleaner logo), you may be able to pacify the minds of those who take issue with the language.

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  • snozrap
    March 1, 2005

    I thought that ‘Church Marketing Sucks’ was a play on the title of the marketing book ‘Your Marketing Sucks’.
    It’s a shame so many Christians have a problem with it. I remember reading years ago that many Christian bookstores wouldn’t carry an album by Christian punk band Squad 5-0, because it had a song with ‘explicit language’. That song being ‘Our State Flag Sucks’. Sucks was the offending word. Perhaps the anti-patriotism was also a problem…

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  • brand1m
    March 2, 2005

    Sometimes the truth hurts.

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  • timsamoff
    March 2, 2005

    Now you’ll just have to dynamically change the CMS logo every time someone uses the alternate URL. ;)

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  • wendy
    April 4, 2005

    The truth of it is, it’s a just word, it’s witty (vaccuum logo), it gets the point across, AND it gets your attention – I fail to see a problem with that.

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  • Anazopyreo
    April 17, 2005

    You know, I just grew up with the word ‘sucks’ and I never associated it with anything wrong until my mother suddenly started letting me know that she hated me saying it. It took me a long time to figure out why and then i wasn’t really sure that was the reason. A few choice bumper stickers made it clear to me. To me it has never meant anything other than something is not good.

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  • RealMagazine.com
    April 18, 2005

    The 10 Commandments Don’t List Profanity

    When I was your age, I could cuss with the best of them. I’d let loose with a string of four-letter words I’d heard from R-rated movies or when my dad let slip when a project wasn’t working. Using swear…

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  • Scott Self
    May 4, 2005

    Much church marketing sucks in two senses – one is “suckiness,” and the other is the way in which many churches “suck” out the meaning and mission of their churches when they advertize.
    But I STILL don’t say “suck’s” to my mom.

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  • Reub
    May 22, 2005

    i run an outreach project called “THE VERB… talk is cheap”. to help support your ministry here are some alternatives to my organization’s name:
    “THE VERB… talk can be sucky”
    “THE VERB… don’t use sucky talk”
    “THE VERB… talk without action sucks”
    ;) my witty comments must suck at least a few of you into checking out my website ;)
    -> http://www.theverb.org

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    • D. R. Leach
      December 3, 2012

      Yes, if you repent you are.

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    • Jill Straug
      March 14, 2014

      Who cares about your ‘sucky’ website. And No, I won’t be visiting it. It probably sucks just like your comment.

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  • Joe
    June 29, 2005

    SUCK SUCK SUCK. Yup, I’m still a Christian.

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    • Mike
      September 14, 2010

      Yes, and while God still sent His Son for you and still oves you, He would probably still wish you’d use another word.

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      • Doreen
        July 27, 2011

        Could you fix the ‘L’ on loves?

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    • Nick
      June 21, 2012

      Insistence on practicing worldliness is not a Christian character trait.

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  • Melissa
    August 1, 2005

    I assumed you used it because having “church” and “sucks” in the url made it exceptionally easy to get the domain you wanted! Or that you were also raised close to your delightful, Godly, British Grandmother who often referred to negative things based on the fact that they “sucked as the bitter of a lemon” …. a most common and acceptable thing to say :>)

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  • Alison
    August 11, 2005

    Hmm. Try removing the word “marketing”

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  • Aaron
    August 19, 2005

    I found this site through a Yahoo search and when I saw the title “Church Marketing Sucks” I knew it would be GREAT! The name is liberating!

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  • James Dickerson
    August 20, 2005

    I say suck in my Sunday sermons alot (along with a few other choice words my Granny would wash my tongue for using). This I do because we are branded as a “reality church”. After careful study of surveys we conducted in our area (St. Louis, Mo) we found that many people don’t attend church because “people in church are fakes”. With this in mind The Community OF Faith Church developed a “Keepin’ it Real” approach to ministry and marketing.
    That is why I visited this site in the first place. “Church Marketing Sucks” said to me “Keepin’ it Real”.

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  • J.C Jennings
    August 23, 2005

    Keep up the good work. I love this site and I’m checking it often. Our Church is looking for ways to keep up with today’s culture and verbage is a huge area. I used to sub “inhales quickly” for “sucks” but no more.
    I spoke at our church this past Sunday and I actually used a post from this site as research material. And I said Sucks too. If you’re interested in listening. Check out our url and look for the Aug. 21st message “The Standing Army”

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  • Rob Adcox
    August 25, 2005

    Well, here’s something for ya: I’ve been cheated out of a lot of student loan money (about $60,000 worth, a conservative estimate) by so-called “Christians” in three universities. One of them was Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, another was Liberty University, and the third was Radford University. The “Christians” who ran the programs I was in thought nothing of giving me the ol’ shaft-a-roonie, but Heaven Forbid that anyone in their presence should let slip an impolite word, because THAT would be VULGAR, now wouldn’t it? The lesson I learned in the “Christian” schools, and among the “Christian” department heads and professors in secular universities, is that cheating and back-stabbing are okay, but foul language is unacceptable. GAG. The hypocrisy sickens me. As far as I’m concerned, the so-called “Christians” at those universities all S-U-C-K.

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  • nartz
    August 28, 2005

    haha, i thought at first the use of suck was an ironic retort at how churches, through the use of marketing, are becoming so worldly. guess not. haha

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  • Jon
    August 31, 2005

    You people are ridiculous. “Looking to the Bible, we don’t find a list of ‘naughty’ words to stay away from.” you have to be kidding me. I’m going to yell the ‘F’ word next sunday in church as loud as I can and say, “The bible doesnt say you cant say that.” Your using the Holy Bible in a way it wasn’t meant to be used. You can’t just extract things out of the Bible and use it to say see this is okay or see thats okay. You can pull anything out of the bible out of its context and use it in an argument. Anyway. Jesus rocks and he’s a lot cooler than you guys. Good luck.

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  • Keith Brenton
    September 1, 2005

    I suspect the stigma associated with the verb “sucks” now that Dish Network is running a series of clever ads about TVs that suck because they’re on cable.
    Soon, my 9- and 12-year-old children will be using the word and I will cringe at first and then grow used to it and remind them not to say it when we visit Grandma.
    Do words lose their power from overuse? Their power to shock, inspire, convict? Will we have to coin new ones? Will the name of this site eventually have to be changed to ‘Church Marketing Snorks!’ or ‘Church Marketing Flunts!’ or even something as vile as ‘Church Marketing Audits!’?
    We shall see.

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  • John
    September 3, 2005

    WOW, my wife hates that word too. So in jest, I looked up “suck” in Webster’s and found out that it meant “to inhale profusely.” So I’ve started saying “that inhales profusely”, instead… That really sucks!

