Lingerie, Dodgeball and Golf Bring People to Church

October 8, 2005 by

More and more churches are turning to creative programming to attract people, trying to offer something outside the Sunday morning worship experience to interest visitors. The Washington Post covers a number of different options churches are offering, including golf ministries, river tubing, an aviation ministry, drama programs, dance programs–even a twentysomethings group called “Theology on Tap” that meets in bars.

It can get even more unique, like a youth group in Billings, Mont. that draws teens with dodgeball or a book backed by a UK bishop that encourages lingerie parties. The book, Open the Door, encourages Christians to use unconventional methods to connect with non-Christians (it also recommends chocolate parties, knitting groups and book clubs, but those lingerie parties get all the headlines).

If a racing ministry or a financial planning class will bring someone to God, more power to ’em. Even something as off the wall as a lingerie party? Hey, Christians can wear lingerie.

I just hope these different groups and strategies have better spiritual connections than the In His Grip Golf Assocation: “In golf, it is key to trust your swing and in life, it is key to trust in the Lord.”

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.
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9 Responses to “Lingerie, Dodgeball and Golf Bring People to Church”

  • Greg Vennerholm
    October 10, 2005

    Okay, as someone who formerly worked at a company that helped establish and grow Victoria’s Secret online division, I speak from a certain point of view… I left that company so I wouldn’t have to “rip out my eyeballs.”
    Most of the lingerie brands have resorted to ‘soft-core porn’ as their standard. Unless they’re simply talking about plain Jane “JC Penney” lingerie, which I doubt (no offense to you ladies who patronize JCP’s), the only thing they’re doing is confusing worldliness with outreach. Yes, I know, “anything” to reach one more, but honestly, is this a good idea?
    Now, it’s important to note: I’m a huge fan of lingerie on *MY* wife (hey, she’s a hottie), but a church staging an event… I don’t know… I can’t see Saddleback or Lakewood pulling this kind of stunt.

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  • Greg Vennerholm
    October 10, 2005

    A follow-up to my above post… the other items mentioned there (golf, theology on tap, etc…) sound like fine ideas. Our church started a Biker ministry by caring for them in their natural environment, biker bars. Yes, lots of leather, but they we’re fully clothed!
    Pray continually!

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  • kevin
    October 10, 2005

    OK Greg, what do you actually think lingerie parties would look like? Lots of Christian girls strolling around the church in Victoria’s Secret outfits? I sure hope not.
    I don’t know how they’re actually suggesting lingerie parties in the book, but I imagine it would be a private, small group deal at someone’s home, much like a tupperware party. No men involved, I’m sure, and I doubt many women actually modeling the stuff.
    It would probably look very much like a bride’s personal shower when her girlfriends buy lots of lingerie. My wife’s been to a few of those–look at any Christian college campus and you’ll find more than a few.
    The point is open communication and the chance to make people feel welcome and be real. Christians have sex. Hopefully married Christians, but they do have sex. And sometimes they wear lingerie. That’s not a scary thing we need to hide and be ashamed of. No, it’s not something we parade down the center aisle of the church, but it can still have a place where it’s treated with respect. In the right setting, it would give the opportunity to talk about touchy issues in a biblical matter. It would enable Christians to talk about the wonder and beauty of sex and present a far different perspective than what Victoria’s Secret presents.
    That seems like a good thing to me. Obviously you can screw it up (as with anything), but if done properly it could be a powerful event to build community within a church, both among long-time members and visitors.

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  • Ron
    October 10, 2005

    I sometimes wonder why feel there has to be a explicitly spiritual connection to the things we do. I know that sounds strange.
    I remember the concept of Share Groups in Ralph Neighbor’s book Where Do We Go From Here. These were groups you formed that had no “spiritual” agenda. They were learning the guitar, reading a secular book, etc. The point wasn’t to convert people in these groups, it was to meet them.
    One of the biggest problem the church has is our people spend all their time on church activity and have nothing but church friends. They need to spend sometime making real relationships with non-church people. It is through these relationships you can earn the right to talk about Jesus.
    This is why the golf “ministry” seems so silly to me. You are playing golf with people, just do it and let the need to slap a “Made by this church” sticker on it go.

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  • Greg Vennerholm
    October 10, 2005

    You’re so right, and I’m sure that the headline “lingerie parties at church” is more for shock than to describe a stage show. I don’t actually believe they’d have a runway show. I’m always open for using relevant means to reach people. (This is just a new that took me by surprise.)
    Take my comments with a grain of salt… I’m not saying it’s a horrible idea, like you said, it would likely be a small gathering of ladies doing that they do… passing around a catalog and samples.
    It’s all in good debate…

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  • corey
    October 10, 2005

    +1 on ron’s point above.
    On one side of me I have the christian couple neighbors. On the other, I have the worldy biker neighbor. The christian couple refuses to talk to him because he’s an alcoholic, pagan, and every other general synonym for the unsaved. The funny thing is, I’ve “caught” the biker doing really underhanded things like edging my yard, or bringing personally selected christmas gifts over for my children, or inviting me to BBQs with his circle of friends- while the christian neighbors just get together to espouse the the joys of walking in God’s righteousness. This may seem like I’ve hijacked the comments section- but it absolutely supports the idea of building those bridges of communication by whatever means necessary to “earn the right to talk about Jesus” (well said, Ron). Someday, I believe I’ll have the oportunity to have a platform to share my faith with this neighbor.
    The lingerie party seems like a great venue to build close relationships between women and could certainly be the seed of a relationship that is cultivated into conversations of faith.

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  • dave
    October 12, 2005

    Another vote in favor of the lingerie party, even though (or perhaps because) I wouldn’t be attending it. ;)
    Seriously, in conservative evangelical circles I think there would be more resistance to the idea of meeting (and I’m assuming drinking) at a bar than the notion that your wife would wear lingerie behind closed doors.

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  • clyde anderson
    October 13, 2005

    Churchianity(tm) is spiritually incestuous. The whole model of the modern western church seems backwards. I find myself easily suffocated in the colorless cardboard tasting church “culture”. Let our relationships be organic rather than contrived. I’m not looking for means to “reach people” ™ Christ is the Means. Everything else really does take care of itself.

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  • Lingerie girl
    November 21, 2005

    I’m completely against lingerie parties encouraged by Church. I’m all shaking when thinking of it. s

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