Jesus, CEO

December 22, 2005 by

The Economist is talking about Jesus, CEO. I’m a bit too busy to read the article myself, but you can check it out and let us know what you think. Jordon Cooper thought the piece portrayed Willow Creek as “soul-less.” Cuz that’s what we need–more soul-less church marketing.

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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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11 Responses to “Jesus, CEO”

  • Tim
    December 22, 2005

    Sorry, but this article is just disdain masquerading as actual journalism. Every word choice has a negative or sarcastic connotation. And…sigh…it’s nothing we haven’t heard a hundred times before.
    It’s always fascinating when these critics talk about the method but never look at the end results. There isn’t evidence of a single conversation with one of the thousands of people whose lives have been given hope and peace and meaning at one of the churches he mentions. If he was reporting on a business that had unorthodox production methods but was making a mint, would he maybe conclude that there was some merit to the methodology?
    Clearly the author would prefer churches where there are plenty of “parish meetings in which people bat about random ideas on how to keep the church going.” I supposed that’s good in a way, as it means the Church Marketing Sucks will always have something to talk about!

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  • Steve
    December 22, 2005

    The church is like a 20 pound long-haired at a cat kicking convention. Whichever way it runs, it will get pummuled. I think within these types of articles resides a lot of fear – fear of the the truth – fear that we might be mounting an army of truth to do battle with their altars of decadence. Always will be like this. I take this article as a positive sign.

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  • Betsy
    December 22, 2005

    This article is biased and contradictory. Don’t waste your time reading it.
    On one hand the author mourns the passing of church the old way ~ “they represent the Disneyfication of religion. Forget about the agony and ecstasy of faith. Willow Creek and its sort are said to serve up nothing more challenging than Christianity Lite” ~ on the other, he (?) exposes the tradional, conservative stance of these churches ~ “The people at Lakewood believe that ‘the entire Bible is inspired by God, without error’. Cuddly old Rick Warren believes that ‘heaven and hell are real places’ and that ‘Jesus is coming again’. You may start out in the figurative hell of a Disney theme-park, but you end up with the real thing.”

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  • Michael
    December 22, 2005

    It’s from the Economist…very biased…they aren’t looking for journalism, there looking for an outlet to give their viewpoint.
    It’s too bad too, it would be interesting to see how this new type of church works in business terms.
    What’s funny is they say the church shouldn’t act like a business, a successful form of structure…makes me wonder what they expect it to work like…the quiet mouse in the corner?
    I wonder if they took Christmas off?

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  • Greg
    December 22, 2005

    i’m appalled that all mega-churches were simply lumped into the same category. lakewood and willowcreek aren’t even the same style of church! same for world changers and saddleback. i had a hard time making it all the way through this article just based on the broad, sweeping generalizations that all mega-churches can be compared to one another. not to mention the fact that rick warren of saddleback gave back his entire salary whereas creflo dollar bought stuff for his own personal gain. do not waste your time on this article…

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  • [rhymes with kerouac]
    December 22, 2005

    There’s one essential point that we mustn’t miss, here. Without our church background – without more than a passing familiarity with the landscape – this is how much of the world at large sees us. How else was a British business economics magazine going to understand the American mega church paradigm?
    Therein lies the rub: the Economist doesn’t know who we are, doesn’t clearly understand our message and fails to grasp the nuances of our identity. And really, is that their fault, is it ours, or is that just the way things are?

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  • Ministry and Technology
    December 23, 2005

    Church Marketing Sucks

    Amen! We seem to think so often that we should reach out to those not in church as if to say Come to our church. You need us. Your life won’t really be complete (and you don’t know it)

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  • glenn
    December 23, 2005

    I disagree . . . with others who have commented. DO read this article. Why shield yourself from comments and sentiments of a secular organization that quite accurately agrees with many Christians who are not a part of the church-as-business paradigm? Quite scathing must be the remark that “rather than making America more Christian, the mega-churches have simply succeeded in making Christianity more American.”
    Instead of blowing this report off as nonsensical and unfounded, I wonder if we can extract anything useful or insightful about his commentary about this particular expression of Christianity.

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  • Anthony
    December 26, 2005

    The article is a mixed bag. It does create some negative tones due to the choice of words and how they are juxtaposed and scattered throughout the article — various comparisons and examples. It is also largely “old info”. I do not see ANYTHING wrong with churches growing in size (the church in the books of Acts ‘grew and multiplied’) nor do I see anything wrong with the church borrowing from the best of business practices (be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves) —- as long as the church keeps the message and the method pure and focused on JESUS —

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  • Juan Peron
    December 28, 2005

    I emailed this article to others on staff at my church. While I agree that some of the word choices made had a negative connotation, I do believe that, unlike numerous other articles, this one presents the pros and cons rather nicely.
    Also, the article didn’t indicate that all of these churches were the same, but rather they were alike in their use of common business practices to run their organization. My question is how do they think you would manage a multi million dollar organization? The Red Cross has executives.
    Also, the description of “megachurch” as a church with 2000+ in attendance is low to me. When I think “mega”, I think that is more like 5K – 10K.
    The ultimate point is they don’t get it.
    Side note – be careful about comparing people by their giving. Especially since you have no way of knowing when and how much someone may have given. The fact that someone receives a gift doesn’t make it bad.

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  • Bernie Dehler
    December 30, 2005

    How about “Jesus as Teacher.”
    I think we, as Christians, need to be more aware of His teachings, passing them on, and even living them… Living Epistles.

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