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  • Brian
    September 12, 2005

    I LOVE your message. I love what you are saying. I get it. I’m 27, worked doing graphic design for a couple of years, and now am a Pastor and I love it.
    However, there are two things that I want to throw out for you to think about…
    1) Finish reading Eph 4:29… it continues to talk about what communication should be: edifying. (To edify means to build up.) I’m not saying you are or aren’t being edifying, but you cited Eph 4:29 as a defense saying it doesn’t prohibit the use of any word… you missed the point, and the people you want to communicate to would find your point highly debatable. Don’t cite a scripture unless its a strong defense. It weakens your point and credibility with those who most need to hear what you have to say.
    2) As my grandma used to say… “You catch more flies with honey…” Where I live, most people my age or younger are so familiar with the word “sucks” that a lot of them wouldn’t even realize its contriversial. They also seem to have a good perspective as far as art, communication and the church go. So I’m guessing they aren’t your “target market.” On the other hand, who needs to hear your message? Sadly, people who aren’t going to read much past your name. Sad for them that they miss out on being free from laws God never wrote. Sad for you in that your attempt to communicate to them failed.
    Again, I LOVE it. But I already get it. There is nothing wrong or sinful about it. Just make sure you always seek the Lord and really pray that you would be as effective as you can in communicating your desperately needed message to the people who need to hear it most. (Eph 4:15a)

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  • Nick
    September 13, 2005

    I cannot believe that you call yourselves Christians, but think it okay to use words that refer to a man’s penis. Do you really think that God is glorified?
    Even the passage you refer to Job 3:8 does not mention the curse word.
    Not only will I NOT use your site, but I will not tell others about it as that would only spark their curiosity and then give you more traffic. Get behind me Satan.

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  • kevin
    September 13, 2005

    So, Nick, I can’t use words that refer to a man’s penis?
    Yet you said “penis”.
    Oops, I said “penis”.
    You missed my whole thing about profanity being culturally and contextually defined, didn’t you?

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  • Rosanne
    September 15, 2005

    I don’t think the word “suck” is in of itself “evil”….everything depends upon how a word is used in context. However, it is a low-class, rough-around the edges, “common” word for which there is only one substitution in the Thesaurus–“stink.” A little * near the word says “vulgar.”
    A recent TV ad has taken to using it to describe why you should switch from cable to dish, ie using the phrase “your TV really sucks”… as a baby and other items are drawn into the TV set. We’ve become a “common” culture and it shows in our choice of words. It’s unfortunate that you use the term, because I like what you have to say on your blog.

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  • kevin
    September 15, 2005

    I don’t think this is what you meant, Rosanne, but it sure sounds like you’re saying we’re not supposed to use “low class” or “common” words. Are we supposed to be high class and haughty then? Use big long words?
    I thought Jesus came to destroy class lines–you know, the whole king born in a barn thing?

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  • Kevin Parker
    October 11, 2005

    Let’s get something straight: Words have no inherent meaning and are therefore arbitrary symbols. They vary from one language and culture to another. The only thing that gives a word meaning is (not Webster’s, but) context. Just like Scripture. Plenty of Christians take Scriptures out of context and call it good, but the context is everything.
    Next, why is it so offensive to good Christians to use a “vulgar” word to make a point? First, “vulgar” doesn’t just mean “offensive,” but also refers to “ordinary people’s language.” The New Testament was written in vulgar (i.e., koine) Greek, not the proper Greek of the sophists. I’m not a fan of guys using the “F” word to make a point. But even the revered apostle Paul was not above using a vulgar word for dramatic effect. Philippians 3:8 says “I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” The word translated “rubbish” (or “dung” in KJV) is actually closer in meaning to “crap.” But most even as far back as some patristic writers have attempted to alter the meaning of skubala because they were offended by it. I think Paul made his point. And so does this site. (But I’m really glad you didn’t call it “church marketing blows”.)

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    • Dave
      November 28, 2011

      Best comment on here! Well written and to the point.
      I laughed out loud at the end.

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  • Pete Gall
    October 12, 2005

    I’ve recently finished a book that’s been drawing some fire from people about this issue. The URL I’ve offered is a direct link to one exchange.
    My partner and I included the Tony Campolo story in the visual edition of Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” (you can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0310249473/qid=1129142185/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-3398675-0894363?v=glance&s=books&n=507846, but the “look inside” function is jaked…you can see some of the inside at my portfolio site: http://www.bringwater.com. We’ve also just finished a visual edition of Lee Strobel’s Case for Faith. Someone else just finished a visual edition of Ragamuffin Gospel.)
    The original version, intended for the church audience, used hyphens or stars or something to keep from spelling “shit.” In a review meeting with the senior editorial staff, including the company publisher, we decided to spell the word out, or else we’d be missing Campolo’s point entirely. We also included bastards and faggots, and underlined all of this stuff with photos. The quote from the Zondervan Publisher (say what you want about the subculture – you have to give credit to his having nerve) was: “We’re going to piss a lot of people off – let’s make sure we do it for the right reasons.”
    There ARE appropriate times to use inappropriate language. Words have the value we place upon them, and sometimes choosing them builds bridges.

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  • james
    November 18, 2005

    First, Ephesians 4:29 actually does refer to the actual words. The word “logos” is used (πᾶς λόγος σαπρὸς ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν μὴ ἐκπορευέσθω, ἀλλὰ εἴ τις ἀγαθὸς πρὸς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας, ἵνα δῷ χάριν τοῖς ἀκούουσι) and not “rhema”, which would be the word to denote “a speech” (collection of words)or the character of a message as a whole. On this basis your proof-text, well, it fails.
    Second, while I understand “suck” to refer to something that utterly fails or does not work (as the proof-text above adequately demonstrates), how is it that your website seems to promote and support Church Marketing, yet the title implies that Church Marketing is, let’s just say, unpreferrable?
    Should it be “Church Marketing BLOWS?” That is, “to inflate, puff up?”
    Just wondering.

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  • bryan
    November 23, 2005

    Here are a few verses to consider.
    I Cor. 6:12 (NLT) – You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
    I Cor. 8:4-13 (NLT) – 4 So now, what about it? Should we eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God and no other. 5 According to some people, there are many so-called gods and many lords, both in heaven and on earth. 6 But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we exist for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.
    7 However, not all Christians realize this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t miss out on anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. 9 But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 You see, this is what can happen: Weak Christians who think it is wrong to eat this food will see you eating in the temple of an idol. You know there’s nothing wrong with it, but they will be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been dedicated to the idol. 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed. 12 And you are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong. 13 If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live – for I don’t want to make another Christian stumble.
    Following are some anecdotal points that support the use of the previous verses.
    1. I led a mission trip to Brazil where we were opening up a youth center. We had music, dance and drama teams, a skateboard team, etc. We had a large crowd of mostly unsaved people. These people are huge fans of what we would call Classic Rock and 80’s metal. Between sets, one of our bands started messing around playing “Back in Black” by ACDC. The crowd went berzerk. I asked the band to stop playing that kind of music and they bristled up and made a defense similar to yours that they could play “secular” music and it wasn’t harmful because they weren’t worshipping the devil and it wasn’t in an ungodly context. Here’s the problem. For them to play chords on a guitar, and a beat on drums is not evil in and of itself because, as you say, it is the context that causes the problem. But, regardless of the fact that they can play that music and not be ‘worshipping the devil’ there are people in the audience living a lifestyle VERY much apart from God and a godly lifestyle that associate that music with all kinds of wrong living. Same music, different associations. Kind of like the word ‘sucks’. Whether or not they want to face it, the band was causing people to partake in something their concience told them was wrong, and Paul makes it clear that that is a sin against Christ himself.
    2. I don’t believe that having a glass of wine with your dinner in and of itself is a sin. Again, your context argument would apply here. My wife had a drinking problem when I met her, and before she became a Christian. (Let me state for the record that because I’m a minister and don’t want to cause anyone else to stumble I will not drink.) While neither my wife, nor I feel that it is a “sin” to have a glass of wine, my wife’s conscience convicts her about partaking because of her past abuse of alcohol. Therefore, I won’t engage in it for her benefit even though it is ‘lawful’ for me to do it.
    3. Being authentic about your faith means that you are real about the fact that you are growing and improving all the time. It is showing a heart of mercy and compassion for those who stumble while also being willing to pick them up and push them toward a higher way of living. Being authentic is NOT embracing and proudly pronouncing your ‘freedom’ to engage in certain types of behavior that are, at best controversial, and at worst unacceptable. It is pure foolishness to purposefully engage in questionable behavior and call it “just being real”.
    I am not a religious or judgemental person. As a matter of fact, in our ministry we are noted for being a ‘friend’ to sinners and all types of people, but I must say that I do not understand the desire by some to fight for their right to embrace the lesser instead of reaching for something higher.
    You can get cute with semantics all day about the word ‘sucks’, but I have always known it to be a euphemism for one thing, and one thing only, and it has a crass conotation. While many Christians may use this word in everday conversation and would be hypocrites to pass harsh judgement on others, I do not think a word generally regarded to be coarse and off color has much place in the same sentence as the word ‘Christian’. And, more importantly, it is not a becoming use of the Holy Word itself to justify the use of what many consider to be vulgar language.

