FOXNews posted a news brief today that highlights a church in Detroit called Epic Church which is currently running a series on sexuality. This idea isn’t really brand new stuff as far as church news goes, but the interesting part is that the church is affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod– for those that don’t have experience with that group, this is a pretty big step out there.
It’s angering the Lutherans. Rightfully so – how dare a church approach a topic like this in such a way as to appear welcoming and willing to ask the tough, even taboo, questions?
Let’s take a moment so everyone can taste the sarcasm of that last question.
Like I said, this isn’t really big church news. Granger was the first, as far as I know, to provide series material for resale specifically on this subject. Epic Church is using their material. That kind of saps the intensity of the situation, doesn’t it? If you head to Granger’s web site and click on their media player toward the top, then on “Series” and again on “Pure Sex” you can see some of the material they produced during that series. It is equally as provocative (if not more) than Epic’s. That makes me believe that it’s only the Lutheran affiliation that even makes this story newsworthy.
I’ve seen some other churches promote themselves in similar ways as Epic and (ultimately) Granger. Kaleo Church in Texas, for example, has recently begun pushing a similar campaign entitled “What’s Between the Sheets?”. You can find their promotional material at whatsbetweenthesheets.com. A similar provocative stance is taken, presumably to bring people in based on pure curiosity. In a refreshing change they created their own marketing material – possibly even original sermons (gasp!).
Question – should churches use this sort of shock marketing in order to bring in those who would otherwise not be interested? In other words, would there be nearly as much interest (and thus turnout) if the series was entitled “Building Successful Marital Relationships?” Here’s a better question. Is it false advertising to bring someone in only due to extreme marketing or is it fair game, only done to overcome a real bias most have toward church? Part of that answer may depend on the content being provided in the church, but I can see an argument for both sides.
How far should a church go? At what point do you feel uncomfortable with these procedures? At what point is a motto like “Whatever it takes” over the top?
ryan, i’m the pastor from kaleo in houston . we’re about halfway into Between the Sheets, and are loving the song of solomon so far.
on a whole, i’m still undecided about the marketing we did. it does seem to be the trend right now, and i’m not sure it was the best way to go.
i see that you work at a lutheran church – ELCA or LCMS? I grew up LCMS, and would love to talk about your expierience. shoot me an email if you’re up for some dialog.