Churches Talk About Sex (Gasp!)

March 7, 2007 by

That incredibly illicit image of two pairs of naked feet hanging off the edge of a bed from Granger Community Church’s My Lame Sex Life campaign is getting around. Lately they showed up on the web site of a church in Rochester Hills, Mich. and they’re not making everybody happy. The Granger campaign has prompted tons of other churches to use the same approach, some with the same imagery available from Granger and others with their own unique twist.

I think it’s cool to see churches trying to approach difficult topics where people want and need to hear a biblical perspective. What I think is amazing is when the complaints come from within the church.

“Instead of using scripture, he’s using fads,” said Gene Koessel, 70, a retired Lutheran pastor from Roseville, about [Epic Church Pastor Tim] Kade. “What’s next?”

What’s next indeed? Because we all know sex is just a fad.

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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13 Responses to “Churches Talk About Sex (Gasp!)”

  • The Aesthetic Elevator
    March 7, 2007

    This Lutheran pastor suggesting Scripture is less risque? Has he read Song of Solomon?

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  • Markus
    March 7, 2007

    A church here in Tallahassee was asked to remove their billboards advertising “best sex ever”. Here’s more about it in our local newspaper.

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  • hadman
    March 7, 2007

    We just finished a sex series entitled, “Victorious Secret.” How’s that for titillating?

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  • Jamie Limato
    March 7, 2007

    God Created sex but sadly to many believe He is silent on the Matter. It is time for the Church to be outspoken on this matter and it’s time for us to start talking about the issues that people are “really” talking about and stop fooling ourselves into believing that
    people just don’t want to hear it, because God’s word says “the truth shall set you free!”

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  • bill streger
    March 7, 2007

    We are doing something similar right now ( and have taken some flack for it (mostly from bitter Christians). My response to the criticism?
    “I’m preaching verse by verse through Song of Solomon. If you have a problem with the content, you’re talking to the wrong guy.” :)

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  • And yet, the Lutheran pastor did not really mean that sex is a fad, he meant that the church’s use of marketing sex as a way to get more people in the building, is a fad.
    Sex sells. It does with sportscars, beer commercials, and . . . the church?
    Yes, it’s a topic in the bible, but if we are going to take the high road and say that we are going to cover it because it’s a biblical topic, then I hope we follow through and talk about other things in the bible as well like wrath, eternal punishment, self-denial, election, holiness, etc. Jesus talked about those things, many of them even more than He talked about sex. True?

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  • Matthew
    March 8, 2007

    A church in Albany, Georgia used this same advertising campaign last month, and it created a minor stir.
    My big problem with this sort of church advertising is that it’s misleading — people visiting the URL they see on one of these billboards are expecting a site about sex, and instead they’re directed to a church Web site.
    It’s untruthful, which I think damages the credibility of the church.

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  • john s.
    March 9, 2007

    I think that some of you are missing the point of the criticism. While some criticism is from the fundamentalist corner of the church shouldn’t talk about sex (I don’t agree with that), the rest is based on a philosophy of teaching.
    I think the quote comes from the perspective that sermon series shouldn’t derive from pop culture. I tend to agree. I prefer sermons series based on books of the Bible. Obviously, that doesn’t work for every church. There is a very real tension between being Biblically grounded and allowing culture to dictate the content within the church. Churches on both sides need to be aware of the tension and avoid being too extreme on either end. In other words, my church with book-studies needs to make sure that we are culturally relevant. Churches that are doing topical series on sex, or tied to current TV shows, music, or movies for themes, need tbe be careful to make sure that they are based on solid exegesis.
    Both sides need to be careful not to be too judgmental of those coming from a different perspective and different set of priorities.

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  • Sherryg
    March 9, 2007

    check out for their upcoming series “Designer Sex”.

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  • Dave
    March 9, 2007

    Just posted a Blog based on your post! Love the site and keep it up!

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  • brad
    March 9, 2007

    I love how much consternation this brings! That this is controversial inside the church, and apparently surprising outside it, just demonstrates how far behind curve we really are! It’s a new day for honesty and boldness, and creativity too (though several are suddenly derivative, they’re still done well)!
    For those of you who think the concept of sex is being used to ‘sell’ church, could you explain how? Marketing is about the message in each of these cases, about a return to sexual purity; what rewards and dangers are attached to sex. I’m not getting a “come to our church and meet sexy Christians” vibe from any of these campaigns, which is really the only way it could warrant comparison to, for example, beer ads.

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  • Gloria
    March 12, 2007

    “speech and preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power”
    Interesting quote there, Daniel. I’d like to point out that you’ve used that text out of its CONtext to make it mean what you wanted it to mean. Paul was speaking specifically about ONE speech he made to a specific church, and did not mention that in other places (at least in other letters he wrote)he quotes poets and words of other contemporaries of his to communicate God’s truths. In Acts 17:28-29 Paul uses quotes from 6th century BC pagan Cretan poet Epimenides and Cilician poet Aratus to emphasize the fact that we are all created by God and shouldn’t substitute idols for the Creator. Paul quotes from the pagan writer Menander in 1 Corinthians 15:33, using the quotation as a springboard to teach the hopelessness of life apart from the Christian resurrection, of whom Christ is the first fruits. And then in Titus 1:12 Paul again quotes Epimenides to emphasize the inherent sinfulness of the loose tongue of man. Jude quotes from the pseudepigraphal book of The Assumption Of Moses (Jude 1:9)and from the apocryphal-pseudepigraphal book of Enoch (1:14-15)to implore Christians not to engage demonic power apart from the power of God and to bolster the certainty of coming judgment upon apostates.
    Wow. It’s kind of like … sometimes… using the wisdom of man is okay if it points people toward God’s ultimate truths. Interesting that there are so many MORE examples of that than Paul’s ONE QUOTE to the contrary that had a specific meaning and context that has NOTHING to do with advertising.
    I would think it is more duplicitous to take the Bible out of context than to get people’s attention in order to have them come hear the biblical perspective on sex.
    But that’s just me.
    Shame on them for wanting people other than people naturally attracted to church to hear God’s Word!
    *rolls eyes*

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  • Craig
    April 7, 2007

    I don’t go to church to “escape” from sex. Oh, no. I see enough t&a on the Worship team to get me distracted ;-) We need to let some “fresh air” into the church on the subject and I think it’s good to use creativity to open up the discussion. Without sex, none of us would be here. Nuff said.

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