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  • Rob Adcox
    November 25, 2005

    With regard to my earlier post, in which I referred to some backstabbing, hypocritical pseudo-Christian faculty and staff members at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Radford University, and Liberty University, if the “s” word offends thee, then I shall state my feelings of despair thus: the educators at the aforementioned universities engage in the artful practice of oral vacuum. Thanks, and have a great day.

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  • steve
    November 28, 2005

    To be authentic and believable, one must be true to the word.
    I would suggest you throw away your (MSG) Bible and return
    to a translation where the flaws are known and well documented.
    Every attempt to translate the Bible brings new errors which takes years of
    Study to bring forth the truth again.
    The Job 3:8 errors in this (MSG) translation is laughable:
    Job 3:8 (LXT)
    (Sorry, you do not have the correct font to display the LXT. Please use an on-line study guide to read the LXX Septuaginta edited by Alfred Rahlfs)
    Which translates to:
    Job 3:8 (NAU 1995)
    8 “Let those curse it who curse the day, Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.
    One must study the Word in order to bring forth the Truth you have talked about. We must build from the Truth. I agree that many Biblical terms could bring about a derogatory thought in today’s society. However, after study the metaphorical or allegorical sense of the word brings out true meaning.
    The Bible is not fast food like McDonalds.. it was never meant for a drive-through society, life in the fast lane. We need to slow down and enjoy all the beauty of each and every word. This is the truth which we must talk about.. slowing down.. loving what we read in the Word and Loving our neighbor. Then you will not have to write an essay defending your current choice of titles.
    Defending man’s choice of words loses God’s thoughts…

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  • joe
    November 30, 2005

    It is so funny to me to see your posts stating the site’s views on language. It is funny because a couple of years ago, due to the Holy Spirit’s leading, reviewing of scriptures and my open-mindedness, i came to the exact same conclusions! It is hard to share this old forgotten truth with those in the church who would rather excommunicate you than openly examine scriptures.
    My revelation all began with (but is not limited to) asking the question that from exclusively God’s point of view, what is the difference in the words heck and hell; or poo, crap, and shit; or in this case stinks and sucks?
    I do not often pull out single verses in making points and would encourage anyone to go back and review the context to know that this is truth. Compare these two verses:
    Matthew 5:22
    22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
    and Matthew 23:17
    17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
    Jesus is the one speaking in both of these texts and I believe demonstrates that it is not the words spoken, but the context in which they are used.
    Finally, if truth is in scriptures, it can’t hurt to go back and test the words of the Lord and hunt for exactly what we should and should not do.

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  • randy Kirk
    January 5, 2006

    I don’t care for the word either, but have another view. When I grew up, when we said something sucked, we meant “sucked wind,” the nautical term for when a dramatic wind shift messes up your sailing experience.
    So when my 16-year-old says something sucks, I mentally add “wind.” It helps a little.

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  • Kerry Sanders
    January 7, 2006

    I was a little put off by the name of the web site when I first heard about it on the pixelZion podcast. I came to the site anyway and found this post. I do not feel bad about it now. What you say makes a lot of sense.
    God bless you and the work that you do!

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  • Richie Rich
    January 8, 2006

    The fact that you even have to have an entire page dedicated to this makes me think that Christians are living in another world entirely.

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  • Pete Goebel
    January 30, 2006

    Richie Rich said it perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. The problem isn’t any particular word; the problem is that Christians are so insular and clueless that they have lost all sight of how ridiculous and unappealing they look to the outside world. Would any non-Christian want to become the type of person who has to agonize over the parsing of the word “sucks”? Come on! Can we please focus on more important things than this? Just do us all a favor, guys, and take this page down. Please.

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  • Tippy Cup
    February 4, 2006

    It rhymes with another word too, no . . . I think you should stick with sucks.

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  • eric b
    February 15, 2006

    To me personally, the people who bring up what the word was originally popular for are much more profane than just saying the word. I don’t want to hear about penises (penii?), and even to chide in about “that word comes from a sexual act” is more lewd and profane than it would have been if you hadn’t brought it up! Believe it or not, language is cultural, and it does change over time.

    What all that means is this: welcome to the 21st century. if you don’t like the website (or its domain name,) then you suck.

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  • Steve
    March 20, 2006

    It seems that “sucks” has done a great job of frustrating. Which the church is in desperate need of.
    It also gets attention, and there is nothing wrong with the word, or its effect. Particularly because it is obviously so bloody effective.

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  • Chuck Green
    April 10, 2006

    The use of the work “suck” is no small matter–whether you like it or not, it is a barrier to entry to some. To my way of thinking, it is a mistake, in most cases, to pursue concepts that have built-in negatives. Using the term may be “right” but in our desire to be right we often sacrifice access to the very audience we believe most needs our counsel. Any campaign that allows the execution to get in the way of the message is flawed. Thanks for an excellent resource.

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  • Nerdbeard
    April 17, 2006

    I assumed the URL meant, “evangelism is bad.” If only.

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  • robert
    April 24, 2006

    Can I simply ask why the church or the believer has taken the stand of “I’m going to say whatever I want and use whatever language I want and if people are offended then tough”? And we use scripture to justify what we want to say or do rather than letting it control what we say or do. It seems to me that Christ was controlled by the Spirit and that we should do the same. Christianity seems to be using more and more “shock value” to get their message across as if they need to. What ever happened to the verse “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself?” Churches, believe it or not, are now using sex as a drawing card to get people in the door. But it’s shock value, it draws a crowd. That doesn’t mean it was directed by God nor does the results it yields mean that its God’s results. In my experience, there is an underlying rebellion to all of it mixed with a bit of pride. Whether it’s a rebelling against what one has grown up in or just going against the norm or the idea of “I’m going to do what I want to do,” or the “I want church my way” mentality, there’s very little God in it.

