Free Miracle Cloth

December 23, 2006 by

Here at Church Marketing Sucks, we are often criticized for feeding the capitalistic free-market economy mindset that says if you advertise, promote, or market something well, people will come and churches will grow. This criticism is usually from people who have not read far enough into what we’re actually doing, and instead see the words “church” and “marketing” in the same sentence and start swinging.

It grieves me when I see churches follow the lead from mainstream marketers and attempt to package themselves in a way that feeds this consumer mindset. It’s as if some churches have resolved to think that the only way to connect with people is to do so in the context of a “buy/sell” relationship with the community they are seeking to reach. Bunk!

Allow me to illustrate this point with the following ad I saw today in one of our local downtown LA newspapers.

The Los Angeles Garment & Citizen ran the following ad in this week’s paper. The ad reads:

Are these problems affecting you?

Check the problems that you are facing:

  • Bad luck
  • Loneliness
  • Unemployment
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Addiction
  • Fear
  • Constant headaches
  • Curses
  • Sickness
  • Other ___________

Bring your name
Name: ____________________

Come this Sunday at 10AM to participate in a service of strong prayer.
Receive free of charge THE MIRACLE CLOTH.

Cut out this coupon and bring it with you Sunday morning to receive the Miracle Cloth free.

The ad is topped off with a passage from Acts that appears to support their free miracle cloth offer.

This is certainly church marketing. And it certainly sucks.

Whenever we function in a consumer context that says what we have is what people need, we will always try and communicate that in a way that makes the “needy” feel their need to respond. I need Shampoo because my hair smells. I need a woman because I have hormones. I need candy because I have a sweet tooth. I need a new car because the one I have is old. I need to go to this church because I have problems.

This slippery slope toward manipulation is something we must be aware of and avoid at all costs. Our communication must be done without inferring, insinuating, or assuming that the people who read/hear/see the message need to be roped, wrangled, or cajoled.

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to work on hearts! In the meantime, we need to be working on our message. Remember, it’s authentic, it’s loving and it knows how to spell!

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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14 Responses to “Free Miracle Cloth”

  • Chris Busch
    December 28, 2006

    First time I’ve seen “Bad Luck” at the top of the list.

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  • Jody
    December 28, 2006

    what exactly does a miracle cloth claim to do?

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  • James Laws
    December 28, 2006

    Bad marketing and bad theology. The devastating duo.

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  • Kirk Longhofer
    December 28, 2006

    How can you even think about criticizing a church that advertises itself as being “in front of the Carl’s Jr.” That’s right up there with “one exit north of the Cracker Barrel.”

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  • Drew
    December 28, 2006

    Lets let the holy spirit work so I dont have to evangelize at all!
    Thank you spirit.
    Really though, is this article telling us not to have mainstream marketing? I’m not sure it’s saying all marketing is bad or not.
    Though everyone here knows Jesus was apart of mainstream marketing.

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  • Amen to all the above.
    Also, is this promoting the belief that ‘once I go to church everything will get better’?
    I cringe whenever I see things like this. Newly saved folks who have been told that church service will solve all their problems get discouraged quickly because things aren’t going perfectly.
    They ultimately weren’t taught that Christian life is a growth process, and that while these ‘bad’ things may still happen to us, we know handle it differently with Christ on our side.
    We must apply wisdom in how we present ourselves – NOT as ‘microwave’ Christians who get everything they want instantly.

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  • carl
    December 30, 2006

    Theology aside
    I really like the part that says,
    Bring your name:
    Don’t want to leave that home.

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  • Ross
    January 2, 2007

    Marketing is a new term for an old pratice. Just like anything :subject to abuse but not inherently bad. I hope that readers are sensitive enough to use it to let people know about Jesus Christ but not to over do it to the point that it’s no longer helpful but rather deceptive.

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  • Matt
    January 2, 2007

    The New and improved Miracle Cloth, not only does it wipe sweat from your forehead, but it also doubles as toilet paper for all the other crap we’re trying to sell.
    That’s like a televangelist I saw a few months ago who was selling his green prayer cloths for only $19.99. What a joke.

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  • Ryan
    January 2, 2007

    Here is more of their marketing:
    Problem is, they’re more of a cult than a church. I’ve been to one of their services and they just want your money. They prey on very weak and desperate people.

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  • Ryan
    January 2, 2007

    Here is a post I wrote about this church a while back after visiting a service there.

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  • Jerry
    January 3, 2007

    What a self-satisfied bunch. Too bad we can’t all have churches located in expensive neigbhorhoods, where there are no Carl’s Jr. and there aren’t 100 other signs within a square block to obscure the location.
    And isn’t it just devastating that a church might focus on the needs of its members?
    Why don’t you all take a walk past the church at 7th and Broadway and take in the very aching need you’ll see on the streets. It might give you some insight on marketing–and theology.

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  • Sara
    January 9, 2007

    Got something in the mail once that said I would become wealthy if I prayed over the paper prayer mat, put it under my mattress, slept on it, and sent it back to the “church” along with a “donation.” I kept it for show-and-tell at Bible study. Gotta love xtian white magic trash.
    Ah, and context. Don’t assume that all can or should be used as a “go therefore and do likewise.” Let’s hand out tent pegs with Judges 4:21 attached.

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  • Church Marketing
    November 14, 2009

    I have seen these kinds of methods used around here. It really gets my goat. It is very true that everyone is selling something… almost true. The church should never be selling something but rather giving away the free gift of life. I’ll buy that before any cloth.

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