The Rev. Carol Howard Merritt: How Can We Be Revolutionary?

So, I don't think that all marketing principles should be whole-heartedly applied to the church. I think many people get exhausted by continuous marketing, and don't want our congregations to adopt all of those principles that can leave people feeling manipulated and used.

But, I do kind of smile whenever I have this image in my mind.

What if top ad execs acted like some of our church leaders? Think about it, we're sitting around... oh, I don't know... the Apple board room. Apple has lost half of their customers, and the marketing person gets up to make a presentation.

She sighs deeply and says, "I don't really know what's wrong with this generation of customers. They don't seem to have the commitment that we did when we were younger. You know, we bought our products. It didn't matter what kind of content was in the product. No one had to cater to us. No one had to entertain us. We had a commitment to the brand and we bought into it because it was the right thing to do."

She continues to shake her head. "I think it's because this new generation is narcissistic. You know, they're used to getting everything they want. They have no respect for us, as a company. So now, they just pick and choose, like the world is a cafeteria. And they expect us to cater to them." [Insert eye rolling.]

What do you think their sales trajectory is going to look like in the coming years? Probably not so good.

What do I imagine Apple really is doing in their marketing sessions? Trying to figure out the needs of a new generation. Then, Apple explains to us they are revolutionary. They are going to change everything.

What if our faith communities stopped heaping on the guilt because a new generation is not giving us the money, volunteer hours, and attendance that we want? What if we stopped looking at what's wrong with a new generation, and began to minister to their needs? What if we began to imagine how we can be revolutionary together?

Because we're much more likely to change everything than the new iPod shuffle is.

[Taken with permission from, the blog by the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt. Originally posted 12/13/2010]