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  • Mandy
    May 1, 2006

    If my memory of Greek class serves me right, Paul used some pretty strong words to get across his point. In Phil 3:8, the word usually translated as “garbage” actually refers to excrement.

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  • Rob Adcox
    May 14, 2006

    No mention of the Golden Rule? Shocking.

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  • Church Marketing Sucks Provides Alternative Address

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Brian Zopf 213-201-1800 x220 Church Marketing Sucks Provides Alternative Address March 1, 2005 – LOS ANGELES – Church Marketing Sucks, the blog covering church marketing and communications, is providing an alternate add…

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  • Paul
    June 8, 2006

    I can’t believe this is still an issue. I noticed, though, that the outofur blog uses stinks instead of sucks. Wimps!

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  • Dee
    June 9, 2006

    I don’t know, man, the word “sucks” isn’t all that shocking to me. However, when I’m teaching the kids in Sunday School, and that word passes from their lips in conversation, I will say, “Oh that does stink.” :) Not because I’m offended by the word, but to save them from the wrath of the blue hairs who would unlovingly crucify them for such an utterance, as if saying that word meant they were Satan’s spawn.
    I think a balance needs to be struck between having pure hearts and mouths, and being approachable and relatable, because, after all, there are a lot of little things in life that come down to personal conviction between you and God. :) I think the usage of the word, “sucks” is one of those. It’s symantics, folks. It’s nothing to get yer knickers all bunched up about, because it isn’t a big issue, and bickering over the miniscule only causes division within the Body. :) Fight the bigger fights.
    And, to stay on the topic of this site, the majority of church “marketing” does not strike me as relatable or approachable. I don’t know that from what I’ve seen that I could call it “marketing.” It’s more like spotty, cheap advertising here and there. And most of the advertisements aren’t that good, frankly. One could even say—they suck. :)

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  • daryl
    June 12, 2006

    My oh my! Conforming to the culture of our time, the same way those you criticize do. The coarsening of dialog in America is documented fact. As people find it increasingly hard to reason through their beliefs and articulate them with clarity, they resort to shocking their listeners with “bad” words in the mistaken belief this will get their point across. When Christians do it, they get co-opted by the very culture they wish to stand opposite of. Net effect: zero.
    Cursing in the Bible did not mean four letter diatribes that we use today. It was an invocation to powers beyond the realm of mortals to intervene in disfavorable ways towards ones adversaries and opponents. Cursing today carries no such connotation. It is merely a venting of ones spleen, however mild or severe the choice of the invective may be. These are the unwholesome words God tells us to avoid.
    That people are not aware of the etymology of the word “suck” today, is debatable. It is possible that ten or fifteen years from now the word’s original meaning will have been forgotten(or replaced by something far worse–see below), but today we are in transition. Most of us do remember and know exactly where the word came from. We also know why it is being used in a “new” way now. The etymology is still with us, I’m afraid. The power–if you want to call it that–in the word lies in its ability to evoke the degrading image of someone performing felatio on a man. I say degrading, because in the homosexual world where most perverse sexual practices have their origins, the performer is generally scorned and coercised into playing that role. They are not respected for what they do. Despite your contentions to the contrary, that image comes with your choice to use the bad word, and thus soiling the truth you wish to communicate.
    There is a strong rationalization streak in your apologetic. (The appeal to Tony Campolo’s example is sad and does nothing to justify what you do) That rationalization may prove to be of greater disservice later on. Beware the slippery slope you stand upon. When our popular culture someday decides the word “suck” no longer conveys the shock value it used to, they will likely choose a far worse word to enter into regular service that sounds very similar. I fear that you will be first in line that day, and that I will read on your website about how the “f” word is now very useful to communicate the gospel.
    When we choose to incorporate filthy words into our vocabulary as Christians, we serve the purposes of our Adversary more than our Lord. We tear down the fruits of self-discipline and love for others that the Spirit is trying to construct in our hearts. We do not have to become like the world in order to communicate with it. Please come to your senses and stop and choose more honorable language. The Lord will be pleased if you do, and will bless your ministry.
    –a brother in Christ

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  • Emmett Manley
    June 12, 2006

    Cursing in the pulpit? How does that square with Philippians 4:8-9, Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 3:8? Come on…

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  • Rev. Geoff
    June 14, 2006

    Daryl, I hate to remove the dark and ominous cloud you’ve placed over oral sex among homosexuals; but most men who perform oral sex on another man are not “scorned” or “coerced” into the act–they perform it with relish. And to say that “they are not respected for what they do” merely demonstrates that you are all too unfamiliar with the activities you condemn (for those who perform it well are highly respected!).
    By the way, I recall many years ago my mother wrote the Rev. Billy Graham to ask him if it was sinful for her to perform oral sex on my father. His response…”The marriage bed is undefiled.”
    Perhaps your own personal hangups are clouding your perception regarding acts of intimacy between other consenting and caring adults. You might want to consider therapy.
    When our puritan American culture learns to respect and honor loving relationships (be they same-sex or opposite-sex couplings) with equal access to marriage, the “marriage bed” truly will be “undefiled.”

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  • Brandon Meek
    June 14, 2006

    The continual revival of this thread sucks.

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  • Pastor Les
    June 21, 2006

    Daryl could not have said it any plainer. Rev. Geoff, I don’t know what Bible you use, but mine, KJV,
    says that marriage is between a man and a woman.
    Church Marketing Sucks’ mission, from my understanding is to bring churches together, How can that happen when, by using a controversial word causes division?

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  • John
    June 29, 2006

    The goal of any ministry should be to fulfill the great commission …preach the Gospel. Marketing is a viable way to promote the Good News, and I applaud all who do so with that intent.
    In my opinion, “Church Marketing” is a title that places emphasis on churches, rather than Jesus. Perhaps I have never liked the term, because the Word has been watered down in so many ways. It has been promoted as a “feel good” social gospel, tickling the ears of many. Ministers cheapened it, in order to expand their congregations as opposed to winning souls and promoting a bold Gospel message.
    Want to stir something up, speak the name of Jesus in public or online, see what response that gathers. You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake. The name of Jesus will make people mad, turn heads at work, and can cause frenzy more efficiently than anything else. Why not promote such a purpose with this in mind.
    Semantics, you can debate the naming convention/branding of a web site all you want. What’s not up for debate is the Word…
    Corinthians tells us to take heed lest by any means our liberties become a stumbling block to those that are weak. It goes on to say that if we wound other believer’s consciences, we are sinning against Christ.
    So if we have liberty to do something, but it offends our brothers, we are actually in sin if we are causing them to stumble.
    The choice of naming has obviously kindled enough fires for many visitors here to warrant their objections/concerns. The etymology of the word suggests that it is not a clean one to use. Regardless of the intention, the result has caused many observers here to stumble. Sure, it promotes controversy, but we’re here to promote the Gospel.
    Additionally, consider this, the Word encourages us to Come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Since the word in question can be potentially offensive to those in the secular realm as well, why would we even allow them a shred of doubt.
    The Word commands us to be separate. Enough separation should be apparent to the world that we’re nothing like them. Our spotless testimony should offer them something which makes them beg to know why we are so different and how they can have it for themselves.
    “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

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  • Rob Adcox
    July 8, 2006

    Hey Geoff (I won’t address you as “reverend” since I only revere God -no offense): Doesn’t the Bible say something about man not being created to lie down with man, or woman with woman? Please be careful not to rationalize the truth, Geoff. Lest ye brand me a “homophobe”, let me preempt your response by saying my world view is based largely on Holy Scripture.

