Marketing & The Church: Let’s Make Money! (A Mustard Seed Musing)

Lately, there seems to be a growing buzz about how the church is out of date and needs to find a way to be more attractive to the next generation (or two). A week or so ago, a church member suggested that maybe the church needed some “sponsors” (not the AA kind or the baptism kind) to help defray the costs.

[I’m aware that it’s worked for soccer and NASCAR (and that the NBA and NFL are considering it); I’ve wonder if Peyton Manning and Omaha Steaks would ever get together; Joseph Randle seems to have kept underwear handy after getting handy with the underwear, but I digress.]

And then it hit me… corporate sponsorships!

Maybe State Farm or Geico can sponsor the pastors, because to some, we’re just selling fire insurance anyway.

Maybe the offering could be insured by Brinks, even though most weeks, it could really be collected (and is collected) by a little old lady and her Buick.

Maybe the pastor’s outfit can be provided each week by Nordstrom or JC Penney [personally, I’m a Kohl’s guy], and (I’ve actually seen some of this), the pastor’s wife can work out her own deal.

Maybe the bulletin can be sponsored by Wite-Out, the pews can be be replaced with the local team’s stadium seating, and the organ can be sponsored by a funeral home.

Maybe we can splash some graffiti logos up on the front of the sanctuary with special messages about coming events, by a few local business, with Walmart as the sole sponsor of church potlucks; I’m sure Sunshine and Welch’s  would sponsor communion (but we might have to change over to Cheezits).

Maybe adult Sunday School could be sponsored by Depends? Would it be too far to use Trojan as the backer for the church’s Human Sexuality seminar or ask the local divorce attorney to sponsor the parenting class?

Maybe we could outsource our nursery care to Monkey Joes and just shoo the youth group off to Sky Zone every week.

All joking aside, when will we recognize that the farther we get from ‘the main thing,’ the harder it is to explain to anyone outside the walls that the church actually matters? If we’re so busy chasing the quick fix that we lose sight of actual discipleship, then maybe we’d better close the doors, lock the windows, and… wait, we already did that?

The church isn’t antiquated because of the gospel or because of people; the church has become antiquated because it has forgotten who it exists for.


About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at,, and the brand new
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2 Responses to Marketing & The Church: Let’s Make Money! (A Mustard Seed Musing)

  1. arm5 says:

    Yes it has become antiquated and very inward with programs and bake sales.


    • Jacob Sahms says:

      I think it CAN become that. But there’s definitely a sense that there are those still holding out hope that those kinds of churches can be redeemed. There’s a great book by Bill Easum, A Second Resurrection, that talks about what that would look like– and I’ve seen it happen in my own congregation.


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