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  • Paul
    July 15, 2006

    Just found you guys. Love the site! Lots of useful information!
    We use the word “sucks” in one of our local ministry initiatives too: http://www.churchwebsitessuck.com

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  • Pat
    July 18, 2006

    If the word ‘suck’ has lost it’s sexual meaning and now just means something unfortunate, I wonder what other word in the probable near future will loose it’s sexual connation and just be used to express dismay or exasperation or ill-will? (BTW – In some older type fonts, the S looked a lot like an F.) Won’t that be pleasant and special?! Another word that has also become commonplace used to mean ‘dung’ but I can’t believe that as often as it is used today people really mean to have ‘dung’ happen everywhere! Moms have many wise sayings, including “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

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  • Paul
    August 11, 2006

    It sounds to me like you are all conforming to the world. I am a Nazarene, and we are a holiness living church. I was reading this site, and there is the s__t word for all to read. Is this what the Jesus would have wanted, is this what He teaches in His Word. Is this what you want is to be offensive or do you want to make a difference? We all know what sucks means the way you are using it. You are not talking about a vac. so don’t try to present it as some thing it’s not.

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  • Jeff
    September 18, 2006

    Who gives a shit.

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  • Dave
    October 16, 2006

    Personally, I’m glad the thread is still here. I’ve been looking for dialog on coarse language and youth culture but it’s much easier to find both sides polarized and “talking down” (dissing?) each other. Frankly, I think the postmoderns are as bad about it as the blue hairs.
    I’d like to visit James’ church (11/18/05 post)

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  • Dave
    October 16, 2006

    Oops, I meant Bryan’s church (11/23/05 post). Name goes at the end. Am I green at this or what?

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  • Fay
    October 17, 2006

    Reading through these comments reminds me of how translators have dealt with the words in the Song of Solomon through the ages. I was working at Gordon-Conwell Seminary when the New International Version translation was produced. One of our professors was charged with translating the Song of Solomon—which he apparently did very accurately. Alas, the NIV editors were not comfortable with a literal translation and decided it must be modified to be acceptable to the Church. How sad.

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  • Rich
    October 19, 2006

    I’m fairly certain that we are not implying that church marketing performs oral sex.

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  • Melissa
    November 28, 2006

    I understand your point, but I don’t agree with the way you are going about it. I see saying the word, “s**k” as a curse word. Which would be a sin. So to me, it seems like you are sinning just to get a point across. Jesus means more to me than anything, so pleasing Him is what I aim at most, which sinning even to get a point across, I’m sure would sadden Him. Maybe you could explain to me better/again and then I’ll understand..

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  • Elizabeth
    November 30, 2006

    I seem to remember Jesus telling us to take care of our widows and orphans and poor.
    Until we get that taken care of, can we table the gay-folks and bad-words arguments?

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  • Melissa
    November 30, 2006

    I don’t understand what that means, Elizabeth.

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  • Brandy
    December 21, 2006

    On the same vein as words that used to be “bad” not being “bad” anymore. Growing up, my grandmother would not allow me to use the word “butt;” we were to use the word “bottom” for our rear end. However, by the time I graduated from high school she had given up fighting the changing vernacular and started using it herself. hehe.

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  • Kirk W. McCarthy
    February 23, 2007

    I have outdoor billboards located in Michigan and Chicago.
    Lets do this thing RIGHT!
    Give me a call or email

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  • Kirk W. McCarthy
    February 23, 2007

    I’ve got the Outdoor Billboards
    You supply the Photo & Text
    We’ll Pull-N a Few Fish!
    Contact me > psalm53@comcast.net

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  • Rick Hoyt
    February 27, 2007

    I SUCK at being a Christian. I suck at sharing my faith. I suck at caring for others. I suck at being selfless, giving, and obeying. I suck at worship of the God who sent His Son to die on a piece of wood in a most horrendous way just so I can go on sucking as a Christian and be more concerned with how I look, what job I have, how much money I make, what kind of car I drive, who I associate with…boy…if being a Christian is what gets you into Heaven then I’m doomed. How about you? Do you suck at being a Christian? Thank Jesus for His blood.

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  • Mike Whalen
    July 17, 2007

    Hey — regardless…using the word “sucks” has a bad connotation. Trying to rationalize or justify its use is cute and trendy, but ineffective. There are obviously other words that can be used in lieu of sucks. As Christians, we need to raise the standards of how we speak. The English language offers us many other words to use instead of “sucks”. Let’s explore them and raise the bar. We CAN do better and we can set an example. Not necessary to appeal to the “hip” generation that “gets” the word sucks. Not saying that I speak perfectly — that would be missing the point. All I’m saying is that when we have an opportunity to speak appropriately, and then we intentionally drop the ball, shame on us. Think about it. Rise above.

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  • DB
    August 10, 2007

    This entire thread is majoring on the minors. If the worst accusation able to be levelled at us as Christians is that we occasionally use offensive language in a prophetic manner, we could be in far worse shape.
    Read the prophets. God will pull their (the womens’) skirts up and expose them to the world? Men with privates like donkeys (donkey penises?) Look it up. Even Paul uses the word scubula: I count all things dung or crap.
    None of this is the point. The point is that the church needs to wake up. She is in danger of becoming a lazy, market-driven, capitalistic commodity, when she should be a voice of warning and mercy to the world. Let’s get our heads out of our butts and get on board.

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  • DB
    August 10, 2007

    Amen. Obsessing about curse words is like fussing over a bent nail when the house is falling down.

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  • sharon
    August 29, 2007

    I understand that our language is “dynamic” and everchanging. However, we often showcase our intelligence & class by the words we choose. While growing up I had a great aunt who was an English teacher. We couldn’t, in her presence, use poor grammar or slang-“kid” was off limits. It was understood that you could be as coarse and rude among your friends, but at school, church & around your elders, you were to show respect by using proper English. Unfortunately, as society coarsens, we show very little respect for others and in the process, ourselves.

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  • Amy
    February 6, 2008

    We’re in the world, not of it; so why use a word that is so wordly just to try and “fit in”?
    I think your website could be much more effective if you remembered the whole point of it, which is helping the church realize what a turn-off we can be in our advertising.
    If your website was geared more towards the lost then maybe you’d have a leg to stand on in getting their attention.
    To Christians it really does come across as offensive and crossing the line…and I’m a young woman that isn’t a stick in the mud Christian.

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  • Brandon
    April 21, 2008

    I really don’t think this site is trying to fit in with the world (they would have to use much harsher language to do that). Though the word may be offensive to some it isn’t to most. Though, comments from people like Jeff (09/18/06) were just mean.
    I just hope Christians don’t start doing this to other people though. A non-Christian student came to our church and was in a circle of prayer where each person was asked to pray. In his prayer there were a few choice words but his requests of God were genuine and in his language. Did God not hear him because of his choice of words?
    I don’t particularly like the name of the site but I do like the heart of the people that put it together. They really are trying to help.
    There have been quite a few good comments made on this thread both for and against which I appreciate. We are held to a higher standard but let’s not be ridiculous. Though, with the particular nature of this site the name may be an entrance exam to filter anyone who isn’t able to get around the name.
    I don’t want people to drop this discussion because it is a valid argument but not one worth anger. You can go to extremes with this argument but before you start screaming “Culturally Unacceptable” words in your church search your heart, search God’s word, pray about it, and then see what you determine.
    I know from what I’ve read that the creators of this site have spent time in prayer, in God’s word, and searching their own heart and I agree with their conclusion. I think God would enjoy this site (with no attention to the name) because of Christ’s followers attempting to help each other reach one more for Christ.

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  • Neal Locke
    April 22, 2008

    I feel your pain: If you think people get offended when they see the words “church” and “suck” in the same sentence, see what they do when you write about the church and masturbation… Geez!

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  • nvalentine1977
    May 8, 2008

    …The Word commands us to be separate…that particular phrase out of all these swirling debates jumped out at me for some reason and actually spawned what I am going to officially dub as my “Inaugural Blog”. I’ve always wanted to be a journal-er, you know, those antiquated people with outdated vernacular that have subtly morphed into those people called bloggers by the purveyors of all things post-modern. I’ll spare all of you the entire contents of three entire handwritten, college ruled notebook paper that arose as a result the spark of creativity reading this thread in it’s entirety caused. But in case I’ve now made you curious, look for my new blog I’m literally about to create titled “churchmarketingsucks” at blogspot, if that name isn’t already taken. Sigh, I mean I guess I will be okay if I have to be “churchmarketingsucks1977” for you to find it out here in cyberspace. Ironically, I promise not to try to take advantage of the situation and whisk you away from this site in a desperate attempt to sell you billboard real estate. Nor am I trying to usurp whatever real-life official “churchmarketingsucks.com” blog that may or may not exist. You’re simply officially invited to visit, stay awhile and chat even, if you’re so inclined. Hell, my little sister was a blogger before some nameless entity created the term “blogger”. I mean, I’m even a born and bred good Southern Belle from Alabama! I just realized that I just said hell. Oh crap! Seriously! I even used the proper entire full name of the website, not once but twice without physically cringing! Wait, what was the point of this conversation, again? I got sidetracked ; )
    Okay, hold on a sec. Just went and created my new blog at blogspot. Come on over if you’re interested in reading the very first blog I’ve ever written in my entire 30 years of existence ; )

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  • Pastor
    August 2, 2008

    Just as I figured. Your choice of words attracts mostly others who likewise take great pleasure in justifying their sin. If you are right in your defense of your vulgarity, and the Bible does not condemn specific words, why are you not using the other four letter words? Could it be that you do recognize a line that should not be crossed? You have just pushed the line a little further that your mother did. You should be ashamed!

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  • Katharine
    August 3, 2008

    Coming back to Keith’s question, do words lose their power from overuse? Definitely.
    “Sucks” is where “bloody” was about a century ago. “Bloody” used to refer to menstrual blood. But with such a metaphor, one word bears the meaning of another. If you never explain the metaphor to the next generation, they take the word at face value and it loses the overtones.
    And when “sucks” as a disparagement entered my lexicon in the ’70s, it was half a phrase that was not sexual, but scatological. It was coprophagic, more shocking and disgusting than any intimacy between two consenting adults.
    “Bloody” and “sucks” have both been overused. The reason people overuse them is because they work.
    As marketers, we have an obligation. If we call attention with a shocking introduction, we had better be darned sure that the message we are introducing is worth it. I think this site is worth it.

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  • Rob
    August 3, 2008

    We’re here to worry about how the the use of a given word might make us feel?
    That sucks.

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  • Pastor
    August 12, 2008

    No, Rob, you think too small. We are not just talking about the improper use of a “given word” as you put it. People who object to this word are trying to present one or several greater truths. Such as: our culture is becoming coarser in its language and that should not be supported by Christians. We are to be a preserving force like salt. We are not to succumb to the pull of offensive culture, but as the Bible says, we are to rebuke the works of darkness. It is time for Christians to act like and talk like Christians instead of jumping on the bandwagon of sick society. Grow up.

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  • Rob
    August 24, 2008

    Hey “Pastor”,
    Your post illustrates your hypocrisy. Are Christians supposed to accuse others of “small thinking” and insult people by telling them to “grow up”?
    My post apparently struck a nerve with you. That might be a good thing inasmuch as it clearly provoked thought from you. Indeed, it’s clear from your response that your view of righteousness is somehow threatened by the naysaying of another person.
    O ye of little faith. I encourage you not to be self righteous like the Pharisees. IF you’re going to be a disciple of Christ, you might want to play the part. Apparently, you haven’t yet risen to that particular level of spiritual development yet. don’t mistake being righteous with taking an authoritarian tone toward someone who has differences with such trivialities as worrying about letting slip an occasional coarse word. The last time I checked, we were both human. That said, I feel as qualified as you to voice an objection to those things I disagree with -like being a phony Christian who’s filled with self-importance, for example.

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  • Rob Adcox
    September 18, 2008

    How sad that some on this board claim to be Christian while expressing themselves so arrogantly and haughtily. In fact, it sucks.

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  • Randy W
    November 26, 2008

    Certainly Paul set the mark in his desire not to offend. The fact that you have to start out defending the name of the site should itself be an indication to you that not only was it a poor choice, but that it would distract from the real purpose of the site. The use of ‘common’ words (like ‘suck’) usually is indicative of a poor or lazy vocabulary. It’s similar to ‘settling’ on a close rhyme in a song. A good songwriter doesn’t quit until he finds the right lyric. I think you gave in and gave up too early. You could of come up with something better. You’ve already wasted too much time on a bad URL.

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  • bob
    December 8, 2008

    i guess i’m in that undesireable group. i’m old enough to remember the word that came after suck, and we used it everytime. on the marketing side, go with the best idea. on the christian side (and i do think the 2 may be on opposite sides in this instance), i’m not sure why such an attachment to profanity. words certainly are just words. but then again, words are words. if i were doing an ad campaign, i’d probably just go with “sucks” and be done with it. i just get the feeling you really want people to notice that you said the word “suck” and that’s a little too poser for me. just my thought. overall, the stuff on this site is great.

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  • j.classic
    April 20, 2009

    I wasn’t offended by your name, but i’m sad that you think words don’t matter.(& surprised since this is like marketing 101! look up the greek word LOGOS) “Sucks/Stinks” makes u seem kind of shallow & full of yourselves even though u try to act humble. Like in doing good, u miss the point. God made everything using words, He says to pray (using words), death & life in words Prov 18:21, yeah he says build each other up with words. Rom 10:10, u get salvation with words. Words have MEANINGS. suck means its bad because its sexually perverse Like what gay men & whores do(an abomination)so ur saying their marketing stinks, it sucks, its perverted like this world.You’ve equated these things. Look at the word God uses for describing His creation, It’s “GOOD” & how many words does God use to show us what He’s like, what His name is? I like ur site, I’ll keep looking at it,& hope you’ll consider the power of words. 1 Cor 1:26 is for those ppl whose ministry tools u say “suck” or “stink”, your word choice reveals your true charachter & attitude. Yes you marketers have a gift, but who wants help from someone who first says, “YOU’RE so DUMB!!” Christian orgs aren’t selling Jesus (hopefully). They’re describing themselves & their lifestyle. I hope CMS & readers aren’t Matt15:14.

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  • j.classic
    April 20, 2009

    btw I’m 23. the word is still in effect. People know exactly what Sucks & Stinks mean. Stinks means foul odor, or that u are toning down from Sucks. I came to your site beacause I thought it would be about how worldly it is to “sell” church & use marketing like that. But then I found that you’ve lifted yourselves to be authorities on marketing church! Let’s say that one day churches can only use one word to “market” or show people where to go. I hope that word will be JESUS with the message of salvation. how will you improve on JESUS?

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  • j. classic
    April 20, 2009

    Last thing, it’s funny that your first goal is to frustrate. Like satan, you’re stealing, killing & destroying. but i have used that time to plant God’s true message here.

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  • Erich
    May 11, 2009

    Look at the Bible again. Strong language. Where doe the word in question come from. Do we know. We are called to be different not like the world. Last thing I heard come out of a non-Christian person was that word. It’s not a righteous word at all. Lets clean it up! You know better. Don’t use the Bible as a means to hide behind sin. Taking the Bible out of context is so commin. Be different.

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  • MArc
    July 30, 2009

    Read Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways and discover that sucks is exactly the right work for the attractional evangelical model most churches follow.

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  • Aaron
    October 4, 2009

    The fact that this page even exists shows that the word “suck” still has negative sexual connotations for a lot of people and is therefore a barrier to them, as others have said. If the word didn’t still have those meanings, you wouldn’t feel the need to justify your use of the word. But I guess you don’t actually want to reach the people who complain about the word. You are marketing to the youth and the twenty-somethings, who are the ones that use that word. That’s pretty obvious. Good luck trying to win over anyone older with the use of what they were always taught is a filthy word.

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  • Clyde Hughes
    October 23, 2009

    Profanity is an effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcibly.

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  • Shelle
    March 4, 2010

    I came to your site by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am one of those “Sucky” marketers that you speak of in your site. I am severly dyslectic and always have typos on anything I write. Your site brought conviction and surrealness to my spirit. THANK YOU. I have taken my site completely down until God can bless me with an editor. I know that a handicap, poor education, or any of the hundred other excuses Christians use to defend their poor marketing God deserves better. Again I thank you for this wonderful site.

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  • Tom Duregger
    May 25, 2010

    Just thought that I would throw this out there for consideration. The 3rd Chapter of Job is Job cursing the day that he was born. You will notice that there seem to be no vulgarities or slang terms present in his comments. The Bible text is full of blessings and curses and profane speaking from the righteous is pretty much abscent.

    Consider Job 3:

    “After this Iyob opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Iyob spoke, and said, “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night it was said, ‘A male child has been conceived.’ Let that day be darkness. Let not Eloah from above seek for it, nor let light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death buy it back, let a cloud dwell on it, let all that blackens the day frighten it. That night – let darkness seize it. Let it not be included among the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Look, let that night be silent! Let no singing come into it! Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to stir up Liwiathan. Let the stars of its twilight be dark. Let it wait for light, but have none. And let it not see the eyelashes of the dawn. For it did not shut up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes. Why did I not die from the womb, come forth from the belly and expire? Why were there knees to receive me? Or breasts for me to suck? For now I would have been lying in peace. I would have slept – then I would have been at rest, with sovereigns and counsellors of the earth, who built ruins for themselves, or with rulers who had gold, who filled their houses with silver, or as a hidden untimely birth, as infants who never saw light? There the wrong cease raging, and there the weary are at rest, the prisoners rest together, they do not hear the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there, and the servant is free from his master. Why does He give light to the sufferer, and life to the bitter of being, who are waiting for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, they are glad when they find the grave? Why does He give light to a man whose way has been hidden, and whom Eloah has hedged in? For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings pour out like water. For that which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I dreaded has overtaken me. I have not been at ease, nor have I been undisturbed, nor been at rest, yet trouble comes!””
    (Job 3:1-26 The Scriptures 1998+)

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  • Larry
    June 4, 2010

    For all you people upset by the word “Sucks”, just be glad they didn’t go with the original name they had planned on using for this website… churchmarketingblowsgoats.com … which I personally like even better… also, remember if the world didn’t SUCK we’d all fall off…

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  • Ken J.
    August 20, 2010

    What troubles me is not so much the use of a particular word, but the idea that in using that word we are becoming “authentic” or “real”. This seems to indicate that genuineness is defined by acting out whatever we feel. I don’t believe the Scriptures teach us that. Rather, we are to be self-controlled and godly in our speech and actions despite what we may “feel” at any given time. There is to be a distinct difference between us and the world, yet so often today we seek to “market the church” by imitating the world.

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  • AP
    August 27, 2010

    The site seems pretty cool out of what I have seen. But I will say Tony Campolo is far from being a good standard for what is right and wrong.

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  • Mike
    September 14, 2010

    The whole “Relevancy” and “authentic” movements su….no, I’m not going to use that word. Using words like s*ck just shows how hard you’re trying to prove that you are hip and relevant and authentic. I attended a Phoenix Suns playoff game, and was shocked at how many young people (under 25) were using the F word, and with what frequency and volume. Clearly, this is a word that – in our day and age – is being used commonly to describe great emotion. So should we use it in the pulpit? Why not – isn’t it relevant – – authentic? You are missing the whole point: Christ doesnt change. He doesnt alter Himself or His message for what we think is hip. We can still use Baptist Hymnals from the 1970s if we want, (after all, many are still in great condition)…or we can donate our pianos and organs in favor of drums and guitars, and get our long-haired youth to join the praise band. Neither is right or wrong. There is a line in a song from Swithcfoot I like, talking about how we are ALL “painfully uncool”. Yes, we are all dweebs. The Lord looks for the intent. Let us follow Him as the Shepherd, and administer in the Body of believers where He sends us, in the path He has chosen for us (Proverbs 25), using the method we believe He would have us use for that Body (Paul asys he has become all things to all people so that he might win some). Whatever we do, let’s do all for the glory of God. I’m not convinced that using the word s*ck glorifies Him….its just another feeble attempt to prove that we are on the supposed “cool” side, which doesn’t exist.

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  • David McClave
    October 11, 2010

    I’m a professional marketer, and have been a junior high pastor at my church, where I was harshly criticized once for blurring the lines of sin. Hahahaah! In my attempt to DEFINE sin by drawing a line between (1) that which goes against our bodies, fellow humans and God and (2) that which Man says is unacceptable, I inadvertently angered a few parents who have a personal problem with alcohol. This was a very similar battle to your battle of words, and I must say that I agree with your defense of the use of “sucks.” Our pastors in my church have all used the word.

    A GREAT argument about the changing context of our culture and word use is with the word “gay.” Imagine a girl in the 1920s referring to a carnival she’d like to go to, saying to her mother, “THAT is so gay!” Now imagine a 13 year old boy today, referring to something that “sucks:” “THAT is so gay!” Interesting how the cultural context and specific context completely change the meaning, AND whether or not you consider the word to be vulgar!

    To those who are law-based, rule-focused, judgmental Christians, I’d say, “open your bible and read through the whole New Testament again and relax your grip on your perception of those around you. Jesus came with a message of love, (not the feeling, the ACTION), and the book of Matthew is rife with examples of his unconditional love for the lowest of low. Paul speaks in many of his letters about loving rather than judging, and it’s good advice, if not downright saving advice.

    To those of you who like to sprinkle all your speech with “colorful metaphors,” I’d caution you to heed Paul’s words about not using profanity, (or whatever your translation says it it – it IS low speech), if for no other reason than the fact that raising your personal standard WILL raise that of those influenced by you. It doesn’t mean not being real, it means raising the standard for all.

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  • Edward
    January 23, 2011

    I’ve been in the advertising industry and I think, Church Marketing Sucks’ marketing failed big time. You’ve already lost a significant part of the market you’re trying to reach out. I agree that your concept is witty, the double-meaning thing. But sometimes, like what happens inside the brainstorm rooms of ad agencies, a merely witty idea should be killed in favor of an idea that would get the message across in the most effective way.

    I really appreciate your vision for the Church. Too bad a lot of people belonging to your target market wouldn’t bother reading the important things you have to say. Think about it brother.

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  • scott
    January 29, 2011

    how can this be good? i’ve read some venomous responses on this site and honestly it’s making me sad. if this is the result of one word, God come quickly!!

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  • Tom
    July 28, 2011

    I was just referred to this site by a pastor. Frankly, I don’t care if I’m considered politically incorrect, behind the times, or a stick in the mud. Get a better name. Avoid all appearance of evil. Don’t step as close to the line of poor and vulgar language just for shock effect or to be “cool”.

    If we Christians resort to the world’s language to win them over, to what are we winning them over? I’m glad there’s a difference between the Christian and the unbeliever, and I celebrate it. It’s all, 100% God’s doing, not mine – and I’m grateful.

    I’m really not inclined to read much on this website after reading its name. I did read your defense of your word choice, but it’s not impressive. You may have some really good ideas going on with your work, but your name is seriously flawed. Too bad.

    I suspect you won’t change a thing because of my thoughts, but you need to know that not every Christian is OK with your name.

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  • Jewl Westphalen
    April 3, 2012

    Your battery is in backwards!

    I applaud your intent to build the church and reach the world! As your sister, I’m compelled to tell you, though: A good part of your flashlight is malfunctioning! You’ve missed a major connection point! Your cause is so good, . . . so needed, . . . but I propose you’re going about it all backwards. Because you have an audience, doesn’t mean that’s the one your attempting to hit. I and many others in ministry as well as a good percentage of the world, Christian and non, are still repulsed by the word “suck;,” and yes, it still conveys meaning to me. I don’t consider myself “old,” although you might, just because I’m repelled instead of attracted to the title. But, aren’t the ones you’re repelling a majority of the ones you’re trying to address?? You might think, “I’ve accomplished my mark! You’re here, aren’t you? My antagonization worked because it got you here!” Be careful: just because I gave your site a “nod” today, doesn’t mean you have my business, however much I’m sure I could learn from your content too, but I can’t promise pursuing that any time soon.

    I hope you choose the humility it takes to make needed adjustments, because your negative charge will leak acid when connected with an already negative church.

    Meanwhile, a lost world is dying.

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  • 2Ultra Christianity
    November 8, 2012

    Hey,if the Apostle Paul used the word “dung” in the KJV bible and it might have been worse in the Greek, then go ahead and use the word suck. I have heard anointed preachers use worse, even in church.

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  • Jonathan
    February 14, 2013

    Sometimes the truth is that we are so caught up in doing things the way we think things should be done we don’t see that perhaps we are not really accomplishing anything. A lot of times I have been approached by individuals in the church who have let me know that I was offensive when I criticized or critique a design or concept. God called us to reach far and near and this didn’t mean rubbing sugar and honey all over the truth so people like the taste, it sometimes mean jalapeños of fiery truth and spice that brings the world to God himself. I hope I never am afraid to offer this.

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  • jonny
    March 12, 2013

    I found this website back in 2005 I think, and I know that this argument is fairly old, but I just stumbled upon it again and thought I’d just let you know that I think your name is a very clever name and gets the point across. I’m not offended in the least. I’m sure that there much less uproar over the term, now than 8 yrs ago. Culture changes and such. Kids growing up now will have parents that know of the context and meaning and wouldn’t find offense or even know of that it was once considered an offensive term. Fiddle-sticks used to be considered a taboo thing to say. Now its just silly.

    I’m a designer, and I’m rebranding a church at the moment. As Jonathan said in the last comment about critiquing design, I to have been accused of being too harsh or offensive when I critique a design at times. But there are times when making a point sometimes needs to be strong. When Jesus called the pharisees a brood of vipers it wasn’t a nice term, it would probably be similar to saying you guys are a bunch of evil bastards or maybe worse. Like many people have said context is everything, and your context is true. The saddest part of the argument here is that people have their lenses so fogged with religious/cultural legalism that they cant see the beauty in what you are doing.

    I’m a firm believer that church marketing will stop sucking when church marketing start sucking! As a designer, who loves what you do, and is probably more harsh on critiques, I will start sending churches your way if I’m too booked at the moment to do their marketing and branding.

    God Bless

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  • John
    November 16, 2013

    Back in my days as a middle school teacher, my students would try to defend when they’d cross the line “just a little.” In their hearts they had a hint of rebellion, and crossing that line “just a little bit” was easy to see through.

    So is your defense.

    Same with Campolo. The fact that you include his shock-and-awe cuss stunt (yes, stunt) to try to make a defense makes it easy for me to say that I think you cross a line, and have hardened yourselves to the consequences of it. Sure, it’s permissible. Lots of stunts are permissible. Nowhere close to a “salvation issues,” for sure. But I don’t find it beneficial. At all. Neither did I find Campolo’s crossing the line “just a little bit” beneficial, either.

    Ironically, my students would sometimes say “sucks,” and I’d ask them not to and explain why. I’d simply say, “You use that word, but do you know what it means and what it’s referring to?” They’d slyly smile, knowing full well what it meant. Every single one of them knew. We’re talking 11 and 12 year-olds. They understood the point easily.

    So to put it plainly, the rationale behind your defense (and Campolo’s stunt) is about the level of my middle school students’ rationale. And when I’d call them on it, they’d cut it out, knowing they didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    But maybe you just don’t see it, so try this: do a search of “What does sucks mean” and see what comes up. Yep. Slang still means oral sex to just about everyone. And since you’re using it as a slang term…

    Or try this: go to a local high school hang out and ask the students, what do you think the world “sucks” means in the website domain name “church marketing sucks?” Yeah, you might get 10% to side with you. Let’s give you twice that just to make it fun. So you really want 80% of the kids thinking your domain name refers to oral sex in a negative way?

    Good luck with that.

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  • Jonathan
    July 1, 2016

    If you are trying to fix the marketing of churches who use things that offend or disenfranchise visitors… Why would you use things that might offend or disenfranchise visitors to your website? The same argument that you use to defend your word choice of “sucks” could be mirrored of churches for their sub-par marketing. (We all have our reasons – and we all think we’re right…)
    I hope this advice helps. God bless.

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